Today I woke up early and instead of staying in bed reading until it’s a more convenient hour to start the normal daily activities I grabbed some fruit, a thermos and started to walk.
Just a block from home I spot a very old industrial grinder with a flexible coupling on the sidewalk. It’s quite heavy.
I continued to stroll around the city and saw the sunrise amid a gentle mist.
By the time I returned my brother was already awake and he lend me a hand to pick it up.
Surprisingly, it only took a couple of beats with a hammer and a wooden block to remove the coupling from the motor housing. The motor, a big and old three phase one, has all its wires crumpled and turns freely, albeit with a loud noise of broken bearing. On the other hand the shaft at the stone rides smooth, just like new.
A bit more than a week ago one of our cats, Juli, went missing.
From time to time she enters some sort of freak mode and starts to make frenetic moves. At first we thought she landed on some of the neighbors but she always managed to find a way back home and this was not the case.
We put posters around the block but as time went by her chances of being alive were really slim. She’s quite old, with poor eyesight and hearing.
By this point I had already lost hope of finding her again but late at night we got a phone call. Someone on the bus stop recognized in her picture a cat his aunt rescued a while ago. Turns out she ran away and was hit by a truck on Avenida Circunvalación. They took her home and to the vet, her hip was badly hurt.
She’s at home now, has a bit of trouble to eat (we also feed her with a syringe and a special liquid for recovery) and move but overall feels way better than what we expected given the misshapen.
Today I walked back from the uni at a slow pace with my termo under my arm and the path led me to the corner of 3 and 67 where there’s a kiosk.
It’s run by a friend of mine, we attended to school together. We chatted for a while and then an old woman, queer mixture of a Gypsy and La Nona made her way inside and started to empty her bag.
She tried to sell us some flowers made of what looked like papier-mâché, asking $150 for each one. We refused and I politely tried to help her anyways with what I had on my wallet (a bit less than $50).
That moment she transformed and with an elevated and angry tone accused us of having that amount of money and not wanting to buy, which was completely true, as I had no use for such an item.
We argued back and forth for a while until she said now with a darker and more calm voice, “you are evil, evil persons”, gave us a deep stare and disappeared on the street.
As part of my health and lifestyle changes I set up the goal to walk at least an hour a day. This is good as I normally don’t walk very much and with the bike the cold wind stabs deep inside me and I end up with my head aching even if I wear lots of protective clothing on it.
This morning wasn’t as cold as others so I left a bit earlier for uni and went there walking instead of cycling.
It took me more than double the usual time but the morning was lovely. About mid journey I found a lemon on the verge of an abandoned house. I carried it with me, smelling from time to time and capturing odd looks and a handful of smiles.
On my way back home a young lady stopped by my side to ask for the time. It was very strange that she didn’t have a cellphone but after catering to her request we started to walk together and talk, mostly about our whereabouts and her career as English teacher. We parted ways a few blocks from my home.
I don’t remember when was the last time I had that careless feeling of easiness around someone new, in general and for making conversation out of the blue. Perhaps the surprise was the difference.
Today I walked a tad more than hour and half. So far the week started very good.
Today I had the pleasure of meeting Alicia Reinoso.
This afternoon I walked to the city centre for a quick check up with my doctor and to run some errands. When I finished, the day had turned colder and a very fine mist was morphing into rain.
As I approached the bus stop a woman started to look at me, finally asking if I could lend her my sube card in exchange for money for the fare.
With a very distressed tone she related me that she was a Doctor and misplaced her purse with most of her documents and money but someone found it and called so she could pick it up.
The place was in a kind of sketchy neighborhood and she was very afraid of going there alone (and also, it was already dark). It’s not very far from my home and the local police station so I offered to escort her there.
Still, she was afraid and when we arrived at the police station tried to get hold of an officer to come with us but the only patrol car was on duty. We arranged for meeting there and while she waited for whomever found her purse I went to pick up our family car (she lives in the other extreme of the city and the night wasn’t that friendly for such a trip).
We drove to her home chatting about life, her children and strangely enough given my orientation, about religion, moral compasses and other stuff.
That was a very nice quarter of hour. It’s been quite a while since I had such a meaningful conversation with a stranger.
For the most part of last week I felt like catching a cold but not quite.
My body and joints ached and was in this general state of drowsiness.
This morning was humid but not cold. I gathered all my willpower and hoped into the bike instead of taking the bus to the uni.
I arrived exhausted and sweaty.
As it happens at these stages the classes are very small. Today it was only me and the professor. We stood up side by side in front of the whiteboard discussing for about an hour.
A very productive morning.
Back at home I felt terrible but empowered.
Later I went to do some errands.
I took a rest on the sidewalk and the neighbors cat brushes me, asking for petting.
We sat there for a while, attracting odd looks from the passerby people.
Petting a cat,71 st. between 9 and 10, La Plata. Argentina
Today I was trying to finish some drafts and sorting out material for the next ones when gossiping around I got the news that Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of the Cranberries, passed away earlier this week.
I missed them whey they came to Argentina but they’ll always be special for me, as the first time I kissed a girl (that later became a Real Woman, unlike most of her contemporary gals) we were dancing like dorks to the tune of Ode to My Family.
Sunday was a very nice day among friends and partners of our neighborhood.
Instead of finishing a draft post about that I’m sad. I spent most of this Monday listening to our representatives going around circles instead of voting, while some of my friends were treated like terrorists, being searched by masked officers at gun point, others punched and kicked.
I listened to the live stream for about ten hours before the sleep took over. Most of the ‘normal’ people I met yesterday chose to ignore this and watch crap tv. Meanwhile in Japan they have entertainment shows like Supreme Skills where they pit engineers and craftsmen to see which one is able to complete very demanding projects. Some of them are very light on the details but nonetheless the content is still better than other productions and showcases a complete different scale of values.
On weekends most of us choose to numb our minds with meaningless stuff. Others enlighten themselves.
So, it turns out that my biking escapades to Los Talas or walks among the forest have a greater side effect than letting me vent and clear the mind while it works on the background.
Urban environments tend to capture attention dramatically and require additional directed attention. Natural environments are as rich, if not richer, but tend to invoke involuntary attention more modestly, allowing directed attention mechanisms a chance to rest and recoup. Interaction with nature improves your ability to perform directed-attention tasks—things you need to concentrate on.
So says researchers from the University of Michigan in Cognitive Benefits of Nature Interaction (Psychological Science, December 2008). They’re looking at a side-effect free, zero-cost, readily available therapy to improve your cognitive functioning. All it takes is a walk in the park.
Near the end, when we were almost finishing packing up a police car appeared. They said someone made a complaint about noises and that we should turn it down.
By then, after a very loud party on the street, there was just a small powered speaker, so we just unplugged it. They walked away, tail between their legs, but before that took all my personal data just in case.
30 Años de FM Futura. La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina