Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mansion...Crazy bird

Feb 26: Back to the Mansion
We went back to the mansion today, to install 99 curtains of Ao Poi. It was a typical Paraguayan quasi-disaster, or what seems like disorder in my perfectionist American mind. The guy was 30 minutes late to pick us up. They we get there and realize we’re going to need a drill, so our contact leaves for 45 minutes to go find a contractor. When we gets back, we’re given three screwdrivers to unscrew the screws, 8 to each Ñanduti curtain, so that the contractor can put them back in a different place more suitable for our new Ao Poi curtains. I’m dreaming of electric drills, or even better, workmen to whom I can just bring a cold glass of water and write a check. And I think, I really am chuchi.

In between working I admired a black simple painting of a bullfight. I marveled at how two black strokes looked so much like a man’s legs. Later, one of the men at the house asked me if I noticed who had made the painting. I looked: Picasso.

This man is quite rich and used to buy perfection. I’m worried about how the curtains look. Auxi handed out the work, telling the women to do it the most lindo possible, and they did a wonderful job. But they are not robots, and handmade fabric arts are not a science. There were four curtains to a window, held with bars on the top and bottom, and El Señor wanted them all to hang with the same amount of tautness.

It took us two hours to complete the first room, just four windows of four curtains. But afterward we got in a groove and the work went along well. Us women would take off the curtains, the maids would clean the windows, the carpenter would reattach the top brackets, then we’d screw the curtains back on.

I brought my ipod speaker dock, so we listened to music as we worked.

At lunch, the 14-seater table was set with dishes and bottles of soda. We were asked to sit, and we all scrambled, not knowing where to sit. We sat upright and waited while some other workers, then El Señor came and sat down. Under the table, I was cracking my knuckles one at a time. We had to be told about five times to serve ourselves.

By the end of the day, our fingertips were raw and we were about half done with the house. The curatins looked beautiful, and El Señor was talking about asking for three huge tableclothes and possibly shirts for everyone on the ranch.

Feb 27: Crazy Bird
So I decided that I wasn’t going to have a bathroom mirror, after I realized I spent about 15 minutes a day examining the slow decay of my skin and making things worse on my face by trying to fix whatever I saw.

I just have this one mirror, inside the door of my armoir. Sometimes I leave it open, because I never learned to close things like cabinets or drawers.

Sometimes the mirror reflects right at my bed, so it’s like a tv screen where I can watch my own life: Blond main character, propped up on two pillows on her bed, typing on a laptop, talking on a cellphone, reading and mumbling agreement and highlighting something.

As I’ve said I also talk to myself more here, maybe even just to speak a little English, to hear a little English. But sometimes I’ll be muttering to myself, and I’ll look up and there I am in the mirror, but I’ll keep talking, and I’m talking to myself in the mirror while seeing myself, and I wonder if I’m going a little crazy, like a parakeet in a cage that keeps pecking its own reflection in a little hanging mirror, thinking it’s another bird.

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