Palm frond shadow – lady
I’ve been sick for three weeks with mild diarrhea. It’s worrisome, because it has mucous in the stool. And it’s getting worse. It’s painful to poop. I had to take a taxi to school today because walking was too painful for my stomach. Talked to my Spanish teacher today about it, and she thinks I have a problem with amoebas. She said that Mexicans take a medication every six months to help with this, and that she also avoids eating the street food. Bad news to me, because my favorite food here is the street food. Even lots of restaurants are not safe, according to her. Food preparation safety is generally not followed. I asked her if grocery store meat is safe. Nope. She said the best market for meat is the Merced, which is fortunate, because the Merced is near and dear to us. It’s half the size of Cleveland’s West Side Market.
We’ve learned to wash our hands frequently. Mexicans wash theirs before every meal. I remember Grandma asking me to do this, but I’d never made it a habit. In Mexico, hand washing is mandatory.
There’s not much rain, and the streets are caked with dirt. We walk everywhere and we touch the walls, bend down to pick up garbage for street art. We wipe our hands in our eyes without thinking.
Dirt everywhere. It blows into the house and settles on the floor. I must wash the floor twice a week, and rinse it off well. There’s no good place to put the rinse water. I push it out the door onto the furthest corner of the service patio, where it joins a cake layer of previous accumulated dirt. The water sits until it evaporates. The drain in the patio is plugged. I am reluctant to buy anything I don’t absolutely need, so I haven’t yet gotten an expensive wringable mop and bucket. I have plans to wash up the caked dirt on my hands and knees repeatedly, and use the water to flush the toilet.
Water is a problem. It’s not drinkable from the tap. We buy all our water for drinking. We have no hot water to wash dishes, and we’re not inclined to boil it because we pay for our own gas. We use a special cold water soap.
Our kitchen sink is on the dirty service patio. The sink’s really meant for laundry. The draining rack for the dishes is in one half of the sink where Mexicans would normally scrub their clothes. The roof of the patio is also caked with dirt. If a heavy truck goes by, the roof shakes, and dirt falls onto our dishes, and we have to wash them again. We’ve learned to cover the draining rack with a towel or plastic sheet.
Water is also rare. People run out of city water here, so they have reservoirs under their houses that they pump up to a tank on the roof. During the hour per day that the city water is on, they try to remember to replenish their reservoirs. Sometimes the city runs out of water for extended periods. In that case, our landlord has to call a water truck and have his reservoir filled.
We conserve water. We flush only once a day, so it can get horrid. The flocculates in the water coagulate with the urine and create a glistening yellow saran wrap layer on top of the toilet water.
The toilet doesn’t work well. We leave the top off the tank so we can see if the stopper nestles properly in its hole. I think mosquitoes like to hang out in the tank. When we flush the toilet, there’s a huge GLOP sound, and a miniature water fountain burbles out of the SINK. I try not to touch the bathroom sink unless necessary.
The cockroaches like to hang out in the bathroom at 3 a.m. at night. I haven’t seen them much in the kitchen, only twice. But I think they crawl into the bathroom walls via the storage room. Our landlord must keep garbage in the storage room.
Last night Smith saw a three inch cockroach creeping in the sink. “Turned on bathroom light last night. Three inch cockroach in the sink. Startled me. I didn’t want to kill it. It saddens me to kill things. But I couldn’t not tell you saw it. And I couldn’t dare tell you I’d dare let another one go.”
“Yeah, those buggers lay eggs in your jelly,” I said.
“But I figured the other one and I had an agreement. I let it go, it respected my jelly. Gives that old Tommy Roe hit Jam Up Jelly Tight a whole new meaning. Although Jam Up Jelly Tight is a damn fine sexual metaphor for a teeny bop song. Cockroach tried to get out of the sink. I grabbed the Fabuloso bottle. I used it as a sword; I kept thrusting the cockroach back into the sink. Roach dashed one way and another, and I’d counter thrust. Finally I turned on the water, pushed him into the water, and forced him down the drain. But the drain has a bar across it three inches down, so cockroach couldn’t go. He lay there, covered in water, pretending to be dead for a while. Then he lurched the water to the surface, just like one of them horror movies. He took three steps out of the water, and I squished him with the bottle. He sorta looked around to see what happened and I squooshed him again. Then I picked up the squooshy bits with some toilet paper and noticed he’d lost a couple legs and two feelers in the process. Cleaned those up. Then scrubbed out the sink with cleanser and washed my hands with soap. And felt sad that I’d killed something. But I gotta be reasonable. If I gotta choose between the cockroach and my wife, I’d better choose my wife.”
I get my slice of life in Paradise – lady