Neighborhood rhythm

ONE ASPECT of being mostly homebound is that I’m learning a bit more about my ramshackle barrio.

My child bride mentioned this morning that the birds start singing at 6 a.m. and the roosters at 7. Of course, this has nothing to do with being homebound because we’ve always been here at dawn, but I’d never noticed the fowls’ different singing schedules.

Yesterday I mentioned to her that there seem to be a plethora of garbage pickups. She replied that it’s more noticeable because we’re here all day, unlike before. We don’t put our garbage out on the street because that’s not how it works.

Garbage trucks, some municipal and some private, pass by randomly, it appears. They all clang a cow bell to announce their presence. You grab your garbage and rush outside to hand it over and leave a tip. But I rarely use that system. Too much hurry.

It does not suit a lazy man.

When trash accumulates, I toss the bags into the Honda and drive to a spot behind a municipal market on the ring road. A dumptruck waits there from 4 till 6 p.m. It’s primarily to collect trash from the municipal market, but anyone can leave garbage.

The driver/trash collector is a fine fellow, always smiling, who doesn’t seem to mind being a garbage man. It’s an honorable profession, I think. Underappreciated.

I always tip him 20 pesos, and last Christmas I gave him 100 pesos. It occurred to me later that a bigger bonus would have been better, and if I’m alive in December, I’ll give him 200 at least, just for his smile. I detoured from that routine a few days ago, and lugged trash out to a passing truck behind the Hacienda. Another 20 pesos.

This morning was interrupted by a haircut, mine, the second homemade trim in the past few weeks. We have clippers, and I sat on the upstairs terraza while my child bride refreshed my buzzcut. Meanwhile, the full beard continues to grow.

48114538163_8630d6065d_oI’ve not sported a full beard in 30 years, just a large goatee, which a late friend told me looked pansy-ass, or something like that. I don’t care. Here’s how full coverage looked 30 years ago, a passport photo.

In my mid-40s and already turning gray.

My father had the same issue, so I inherited it.

I did some nasty business this morning. While my child bride was inside knitting, not paying mind to anything else, I was out in the yard delivering discipline to the loquat tree that has the audacity to start growing again.

It was a major trash tosser before I had it drastically wacked back last year, but like the monster bougainvillea, it’s feeling its oats again. Many of those oats now rest out back in the wheelbarrow. I’m the boss around here.

The neighborhood rhythm today will include green pozole for lunch. My child bride makes superlative pozole. Were we not in quarantine, I would offer you some.

See you down the road somewhere.

11 thoughts on “Neighborhood rhythm

  1. Is that you on the picture? You look pretty respectable, with a full beard and head of hair and all. You clean up pretty well.

    Garbage-wise, here in our own mountaintop, no one picks up the garbage. We have to load the garbage on our pickup and take it to two dumpsters, perennially overflowing with trash, about two kilometers from here. No tips to anyone.

    Without any haircuts in about five weeks, I’m starting to look like Einstein minus the brains. The local barber, a woman, only does buzzcuts and I’m not going near her.


    1. Señor Lanier: Living out in the boonies has both pluses and minuses, I guess. No trash pickup is one, of course. I remember how it was solved at my grandparents’ farm in Georgia decades ago. There was a steel barrel in the pecan grove. Trash was dropped in and set alight. That did the trick. I wonder what happened when it was full of ashes, what they did with it. Don’t recall.

      I imagine barbers and hairstylists are financially hurting more than most. Well, with Mexicans, you never know. But, like you, it’s the last place I’m going till the Kung Flu goes away. You have no clippers?


  2. Here in the Tenure of St. Mary of Guido, our trash pickup is made by random private picker-uppers, charging $10 per trash can or bag. Since we incinerate what will safely burn and have a garbage disposal, our contributions are meager amounts of glass, plastic, and metal, perhaps every two weeks.

    Two blocks away from the church, our pre-Covid days were marked by its bells, chiming away in the early morning, noon, afternoon, and evening. Now that mass is held only on Sunday, at midday, the air is silent. I miss those reminders.

    While a haircut’s not a concern of mine, the color is. It’s holding up in the month since I last went to the sala de belleza, but the pink’s going to fade soon. And coloring it is too intricate a process to be left to hands like mine.


    1. Ms. Shoes: I have no idea if our local Mass schedule has changed, but the bell still rings slowly for hours on end when someone dies. I suspect the latest death, just last night, had nothing to do with Kung Flu. And the bell is still ringing slowly at this moment. Bong … bong … bong …

      When this all blows over, and we’re back to normal, I recommend you buy a clipper set. For the next health hysteria and quarantine, you can sport the bald look. You will seem very modern, cutting edge.


  3. Chickens around here start around 5 a.m., the birds 6:45, the first bird chirps and then a gaggle of them start. Church has changed in the village. The priest is on the loudspeakers now, so everyone within hearing gets religion around 7 a.m., I think. Saving 50 pesos from not getting a haircut every eight weeks. Just think, six months, and I can get another bottle of tequila.


    1. Kirk: Seems our fowl are not in sync, or maybe my wife’s report was generalized. And I am so glad we have no priest blaring from a loudspeaker. There is a loudspeaker perched atop a house in the next block, but I haven’t heard anyone using it in years. Thanks the Goddess for small favors.

      As for your tequila, well, another six months to go. One of the many good things about being a teetotaler is that I don’t have to concern myself with that anymore. I am liberated.


  4. I love a good pozole. Only here we spell it posole. That’s how we pronounce it too. Do you pronounce it differently?


    1. Creigh: The z is prounounced like an s in Spanish, so yes, we say it just like posole. No one makes it better than my wife. I find restaurant pozoles to be lacking, always. Come on down to my house, and you’ll encounter the best pozole in the world. I kid you not.


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