Friday, September 01, 2006
Taking a Leak
Where Ernesto Should Have Remained--si, en una palangana!
The aguacero--rainstorm--in my little tale below took more of a leak on us than Ernesto. He's so angry, though, that he never fully graduated from Tropical Storm Elementary that he's vented his childlike wrath on the Carolinas and is dribbling his way up the mid-Altantic and Eastern Seaboard. He's even going to impact Syracuse, of all places--and even the southernmost reaches of Canada--before he zips it.
May no wave wafting in from off the coast of Africa--or from wherever--make it to Hurricane High School this year. Keep it up, National Hurricane Center--keep it up!
(At the same time, though, thinking of John about to assault the Baja Peninsula, and Cabo San Lucas. Also, all those typhoons in the Far East: I experienced one in 1989, while in Hong Kong. In the aftermath of Tienamen Square, no less. All I remember is signs flapping in the wind...)
Come what may, the drought is over.
TAKING A LEAK
BY GEORGINA MARRERO
Drought-like, until recently, the summer rains have begun in earnest. While at Quirantes Orthopedics, where I was choosing a suitable arm brace to help alleviate my computer slouch induced tendonitis, it began to pour. And pour.
Fortunately, the grandson of the man who had worked alongside my father, so many years ago, and I found much to talk about while we waited for it to escampar. His ancestor had founded the family firm in Matanzas over one hundred twenty years ago. I did not hesitate to mention our great compadre, Joaquin Albarran, whose portrait I had just donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami. The young man beamed at the knowledge of our shared history.
With my arm brace fitted and firmly in place, I hurried back to my car under light rain. Cutting across Eighth Avenue, and then up Seventh Street, I decided an ajiaco at La Carreta would be the perfect lunch. So, turning at Twenty-Seventh Avenue, I ascended Calle Ocho, past Versailles on the right, and turned left into La Carreta’s parking lot. A very convenient spot was awaiting me.
As the restaurant was packed, the elderly maitre d’ ushered me to the booth catty cornered from the end of the counter, directly across from the bathroom. Thrilled about neither the location nor the lumpy bench seat, I perched on the corner, was handed my menu, and ordered my ajiaco and a batido de fruta bomba. As soon as the crusty garlicky bread and my batido arrived at my table, I quickly gulped down half of the shake and ate two pieces of bread.
In the meantime, two girls sat down at the booth in front of mine: the one I’d coveted. They ordered an ajiaco and a sopa de pollo, as well as a medianoche to go. Although my order had gone in first, they were served their soups before I. Insult added to injury, I felt. The waitress and I made eye contact. Another server arrived with my soup, whereupon the waitress arrived with yet another ajiaco for my consumption. I didn’t get to keep the second one, though.
Había escampado long enough: Empezó a llover a cántaros. Una cortina de agua estaba cayendo afuera. Sheet after sheet of rain pummeled the window. Savoring the end of my batido and my ajiaco, I decided to take my time.
For some reason, the girls had moved next to each other. They had begun to laugh. And then I saw why. La tempestad had found its way inside. From somewhere directly over their booth, water was falling from the ceiling, into a glass, onto the table, and onto the recently vacated lumpy bench seat.
To add insult to La Carreta’s injury, a palangana was strategically placed on the floor to catch the overflow.
Several other girls sitting at the counter looked over and also began to laugh. The waitress and the server rushed over. There was nothing that could be done, for the time being.
Standing up to more properly observe this espectáculo, I made a comment about a “leaky restaurant.” The waitress pointed to the air conditioning vent right above the girls’ table. That was the culprit.
Good sports all the way, the girls kept laughing. I kept staring at the steady drip-drip-drip, in sync with what Mother Nature was sending our way outside. The girls left.
The waitress had come and gone; so had our other server. The maitre d’ made his appearance. And then along came the manager. They all, merely, stared.
But the rest of us laughed. And I, for one, was glad I had ended up in that not-so-crummy booth.
Cuando escampó suficientemente, I left. A very nice man gallantly offered his paraguas as far as the cafetería in the back. And then I went across a charco, got into my car, and came home.
The drought is over.
Copyright, 2004 by Georgina Marrero 650 words All Rights Reserved