Can I Rent a Smoking?

We sat in a smoke-filled bar on Av. La Marina, a popular strip of department stores, hamburger joints, and discotecas. The place was a big bar, which had an appropriate name: Big Bar. It was my going-away party with my coworkers. We just came back to our tables after a round of dancing and we’re enjoying our beers. In my case, I had a coke. Lin, who had taken us on the trip to the south, leaned towards me. I could barely hear what he said over the music and the lasers (which somehow interfered with my hearing).

Lin: ***** smoking **** aquilar.
Me: ¿?
Lin: ***** smoking**** aquilar.
Me: ¿?

Lin takes a breath and thinks of another way of saying what he is saying. I know the word smoking. I know the word aquilar (to rent). But I can’t think of a sentence where those two words would make sense. Was he talking about the smoke in the bar? But why rent? Is that a phrase for second hand smoke? Lin continued:

Lin: *translated from Spanish* Aquilar is when, for example I let you use this glass *picks up his glass of beer.* You pay me 50 soles and I let you use it. Then you give it back when you’re done.
Me: *translated from Spanish* Right-o.

I confirmed that aguilar is to rent. But… smoking? Lin took another breath, encouraged that I got that part down.

Lin: *translated from Spanish* “Smoking” is clothes you wear to a wedding. We’ll need it tomorrow when we go to my friend’s wedding. We’re going to rent “smoking” tomorrow afternoon.

Smoking is Spanish for tuxedo!!!! What?! How… that boggles the mind. Back in my hotel room I checked my new Spanish dictionary and the translation widget:

Translation widget.

Indeed: Smoking, spelled exactly the same way, means a tuxedo in Spanish. That’s not confusing at all!

1 thought on “Can I Rent a Smoking?

  1. Erin says:

    Smoking as in smoking jacket? Makes sense to me! Hef’s attire is pretty fancy and tuxedoey. Ha, tuxedoey.

    Cool! I found your blog!
    🙂 Erin

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