Paving the road to nowhere, one word at a time.

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Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

American born, living in Mexico since 1992.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Pretty Bauble Of Excrement

The magic of the cinder-block forest, not apparent from beyond the dusty colonias and gimmick-filled boulevards of Tijuana, surprises in so many different ways as an agent of an unpredictable realm. Juan, on leave from some freezing-cold Army base in Germany, appeared unexpected here on Friday night. I woke him up and gave him a big hug, and then let him sleep off some fifteen hours worth of jet-lag. He was still asleep when I left for work the next morning, yesterday morning, Saturday morning, and was then off with his friends last night when I got home.

And then I slept off my long week’s journey.

Today is different. A distant sun seems closer and warmer, even when partially obscured by the occasional high cloud, everyone here just left to pay the phone bill and search for some sharp cheddar cheese so I can make some gringo-tacos. Juan has promised to kick my ass in Gamecube football later, which shouldn’t prove to be too difficult since I haven’t played since the last time he was here. That is, if Juan has time. The phone has been ringing constantly, everyone who knows him has discovered that he’s back in town for a couple of weeks.

So I am playing receptionist at the moment. After ten telephone calls and a visit at the door from LuLu, it is a tempting thought to suddenly become not bilingual. Soon, I might be saying, “Sorry, you’ll have to speak English or I’ll take no messages.”

Would I be that much of a bastard?

* * * *

The Red Herring, a large box that contained a semi-automatic washing machine, is gone. I haven’t asked, and I don’t plan to ask, I will trust that wherever it went to is a much better place than where it was in this little house. We’ve had some wind here lately, as I found large pieces of the fiberglass roof I put in the back of the house to shield the Maytag from the sporadic rain, out on the street the other evening as I came home from work. Maybe the big box was set outside and blew away. Hey, if the Santa Anas can blow four-by-eight sheets of fiberglass over the house and onto the street, then why couldn’t it blow a semi-automatic washing machine into the next colonia?

That’s my fantasy, and I am sticking to it.

Meanwhile, pieces of the fiberglass roof are stacked next to the stairs that lead to the roof of the house, as if they have hope of somehow making their way back over to Maytag-land. Fat chance.

* * * *

As evening approaches, music can be heard from all directions and the sky is clear and promises a desert-like chill. The moon, half full like so much milk in an optimists tea cup, is directly overhead as a shining beacon that, hopefully, will bring me some very sharp cheddar cheese to grate soon. Earlier, I e-mailed Joshua in hope that he can come join us for the New Year. Maybe he can give Juan a run for his money on the Gamecube. Maybe I’ll make some enchiladas on New Year’s Eve. Maybe we’ll have some beer and swap stories. Maybe.

Juan is going to Iraq after this leave, which is some pretty heavy unhappy shit. Iraq is God’s way of showing us hell before we die. How would you like to go to hell just because your Creator wants to prove a point? She can be vicious, this God of ours, even in Her supposedly kinder and gentler manner after the big flood and so on, after Jericho and Sodom and Gomorrah and Dresden and Nagasaki and on and on. All of these wars to end all wars. What ever happened to the rainbow, God’s invention to remind us that She was all through with the human extermination business?

Is a rainbow just another pretty bauble of excrement from the scientific community?

* * * *

He is here in Tijuana, our Juan, until January fourth, two-thousand and five. Even though I will have to work through most of the holidays, I look forward to spending time with him, losing at Gamecube, eating tacos de birria with him, listening to a Soldier’s tales about Germany. After the New Year, keenly aware that my good-bye embrace might be our last embrace unless he is as good with an Army-issued firearm as he is with a video game controller, I will instead try to concentrate on how much he has grown up over the last two years.

And after that, when he returns from Iraq, I shall make sure that I have some grated, extra-sharp cheddar cheese on hand so I won’t miss the three hours that it has taken him, and his mother and sister, to find a key ingredient in his definition of soul food. And maybe I’ll be better at Gamecube by then.


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