Light travels faster than sound, which is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
After the Tuesday discussion group I stopped at the neighborhood bakery, the chicken roaster, and the produce store. At the bakery an American woman kept repeating “whole wheat, brown bread, wheat bread,” so I told her the Spanish words for wheat and whole wheat bread. I think the bakery worker was more appreciative than the customer, which isn’t to say the customer was unappreciative but that the bakery worker has probably seen her share of people who ask in an increasingly louder voice as if the volume changes the meaning of the word. The guys at the roast chicken place have seen me often enough in the past six weeks – either walking by or purchasing from them – that they know me. The same is true of the produce vendor. This is beginning to feel like my neighborhood.
While the vendors in Santa Julia knew me, it didn’t feel like my neighborhood. My apartment was too far removed from the shopping area on Calle Allende. My experience now is more like living in New York or Boston’s North End or even Paris where you literally walk around the corner and – like on the television show “Cheers” – everybody knows your name.
The topic of the discussion group was “Who can you trust?” and I thought it was to be about personal trust, but it turned to discussion of government, constitutions, laws, police, religion – almost everything but personal trust. So many feel hopeless about the state of the United States, feel betrayed not by people like those pursued by the government but by their own elected officials. One woman mentioned she felt like she floats through life in San Miguel, that she is removed from the politics of the U.S. and I understand her feeling, and don’t feel connected to the mother ship.
I’ve been buying yogurt and, when they have it, milk from the Santa Clara Creamery. Sometimes they don’t have milk, which I don’t understand. It is a dairy, and they always have ice cream and yogurt and their cheeses, but are often without milk. For days at a time.
I had invited some friends to a movie last week, and the subject of my email invitation was “greatest tearjerker of all time Camille at Pocket Theater on Sunday!” One person I invited showed up on Saturday at the wrong theater. She has misunderstood a number of other attempts at getting together – locations, times, dates – and I’m trying to understand that riddle.
At the fellowship on Sunday a woman who has strong opinions and feelings about nutrition and health put some milk and sweetener on the serving table, which was fine. The milk had had the animal fat removed and replaced by a vegetable fat and the sweetener was stevia. What wasn’t okay was that she thought it her right to move the other milks and sweeteners so that hers were prominent. On the artificial sweetener she put a hand-written sign “do not use.” Cheeky, I thought. And removed the sign as I put things in their original locations.