Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dia Luna, Dia Pena

And so here I am living in a walled-off compound across from the public hospital in Zamora de Hidalgo, Mexico. The view from my balcony is of the hospital junkyard: dumpsters overflowing with colostomy bags, bloated rubber gloves lying in puddles of gasoline, a fluorescent orange BIOLOGICAL WASTE sign, etc. It seems to rain every day at 3:37 PM sharp, or not at all. Last night a mariachi band played inside the hospital, which must have lent a Lynchian touch to any medical emergencies going on at the time.

The balcony is where I sit and listen to Radio Michocán. The plan is to learn Spanish by immersion. I absorb Mexican public radio for hours on end, then I walk down to the kitchen and fry my ham-and-parmesan tacos, waiting for it all to click.

I sit and watch the painters work. They have spent three days painting our vacant carport. When they smile, it's all gold and empty spaces. They are 53 year-old identical twins. For a while I thought it was one extremely diligent man, but instead it is two slow twins. One of the twins whistles verses and the other sings the choruses. When it is siesta time, they squat on the sidewalk drinking Pepsi and smoking Delicados. Yesterday one of the twins gave me his business card. "We are painters," he said, "and we don't drink beer." The question arises: would I rather be down there singing and painting walls, or am I happy where I am, perched on a balcony, binge drinking instant coffee and sweating about the four classes I'm about to teach? The answer is not clear. Probably there isn't one. Teaching suits my mental and physical build, but is there any way around all this white collar nausea?

Hats off to Spoon for composing the best hipster couplet of all time:

I spent the night in the map room
I humanized the vacuum

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