Zoely’s Insomnia, Chapter 2

Alas! Zoely is now in worse shape, because she went to see the original owner of her Aleko-make car to agree on the terms for the transfer of ownership, but it seems that someone whispered into the retired old man’s ear that the current value of the car is much higher and that he should get some compensation, the kind that is not satisfied with some little old shopping bags of goods. He drove Zoely to the edge of a nervous breakdown because, surrounded by the foul smell of his cigar and with indifference, he cut to the point that has Zoely not just sleeping badly, but not sleeping at all. The owner said that that car… now with the new law… that as she will remember the registration is under his name… that his signature is worth something. Zoely argued that she had bought a corpse and had invested a lot in order to get it to its current condition, to which the old man responded by pointing to the splendid creation parked in front of his porch with the hand holding the cigar and finished off: “Then there is no transfer”.

¿How will it end? It’s like the soap operas on the radio: … and don’t miss the next chapter of… (the announcer pauses and continues in a higher and pompous tone)… Zoely’s Insomnia.

Translated by: Espirituana

Spanish post
November 2 2011

Farsighted Neighbor

Yesterday I ran into a neighborhood acquaintance who asked me about my kid. She was very surprised that “the kid” is in the Military Service, and the following dialogue ensued:

“How could you allow him to go into the Service, if you are not even in favor of ‘this’?”

“Well, my son thinks for himself, and it isn’t going to hurt him; I even think it could be good for him; maybe it’ll make him get himself organized.”

“Well, in my case, I’m already starting to build a medical record for mine, so that it won’t look like a last minute thing, just so he won’t go.”

I smiled. My interlocutor was a militant in the Youth until she joined the Communist Party around 2005. I could not refrain from reminding her that for her the defense of the Motherland should be a sacred duty. Disconcerted, she answered:

“Each one knows what’s best for oneself.”

Translated by: EspirituanaOctober 10 2011

Zoely’s Insomnia

The law regarding vehicle sales finally came out. In its wait, my friend Zoely for more than two years has been taking tranquilizers and making offerings to Elegguá [one of the deities in Afrocuban mythology]. It happens that Zoely, a prosperous manager of a store that sells in foreign currency, bought an Aleko car from a friend who had bought it from a cousin who had bought it from the son-in-law of the original owner. Zoely took care of it and pampered it: body work, a change from a gasoline motor to a diesel motor, seat upholstering, “funny” tires, halogen lights, air conditioning, metallic burgundy paint. The veteran Aleko is “smoking”, but the owner continued to be – although only nominally – for all legal effects the same owner who bought it new in the late eighties.

When Zoely acquired that car, a “tareco” [old thing] more than an Aleko, she went to visit the owner, whom she didn’t know, as if it were a mission for the Three Wise Men. Instead of incense and myrrh, she took detergent, soap, oil, tomato sauce and a succulent platter with red sparkles of beef. Farsighted, during that visit she agreed to draw up a proxy to act in matters regarding the automobile and made the owner swear, on his mother, his honor, and all the saints, that he was not thinking of leaving the country.

With the publication in the Official Gazette of the “Car Law”, Zoely uncorked a bottle of Freixenet sparkling wine, assured that she would sleep soundly that night without pills. When she told me the good news, it seemed unfair to make her come down from her cloud, but it was my duty to alert her, in case that in the process of transferring the car a commotion would be stirred in which she would lose her Aleko and, even worse, her job, because, Zoely, how are you going to justify the money that car has cost you? She looked at me without blinking and poured herself some more of the sparkling wine (cordon bleu, delicious). Last night she came over to my home and reproached me saying that it’s my fault that she continues not sleeping well.

Translated by: Espirituana

October 3 2011

Realism, yes. Magic, well, not so much.

This picture was take in the lobby of the Luis de la Puente Uceda Hospital in La Víbora.

PRE-SURGICAL

OPERATING ROOM

THE PORK HAS ARRIVED.

THE SALE STARTS AT 8:30 AM UNTIL 12:00 AM

CONTINUES AT 2:00 PM UNTIL 4:00 PM

THE COST IS $47 IN CUBAN CURRENCY.

I DO NOT ACCEPT CHAVITOS (convertible currency) OR EUROS.

I CANNOT DELIVER IT UNTIL TOMORROW.

TRY TO BRING EXACT CHANGE.

I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL YOUR NEXT SALARY PAYMENT.

I CANNOT PICK OUT A PACKAGE FOR YOU.

THE LAST DAY IS FRIDAY AT 4:00 PM.

IN THE DINING AREA THERE IS A LIST OF THOSE WHOSE TURN IT ISN’T AND THE REASON.

ENJOY AND CELEBRATE THE 26 OF JULY.

THANK YOU.

Translated by: Espirituana

September 5 2011

Flowers

In the history of the Cuban Revolution, there was a woman who had Fidel’s total confidence, the custodian of documents from the insurrection and the early years after the revolution took power. She did not want military ranks and, in spite of her power and influence, always stayed discreetly in the background. Upon her death in 1980, she became Celia Sánchez, the most autochthonous flower of the Revolution. And it has been thus until these last few days of August, when the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Federation of Cuban Women was celebrated. For this reason, there has been much talk about Vilma Espín, its founder and president, who also had a résumé that started in her native Santiago with Frank País between 1955 and 1956, and who passed away last year. And Vilma, who had never been referred to by any designations, became the most universal flower of the Revolution.

Autochthonous is what is native to a country; universal, to state the obvious, refers to the whole universe. It’s impossible to forget that Celia was Fidel’s right hand and Vilma was Raúl’s wife, and to use the same designation, changing only one word, leaves Celia at a local, domestic level, whereas Vilma acquires an ecumenical connotation.

The desire to give an almost mythical aura to the Revolution’s historic figures reminds me of the old social pages that referred to the “highly-educated, beautiful and genteel señorita“, now transformed to  the “insightful, fierce and loyal compañera“.

I thought of the paucity of ideas, so common in the media the government uses for its propaganda; and then I wondered if this might be the expression of a movement that aims to put itself on good terms with Raúl, given Fidel’s condition. In any case, there is no fixed time for the ridiculous.

Translated by: Espirituana