Little Businessman and Co. Rain and Ice Cream


Though it’s pouring, we had three pints of ice cream and three bags of potato chips made fresh for us. Cecilia, Agostino, Julio, and I had to go to three places to find Cookies and Cream pints and the best potato chips. We all, including their candy and cigarettes tried to fit under my cartoonish little umbrella. We were a spectacle all night.

I bought a coffee at the Italian Coffee Company, even though it was after 8 and I didn’t need any caffeine, so we would have the excuse of taking up a table. At one point, Mateo asked why I was sipping the coffee so slowly, I reminded him it was our reason for being seated. He got it. It also gave us license to use the restroom which the cold, rain-soaked, sometimes chattering boys needed to do.

We sat and talked for about an hour. At one point, Agostino got very mad when a man in a red polo was looking at me. I told him people just wanted to know what we were up to, but he went up to him and put his dukes up. The guy left.

Then a guitarist came to our table to sing “La Llorona,” and all of the kids left! They really don’t like music or dancing. They think it odd when I try to get them to dance.

While we were waiting for a pause in the rain, Cecelia, the huntress of the family, caught a slow bird and released it after a few minutes because the poor creature was crying so adamantly. It kept crying even after it was safe in its nest.

When it was time for me to head out into the downpour, we made plans for where and when we’d meet again. I was waiting to request the bill. Agostino charged into the establishment to tell them I was ready, and the waiter appeared immediately to take my money. Twice he took care of me!

One more thing, there is a man with glasses who carries a pile of at least forty scarves (or runners). He stopped me again last night and said as plaintively as Cecilia’s bird, “I have seen you for years and you have purchased nothing from me.” I agreed and explained, “All of my money is for my family here.” As I said it, I looked at Rosita; she was smiling, and the man understood.

The Avengers


I went to Oaxaca’s newest commercial plaza, also known as mall, called Macro Plaza. It was surprisingly similar to US malls. It had a food court, some department stores, and a movie theater. It also had Wal-Mart. I strolled the whole two stories of this “development” to see what it was about. However, I could not find the movie theater. I peeked into Wal-Mart and asked the lady taking backpacks where a movie theater is. She offered directions and quickly told me I’d do better if I got in a cab and headed down to Cinepolis (where I usually go).

I inquired why go across town when I was right there. She was happy to explain that Cinepolios has many advantages over Cinemex: better seats, better food, better sound, better cleanliness. I thanked her for the warning and decided, despite her good advice, to see for myself. She was right.

The funniest part is that I had to pay 20 pesos more to see a movie in this dirty new theater. I realized a couple of minutes into The Avengers that not only had no one cleaned the theater I was in, neither had they met me at the door to take my ticket – and, the reason I paid more, give me 3D glasses. I spent a couple of hours as one of four people (all without glasses) watching a blurry and boisterous movie.

I should’ve gotten in the cab and headed across town.

Soccer Practice


What do you do with a bunch of adolescent (or near-adolescent) boys who don’t have classes? You put them in soccer camp. You pay extra for the coach to run them around the park a few times before the class and a few times after—just to make sure they are exhausted from two hours of drills through cones, from two hours of trying to keep up with each other.

As a person intent on daily walking the park’s track to think, this team is a distraction due to their bursts of spontaneity and violence. One minute they are walking because they believe the coach can’t see them, the next they are attempting to kick each other’s shoes untied, and then there’s a spurt of running like mad because they are visible again to this coach who knows their game and patiently waits for them to finish choking and punching and kicking each other.

Maybe it is because he was a boy not so long ago that he knows how long this part of the lesson takes for them to fight each other and then become a team.


A Cup of Coffee Is Full of Ideas

sign coffee

Mari and I joke that I cannot speak Spanish without my morning coffee. I search for words as if I am bobbing for apples as if I a senseless sometimes.  Especially if I have spent the first hour or so reading in English, I feel as though I’ll never warm up to the words.

A cup of coffee is full of ideas, a mouthful.

The It’s About Time Time Capsule


My Spanish teacher told me that I was to write about a time capsule (una capsula del tiempo), but that I should lie and put in fantastic things that do not exist in this time.

She said it was a way to reinvent the world now for a future generation.

En la capsula

Un arnillo poque todos los amdos gays se pueden casar en estos tiempos.

Una pluma porque nosotros, sin excepción, son alfabetizados.

Un monadero porque todos tienen bastante dinero.

Una llave porque todos nuestros niños tienen un lugar seguro para dormir.

Un libro porque todos los maestros han regresado a sus aúlas.


In the Capsule

A ring because gay lovers could marry in these times.

A pen because we are all, without exception, literate.

A coin purse because we each have enough money.

A key because all of our children have a safe place to sleep.

A book because all of the teachers have returned to their classrooms.

I read out my piece awaiting correction, and my kind teacher said, “Oh, that worked better than I expected.”  I thanked her for her enthusiasm and explained politics (of the teachers here in Oaxaca and the pending Supreme Court decisions) had me looking at ways our now could be improved.

Today, we celebrate the landmark and long-awaited decision that legalizes same sax marriage in the United States! Maybe this capsule in not so full of fantasy after all!

Flaco at My Feet

Chester Migue

Tlacochahuaya is filled with random dogs, but I learned this afternoon that the children have named many of them as I caught them trying to determine if one of the dogs was Chester or Miguel. Growing impatient with the “discussion” which included some punching and name-calling, I suggested maybe the poor perro was Chester Miguel. The dog didn’t seem to mind either way as the boys agreed: Chester Miguel! And, the other dog: Miguel Chester, of course.

When it started to pour, around five, the students, having endured an hour of English class, insisted on taking a break. They headed off into the weather, and Chester Miguel slowly dragged himself up the stairs onto the porch that is our classroom and plunked himself beneath the quiet table next to my feet.

We would have to be patient for the wet children— who’d found ice somewhere and couldn’t keep their freezing hands off of each other and me—to get back to the task at hand—whatever that was.