It’s weird waking up, jammies on, pouring Peet’s battery acid down your gullet, waiting for the toast to burn and lifting your nose out of the paper because an eerily familiar voice just cut through those belonging to the usual team of perky morning show anchorbots. Gustavo Arellano’s now done that to me three times.
The first two instances sprung from live appearances on the KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles, which first interviewed my former co-worker in-studio about his now-syndicated column ¡Ask a Mexican!, then months later did a live remote with him from the streets of Santa Ana (or, as Gustavo calls it, SanTana, Orange County’s government center and rough-and-tumble town that holds the distinction of containing the most working poor and highest percentage of Spanish speakers per capita in America). Both times I hadn’t known Gustavo would be on the tele, so it really mucked my a.m. routine having a face I saw daily in the office suddenly trapped inside the idiot box. No wonder Regis Philbin’s wife is bat-shit crazy.
The third time happened a couple weeks ago here in Sacramento and, truth be told, I wasn’t wearing jammies, having rolled out of bed, put on my smashing gym outfit and zombie marched over to the Capital Athletic Club at, for me, an ungodly early hour. On my trip from the Electric Stair Torturer to the Whirling Pool of My Own Man-Juices, I heard Gustavo, beckoning from a corner TV. He was on the Today show predicting the political demise of L.A. Mayor Antonio “Jesus Christ, Man, Can’t You Keep It In Your Pants” Villaraigosa. “That’s my boy!” interjected a young man passing by. I turned to discover he was a club employee whose boy was not my boy. “No, Tony, no,” he pleaded. “He used to be member here. Cool guy, too.”