Monday, May 4, 2009

Good morning ego...Pecks...The Photo That Never Was...

Good morning. Let´s warm up with some light stretching and photos.

You don´t have to refrigerate eggs until
after you wash them. Of course, there are pros
and cons to this method.

Roof renovations

Flare arrives in Paraguay, via TGIFridays.

While waiting for the bus this week, Brennan noted that the
animal in the middle of the police
on the side of their trucks is a chicken,
in order to strike
fear (or slight annoyance?)
in the heart of local criminals.

April 21: Good morning Ego

I’m all hopped up on yerba, the caffeine of Paraguay, which adds an extra giddiness to the high of victory I’m on, after a morning of winning life´s little games.

Usually, in Paraguay, we’re playing Let’s Speak Guarani! and I’m lost. We’re playing Who Wants to Cook a Meal? and I’m the worst. Or I’m dead last in the Clothes Washing 500.

But this morning, I went into the co-op early to help the new guapa president organize, and we were playing all my games.

We played Organization, where the $1,000,000 question was: Do you know how to make labels in the computer? Why, Yes I do. Do you know how to glue tags? Yes I do! While organizing the cabinets, there were even some rounds of Who Can Reach Up High?, of wh

Then, I received more ego food in my inbox. More points, in another game us Peace Corps volunteers can, by definition, usually win with a trump. A new identity: Experience.

My Great Story, that tertiary goal we can chase when we realize we’ll never win the Beauty Contest or World’s Richest. And, thank you Facebook, we can flaunt our victory as much as a model flaunts her cleavage. What I received was more evidence: photos I’d been waiting for of me on a cerro (hill) that said yes, look at me, I’m in the Peace Corps.

And look at me, how straight I can cut these lines on this label. Watch me alphabetize.

But the thing is, when you play these games, how you can feel yourself clenching when you lose your grip. Someone once told me about a billionaire who was on the Forbes top richest list, and how it irked him so that there were people richer than him, ahead of him, winning first place. I feel that same twinge when I look on Peace Corps web sites, and see people in Thailand, Africa, Indonesia. My chest tightens -- is there experience cooler, more exotic, than mine?

It hit me when Eckhart Tolle said the ego wants to want more than it wants to have. No matter what you get, you always want more, as long as you let whatever your getting become the gauge for how you measure who you are. So I have to remember, whether I’m winning or losing, these are all just games.

May 1: To whom it may concern

To: The table that bounces on its short leg, every time I lift my elbow. The lights that flicker until I give up and go by candlelight. The sink that pees out a puddle on the floor, every time I brush my teeth. The faucet that responds with nothing but a cough when I turn the handle. The cabinet door that swings closed if I don’t hold it with my hand. The web page that doesn’t open. The contact that’s not available. The printer that won’t print. The computer program that won’t open. The internet that won’t connect. The phone number that won’t go through. The e-mails that go unanswered. The cell phone that won’t send messages. The store that’s closed. The bus that never comes. The bike tire that deflates. The worm that lives in my eggplant. The cricket that drowned in my clothes wash. The ants that hide in my straw, sucked into my throat.

To all those little pecks at my patience.

I say: I will be home in five weeks, in America, land of the convenient, the functioning, the clean, where you can’t get me.

May 3: Perfect Picture

The thing about the best photos is that they never get taken. Here I am, right now, in this scene that says everything about my life: What I consider a perfect Sunday. I’m kind of sitting up/laying in my pink hammock with the bamboo sticks holding it open on either end, a pillow behind me, one leg straight out, with a bare foot hanging off the edge, the other leg folded in to support my notebook. I pulled up a chair with chipped green paint, where I put my books in a perfect helter-skelter pile, topped by my cell phone, should I feel the fancy to call a friend. A glass pitcher that looks like it’s posing for the cover of Southern Living drips a water ring next to my terere guampa. My sunglasses, which I don’t need here in the shade of the mango tree, rest on the corner.

And here is this perfect Sunday, doomed to be forgotten, like most of life’s truer moments.

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