Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thirteen

Talk is cheap. And the Dominicans that I live with are poor. So they talk a lot. At first I didn’t really understand them so I figured they had a lot to say but as I start to understand them better I realize that they say in 20 minutes what could be said in two. It’s just wasteful really. Maybe if they trimmed the fat and spoke more efficiently the market price of talk would go up and the things they said would be worth something. That was kind of a cheap shot, but seriously they are professional liars here. Except here lying is not the moral no-no that it is in the US. In the US we have the decency to hide the fact that we’re dishonest. Not so much here. Let’s see some examples:

Example 1:
Motorcycle driver: That will be $70 pesos.
Me: No it will be $40 pesos.
Motorcycle driver: Oh, I didn’t realize you knew the price. OK $40 pesos. Hey do you want to be friends?

20 minutes later:
Me: The moto driver tried to rip me off.
Neighbor: Oh yeah that’s because you’re white and he thought he could get more money out of you.
Me: Right, I got that. But shouldn’t you be enraged that your fellow countryman was trying to rip me off even though I came here for two years to help you have running water?
Neighbor: No, you see, you are white and he is Dominican. So he lies to you to try to get more money because he thinks you don’t know what it should cost.
Me: OK, bye.

Example 2:
I’m walking up to teach Spanish and I stop by one of my student’s house to wait for him.

Student: Just give me one second, I have to finish copying the homework.
Me: Oh, ok. But shouldn’t you be more secretive about copying the homework that I assigned you for the class I teach?
Student: Well I didn’t have time to do it because things here in the middle of nowhere are very busy and there’s just no time to do a five minute homework assignment within three days.
Me: Well don’t bother copying it. You won’t learn anything unless you do it.
Student: But I’m doing it right now.
Me: No, you’re copying your sister’s homework.
Student: Yeah. (Looks at me, confused, as if I might be retarted and he’s trying to decide.) Do you want a banana?
Me: OK, bye.

My new light bulb has made me the most popular guy in my community after 7pm. I always had light bulbs in middle school but I never had any friends. But here when the sun sets the neighbors flock to my light bulb like moths, mistaking it for the sun. Also these moths bring uncharged cell phones with them. Being popular is nice and everything but nighttime was the time when I practiced useless hobbies like juggling and yo-yoing and learning Spanish. How am I supposed to learn Spanish if there are Dominicans all over my house. And how embarrassing will it be if I return to the US in two years and I can’t even juggle well. There’s two years of my life down the drain.

Me: I built a gravity-fed water system in the mountains of the Dominican Republic.
Potential employer: Mmm hmmm, that’s nice. How are you at juggling?
Me: Oh, well, um…..you see….i got this lightbulb…and…well not so good.
(No longer)Potential employer: Yeah well I’m afraid you just don’t have what it takes to work in this engineering firm.
Me: I understand completely.

It seems I am writing a lot of dialogue. I don’t know why. Maybe I should do screenplays. For crappy sitcoms.

There is a serious fire ant problem in my house and my garden and my current country of residence. My shack is home to many critters including rats, tarantulas, and lizards but none of them bother me so much as the fire ants who’ve decided to make their homes in my floor. Contrary to popular belief, fire ants are not named fire ants because of their fire fighting abilities. It’s actually because it hurts like a bastard when they bite you. The other day they decided to go exploring in my clothes so when I put on my pants they started biting me. I had ants in my pants. I also had them in my bed and my food but bed and food don’t rhyme with ants. So that’s unacceptable.