I haven’t yet figured out if a song that really gets you makes your insides move or just tunes in to the natural frequency of your bones.
I’m working on the porch with fan on and bug spray at the ready to fend off my latest fear of dengue fever when I hear the familiar whhooooOOOOP! of the vegetable vendor coming down the street.
I grab my keys and wallet and head outside, grateful for this path of least resistance to replenish my depleted-by-grocery-shopping-procrastination egg supply.
This man has become the super Catholic grandpa I never had. He showers me with blessings, tells me I look like a pretty doll, then sends me on my way with vegetables and benedictions for the coming day. It’s pretty much the most feel-good interruption to your research you could think of.
There are precious moments where you feel the meaning of a word in your body. Your understanding not just of the word itself, but also of that word’s existence in your language-world, is affirmed beyond sway.
Such was my experience with the term “breathless” upon facing Victoria Falls in 2010. The power of beauty stopped my breath and pounded down through my emptied lungs.
I left the house for the first time that cloudy day in the evening. Just to walk. Just to move and get unstuck from the same place. I crossed the abandoned construction site, sneakers crunching on dried mud, my eyes thirsty for any view of the river ahead. The sky was dense with the power of mood-changing muscle. What is it about Sunday nights that always gets me? Those Sunday Blues.
I had agreed to transport half a cow to the butcher, so the meat could be used to make five pots of stew for the celebration today. Fortunately, we left the head and the bucket full of intestines behind.
The hulking, wobbling masses got loaded into the back of the pickup truck. I was mesmerized by the kilograms of flesh that were now starting to attract flies. At the butcher shop, my attention honed in on the heel of the butcher’s hand guiding the impossibly thick bones across the singing blade of the band saw, set into a granite counter.
“If you eat this meat,” V. said, stabbing the cow leg with her knife, “it doesn’t mean you have to vote for him. The politicians do this every year for everyone, for Indigenous People’s Day, but the meat isn’t political.”
In Argentina, voting is compulsory. This may seem like a good idea: what a great way to get everyone involved in democracy! What it actually means, though, is that politicians come to many poor communities to buy votes, by promising new health centers, new social assistance programs, new schools. And sometimes they actually build the health centers, or the schools. But here’s the catch: the pristine-from-the-outside buildings topped with “another job accomplished in Namqom” banners often remain untouched, unopened, and unused, until the next election rolls around.
Did you know all the ground coffee sold in grocery stores here has white sugar already pre-mixed in? Feeling very much at the opposite end of the spectrum from that other America, the one that’s busy trying to ban too-big sodas.