A Delicious Scab

I woke up with a feeling of urgency this morning. I’m not sure exactly what spurred it. I checked my phone and saw I had an email from one of the people at Roads & Kingdoms saying one of my pieces had been accepted, and took a small minute to rejoice. I decided the other day that the next time I got an article accepted I’d use the money to buy a year membership to the shared bike program here called MIBICI. It actually only costs about $20, so I’ll have a few bucks leftover. Then I lay in bed for 15 minutes, rating Instagram ads for Appen, and then got out of bed and walked to Pan Regio, where I bought a costra.

I’d been interested in the costra at Pan Regio because costra means scab in Spanish. I don’t know why you’d ever name a pastry a scab. This is probably why the costras are always fully stocked and there hasn’t been budín for weeks. I purchased one for five pesos and once in the street ripped off a chunk and bit in.

It was bland. What else would you expect from a pastry called a scab? But then I kept eating, and kept eating, and by the third or fourth bite it was as if the costra was taunting me, daring me to still call it bland. I did not accept the dare. The costra was a work of subtle beauty. I don’t know if I’d ever buy it again. If there was budín I’d probably still go for that, drawn in by its gravitational pull, but the costra is what I SHOULD be eating. The costra is how I should be living my life.

Back in my apartment I made my bed and got ready to seize the day. I said hi to Bill, my aloe plant, who’s looking better and better by the minute. I attribute this of course to his new planter with drainage holes on the bottom and premium potting soil, but also the fact that he’s now surrounded by other plants. I’ve put him in the courtyard, where he’s last in line in a line of much taller, much greener, much more impressive plants. He’s the new kid on the block. Like any parent, I watch nervously, biting my nails, hoping the others will accept him. Bill is an aloe plant. He’s sweet. He’s sensitive. I just hope the others can see him for the person he really is.

And now I’ll walk to the school where I teach, not to teach but to use their blazing fast internet since I have a Skype class at ten and I’m worried the bandwidth here might be taken up by the Czech couple and also by Rodolfo and Adriana, who are also still here. I don’t think Adriana works on Mondays. My days are considerably better when I give good classes, so for this first class a good internet connection must be a priority.

(intermission)

And now I’m finishing this post, sitting at El Terrible Juan. I didn’t realize I hadn’t finished this post. I’m a bit embarrassed. This blog must be the number one priority in my life. Why does the waitress here hate me? I don’t get it. I bow my head and order as quickly as possible. I would love to just ask her, “Excuse me, I’m just curious. It’s obvious that my presence to you is about as agreeable as repeatedly getting punched in the stomach. Why exactly is this?” But of course I would never ask this.

It would be uncomfortable.

A special thanks to Barry Sevig for his contribution to this “błoġ.”

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Sunday Night Thoughts #7

cachemira guadalajara

I’ve given Bill a fighting chance. I found some special potting soil for him, what they call “hummus” here, and when I asked the guy if it’d be good for an aloe plant his eyes darted side to side and he said, “Uh…yeah.”

So I assume it’s perfect.

There’s a Czech couple staying at my house. They’re the first people to stay here who consistently use the kitchen and even sit on the couch where I usually sit. For some reason I find this unacceptable. Last night the boyfriend rolled a cigarette on the coffee table in the living room and left bits of tobacco all over the place. I was seething.

This last week was a good week. I had a new student who pays almost triple what my previous in-person English job paid. The woman I’m working for also does something no one has ever done for me in previous teaching experiences: She helps me find material. I say to her, “We’re going to work on the present simple, adverbs of frequency, and possessive adjectives,” and in my inbox she leaves a veritable mountain of relevant ESL activities. It makes my job a lot easier.

Despite all these positive developments I feel like I’m starting to stagnate a bit, which means I must do something to push the envelope. I must push myself to work harder, or write more, or write better, or participate in more activities in which I can meet people. I still have very few friends in GDL. I have no friends in GDL. So instead of going out on a Saturday night and dropping 300 pesos on wine, I should drop those 300 pesos on dance classes so I can become the next Jennifer Lopez. Or Ricky Martin. Or Enrique Iglesias. Or Shakira.

This idea is something I’ve talked about in previous blog posts, but one which I can’t reiterate enough and that occurred to me at various points today and on my walk back from the grocery store just now. I know I said last paragraph that I must do things to push the envelope so I don’t feel stagnant. But a counter argument is this, and this is something that actually is true: Our time on this spinning rock is damn short. You will not be happy once you make that money. You will not be happy once you get that job. You will not be happy once you meet that special someone. If you can’t be happy right now, at this very moment, then you will never be happy in your entire life. I don’t care if you just broke your arm. I don’t care if your boyfriend/girlfriend just left you. If your happiness is dependent upon external factors, you will never be happy.

Anyway, even if do feel stagnant I can’t go anywhere because now I have Bill (my aloe plant) and Bill hates to travel. I told him I’d take him first class to Colombia and he started to wilt. Bill’s idea of a perfect Sunday is to spend 14 hours sitting still, and then twitch slightly when the sun almost hits him. He’s teaching me how to meditate. And I’m teaching him about classical music. Today I played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and he remained impassive throughout. Bill’s health is precarious.

I also bought a book today. Los cuadernos de Don Rigoberto by Mario Vargas Llosa. Apparently it’s an erotic novel. Travesuras de la niña mala is one of my favorite books in Spanish, by the same author, and it’s also erotic in parts, but eroticism certainly isn’t what you’re supposed to take from the novel. The takeaway is that we’re all lonely, some of the time. That we’re all alone, some of the time. That we all talk to aloe plants, some of the time.

[Update: The Czech guy just washed his dishes. They also just gave me a plate of cheese and bread and figs. They are currently my favorite people in the world.]

A special thanks to Bill for his spiritual support.

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