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.

Friday, September 25, 2009


The room, devoid of anything except for a laptop computer, a very nice throw rug, and some paintings of still life in mild and soothing pastels, was otherwise ordinary in every way. My assistant, a Chinese gentleman who struggled slightly with a chicken, was otherwise much more enlightened than I was - that much was obvious. There was tea, and the chicken did not disturb our small cups, the chicken had other issues.

“You must do this,” my assistant told me. “This is the only way that what you write will be complete and your intentions understood.”

At first, he had attempted to convince the chicken to simply sit right on top of my head, but the chicken’s sense of balance and my tendency toward leaning in to view the monitor on the computer produced unsuccessful results. My nameless assistant then crafted a large hat, one that Dr. Seuss would have been proud of. He gently stuffed the chicken into a black sack with a drawstring, and then stuffed the sacked chicken into the hat and placed it upon my head.

“Now, write,” he urged.

And I did.

The hat, top-heavy and oddly centered was surprisingly comfortable, and the chicken seemed to be equally as interested in staying on my head as I was in completing whatever I was writing. My assistant sat at the ready, poised to catch and hold the chicken-in-the-hat, should it have fallen off due to my jerking around and looking in unexpectedly to squint at the monitor. I typed away. It worked. I have no idea what I wrote, but apparently it was well received.

* * * *

When I awoke, after getting through a short period of an understandably panicked inability to comprehend any of what that dream was all about, I came downstairs. Coffee, email, and the awareness that while Juan’s car was parked outside it balanced perfectly with the fact that, other than myself, the house was empty. Juan had taken the day off and rented a moving van, one day after his birthday. Anna was in school. I contemplated going over the border, but decided against it, I try and limit my travels in order to promote a greener earth and more importantly, in order to enjoy and bask in my own laziness.

It also occurred to me that I could, at any time, walk a block down the street and purchase a chicken.

I’m going to guess that many countries, or at least many parts of many countries sell live chickens. Baja sells live chickens. And, perhaps if I were a tad more ambitious, I could wander here until I found a Chinese man, willing to assist me, someone wise and capable and with some universal understanding of live chickens that I lack. Maybe he would have access to a black sack with a drawstring and could easily fashion a ridiculous looking hat. Perhaps this is the key to everything.

Juan came home, Anna behind him, and they packed another load and all went off to check out the new digs. I have been nudged to go at some point, and I will, but for now I am left to ponder this house with only the three of us. It is suddenly too big. We are now overpaying, relatively speaking, for space we no longer need. Yet, I’m not ready to move again.

We don’t need the extra room, nor the second telephone line, nor many other things. I am the one that stops the progress of Anna and Rocio, who try as hard as they can to dumb things down for me. Hell, I didn’t even cook dinner, what with all of the leftovers in the fridge. What else would one expect from a man that dreams of having chickens on top of his head?

* * * *

Rocio came home, and after a brief conversation I took off to the store. “Why did he have to take all of his stuff?” she asked me. It echoed with every step I took. The moon, currently sawed in half, followed me mindlessly overhead. It gets dark earlier now. I passed a guy with a guitar talking to a guy without one. They both moved kindly to one side so I could pass.

“Buenos noches.”

“Buenos noches.”

We are polite to each other here.

I returned, a twelve-pack richer, along with some hamburger buns, two packages of cigarettes, and a fifth of tequila. Twenty-four dollars and change. Juan and Anna have returned. For now. I know that Anna will leave this place at some point. It scares me.

Soon, Rocio and me will be alone. With each other. It will mark a timely event, one in which we have finished our obligations, in that the rug rats have graduated life and hopefully many of its lessons. It won’t prove anything at all. I will mark it, observe it with whatever dignity I have left. But, I promise to keep some sort of humility when that day comes.

“Good bye, dad,” Anna will say.

“It’s okay, darling,” I will tell her. “And from now on, you can just call me chickenhead.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Decimos «buenas noches», no «buenos noches». Pero, con lo demás, estoy de acuerdo contigo.

10:49 PM, October 12, 2009  

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