July 5, 2011
I didn't sleep well last night. The bags under my eyes are big enough to carry a change of clothing and a pair of slippers. My hair looks like it´s weathered a lightning strike. And I am not in a good mood.
It´s not a good morning for the Cafe Rex's lecherous owner to start messing with me. First, he places one hand directly on top of the page I'm reading in my book of short stories (Rest Area by Clay McLeod Chapman),which is populated by crazed killers, cannibalistic boy scouts, and pumpkin-screwing farmboys. (I'm not making this up, although I hope the author is!) Then, he puts his other paw on my chin, rotating my face towards his. "I like you," he says, in a way that translates not into like as in liking ice cream or foreign films or poetry but into liking someone in a sexual way. "Is there anything wrong with that?" he asks.
"Yes," I answer in a tone that rings at once calm and ominous. Sort of like spitting, but without the saliva.
"What?" he asks.
I look him directly in his beady little eyes as I enunciate: "I JUST WANT TO EAT MY BREAKFAST."
He obviously reads the subtitles of my thoughts, which translate into something on the order of "Touch me one more time and I'll smack you so hard even your mother won't recognize you," because he quickly moves away.
Tired and cross, I piddle the day away. I am cheered by the scrawny, green-necked, little chicken hopping in and out of a doorway that I pass on my walk back to my hotel and a much-needed nap.
I awaken to a sound that sends shivers up and down my spine, that raises my hackles, that makes me want to run, screaming from my room: Rats running around my closet? I´m afraid to open the door and find out. Eventually, I realize that what I´m hearing is not the pitter-patter of tiny rodent feet but the plinking-plunking of enormous raindrops against my window. Rats, rodents, raindrops. An honest mistake. The words all begin with "r."
It's pouring, but I have agreed to meet Alvaro for an evening of dancing at Caribe. Unfortunately, we have a bit of a miscommunication. I drip and wait outside the subway stop, while he waits inside -- for half an hour.
When we finally reach the club, I find it a bit depressing. We sit with some friends, I dance with Alvaro and others, and I'm back in my hotel room by nine. Tomorrow will be sunnier, I'm sure.