Saturday, February 23, 2013
what is a great day like?
The famous unanswerable Peace Corps question is "what is an average day like?" Unanwserable because each day is so different, or each week, or you forget what is normal and what is remarkable. Or you are doing one thing for a week, or a month, and then never do it again. Or somedays you don't do anything, and you like it. Some days you don't do anything and you hate it.
So, instead of saying what an average day would be, I'd like to write what a great day is like for me.
At 8:00am I wake up, reheat some of yesterday's coffee on my gas stove and eat two bananas for breakfast. I sit on my backporch and read La Guerra Civil de 1904, lent to me by the lonely local history buff.
At 9:00am I leave my house and walk around the block to the offices of the two local radio stations, which are side-by-side. I go in and I speak on air with both morning show hosts about an environmental youth group meeting and a public showing of "Toy Story", both at the public library, and about the English class which will start up again in a week and a half.
At 10:15am I ride my bike to library with my speakers and subwoofer in the vegetable crate that is attached to my rear rack. At the library I set up the speakers for the movie this evening and then work on a large welcome sign that I'm making for the library. It is a collage made out of books' dust jackets.
At 11:30am I ride my bike home. I find that my bread is all moldy. The bakery won't make any more until Monday morning. I buy some hamburger buns, ham, and a liter of coke in a cold glass returnable bottle at the store two doors down from my house. I make a sandwich while I listen to NPR's news update and see what's happened on the face-book.
At 1:30pm I ride my bike to the library. I forget the key. I ride the four blocks home, get the key and return to the library. I work on a presentation about how to deal with trash and why not to burn it, for the environmental youth group meeting. I set up the speakers and projector (which I picked up yesterday at the school district office, on the same block as the library) and my computer and rock out to Eddy Grant and the Gipsy Kings and Sidney Bechet while I make color coded dividers for the book shelves.
At 3:10pm Fatima, the leader of the youth group comes in for the meeting. She is starting her Junior year at the local high school. She loves Nirvana and Kurt Cobain. I regale her with stories about Seattle and what I remember of local music growing up (very little). I tell her she might like Modest Mouse and I put on the Moon and Antarctica, I tell her it's called "La Luna y Antarctica" and it's their best album.
At 3:45pm Fernando shows up for the meeting. Fatima asks me if I know the bridge which Kurt Cobain slept under. I say I didn't. She asked if I knew the Jimi Hendrix statue. I say I did, it's up in Capitol Hill in front of an Everyday Music store. We talk about the group, if anybody else is coming, about how cool it is to have free, thrice weekly trash pickup. We watch a movie clip about a community near Asuncion that has a student orchestra that builds instruments out of things found in the the giant landfill. We end up planning to meet n my front yard in two weeks to make drinking glasses from old wine bottles. I try not to stress just how many old wine bottles I have.
At 4:25 Carolina, the librarian arrives on her dirt bike with her leopard-print purse in one hand and a large plastic grocery bag of fresh popped popcorn in the other. She's also got her brand-new thermos, with her name, the name of her university, her major, and the coat of arms of the university embroidered in the black and blue pleather. It's about 90F in the library, we've got all the fans on full blast and some doors and windows open, but we'll need it to be dark once we start the movie. The three neighborhood kids come. I put on Planet Earth: Mountains to test out the projector and sound. Twice the power regulator overheats and shuts everything off. I'm not sure if anyone else will come.
At 5:25pm we start "Toy Story". About 20 kids and 3 moms have arrived. We're charging 1,000 Gs. or about 25 cents at the door. Popcorn is also 25 cents. I'm able to figure out the technical difficulties such that the projector only shuts off once during the movie. Another 6 or 7 kids come in later. In total we make just four dollars after we pay the woman who made the popcorn.
At 6:45 the movie ends. I get a text message that my samba drum group is meeting at 7:00pm, that we'll be playing tonight at the Carnaval parade in Maria Auxiliadora, which was rained out last weekend. I clean up with Carolina. We walk out to the gate and she tells me she doesn't like it how I roll up my pant legs when it's hot. I tell her it makes me feel like a pirate.
At 7:00pm I ride my bike to Manu's house. There's road work (cobblestoning) on several of the streets, and I maneuver carefully with my messenger bag and laptop in the cargo crate in back. At the meeting we decide we'll meet up again at 9:00pm to board the bus. I ride home. I pass a wild-haired girl wearing purple pants and a light-green dress. Grey clouds stand out against against an orange sky in the east above vines and banana trees as I ride down the road from Manu's. A 10 year-old student of mine named Cristian is riding behind his father on a motorcycle, they turn onto my street and then pass me by. Cristian and I make faces at each other as they accelerate and leave me behind.
At 7:30 I am home again. I take of my shirt and pour a cold glass of water from the green bottle in my fridge. I reheat Thursday's pasta. I put on water to make more coffee, to help keep me going until 5am or so when we'll come back from Maria Auxiliadora. I'll try and write a blog post and take a shower before we leave.