Magazine Home
How Can I Miss You If You Don't Go Away?

by Dr. David, Editor / Publisher

Gil Gutierrez

Normally, I work from home, up here in Colonia Allende, but yesterday I was working in my office, down there in Colonia San Antonio. I had a meeting with my assistants, Moises and Shirley, a lovely, smart, hard-working couple. We're expanding our on-line publications here in San Miguel. It's all very exciting... and a lot of work.

After our meeting, when I was more than halfway out the door, with my bicycle helmet in hand, the phone rang. I mean that in the old fashioned sense; the phone that sits on my desk, the landline that comes with my internet service, rang. I rushed back through two doorways, dropping helmet, keys and bag on tables as I did, and picked it up on the fourth ring.

"Bueno."
[pause]
A quiet, measured voice replys in what is almost a question, "Doctor."
[pause]
I respond formally, with sincere reverence, "Maestro."

Whenever Gil Gutierrez calls I feel as if I had been waiting to hear from him. Though he only calls for one reason, we always spend some time chatting, sharing jokes. He's always interested in my publishing business, always insisting that I am, or, at least, will be, a rich man. This time we spoke mainly about his business, his recent USA tour and his concern about the sharp downturn in tourism here in SMA due to security concerns (read "ongoing murders in the street"). He told me, "On tour in New York I met people with houses in SMA, who told me that they will not come back until things quiet down."

I say, Gil has solved the problem of working for musicians' wages by owning the restaurant (or, in his case, restaurants). I have numerous best clients, people who advertise with me. One pays for a year at a time; you got to love that. One pays for top placement; bless his heart (and his business acumen). Another drops envelopes full of money in my mail-slot without my having to ask, even before it is due. (Now don't get jealous, because there really aren't that many paying customers... yet.) Gil is best because he makes good, regular use of my dedicated newsletter to publicize both his Sunday Zandunga shows and his weekday Bistro Mi Casa gigs. That's why he called, for me to send out a newsletter announcing that Zandunga was reopening.

***

How Can I Miss You If You Don't Go Away?

Veronica is in Chile for three weeks visiting friends and family. With no one to call me to bed at night, I've taken the opportunity to work like a fiend. Increasing Shirley and Moises' hours, taking on Daniela, my star in front of (and behind) the camera, expanding here in SMA, expanding into other cities... there's a lot to do. The wise old lawyer told me, "Growth can kill you." Let's hope not.

Add to all that business the opportunity, in Veronica's absence, to reorganize the kitchen. I moved into her house and have been very respectful of her space and process. We are remodeling the second floor (when the landlord's contractors don't have anything else to do) and that will be my space. Still, one day when she was (teaching) at school, I moved the water dispenser from a particularly valuable piece of counter space (right next to the refrigerator, where it is natural to place things while you open the door) to an underused nook, conveniently five steps closer to the stove. After 7-10 days of having my initiative held against me ("How could you move it without asking me?) I moved it back. Some days later, when the bottle was empty, she moved the base back to the underused nook.

Now, I have a high tolerance for disorder and I'm no Mr Clean, but how many tablespoons do you have in your silverware drawer? This morning I counted 17 in ours, along with 17 forks, 8 teaspoons dispersed among the tablespoons, various corks, jar and bottle tops, 2 lemon presses, a stem to drink mate and other sundry items. I had to root around through it all to find one of our three butter knifes whenever I wanted to spread my almond butter. Enough is enough. I chucked the corks, lids and most of the sundry items and left eight pieces of each type of silverware along with five chopsticks. (I have faith that the sixth will turn up.) When we have a party, one of us will have to remember where the rest are.

Veronica is a lovely person, with many talents, but organization is not one of them. I mean, do we really need two crates of empty plastic and glass containers, which we never use (we have others) occupying our limited cabinet space? And why are the bowls we use most regularly behind the baking dishes that we never use at all? Even when I have my upstairs space, we'll still be sharing this kitchen, and, anyway, I'm the chef.

CONTENT ADVISORY

When people say that something or other is "disgusting" I've been known to reply, "No. Human dissection is disgusting." Back in medical school, we did 36 weeks of it. Still, I advise the fainthearted to skip the following section, because it gets gross. Just jump down two photos.

When our upstairs neighbor moved out las cucarachas moved in. Our place is clean, but obviously it wasn't clean enough. No matter how tired you are, you just can't leave the counter unswabbed until the morning. Then all the containers on the counter, dozens and dozens of them, gave food residues and las cucarachas a place to avoid detection. I was slapping them dead until the joints of my hand started getting inflamed; frantically and futilely moving bottles in search of escapees.

Now, crushed cucaracha on your hands and counters is gross, but it cleans up real well with soap and water. You might think of fumigating, but I know enough about the dangers of organo-phosphate pesticides, especially when used indoors, to prefer soap and water. There weren't a lot of them, nothing like a biblical plague, still, something had to be done, if for no other reason than to prevent me from getting arthritis.

I knew they were nesting in the stove, so, I unhooked it and moved it out into the patio. I cleared the counters, laid down even more boric acid and slapped less vigorously. Things were 90% better overnight. With continued vigilance (cleaning out an electrical outlet and below the sink), 36 hours later, I had 99% effectiveness.

Last night, I woke at 4:00 and realized that I had forgotten to send out Gil's newsletter. I got out of bed to do it. Turning on the lights (one at a time to let my eyes adjust) in our great room (where I work) I made an inspection of the island that separates kitchen from living room. Raising each item I found one here and one there, just babies, until I lifted the little basket with the drying basil and disturbed their new nesting site. A dozen fell out. The slaughter was brutal. The youngster are slow, but a couple of big ones (given the newly moderated force of my slap) avoided their end in the hollow of my palm. I got those fugitives this morning.

END OF CONTENT ADVISORY

Emotional Neglect

For those of you who skipped the section above, last night I woke at 4am and realized that I had forgotten to send out Gil's dedicated newsletter. I woke and managed to do so in half an hour. Returning to bed I knew it would not be easy to fall back asleep. So, I did something I almost never do. I turned onto my stomach. I avoid this position, because occasionally in it I get a stiff neck. Still, it is a very comforting position for me. I wasn't touched enough when I was a kid. The closest thing I got to an embrace was when my brother and I sat on Dad's lap and he sang to us. Then (how many times?) I would lie next to him while we watched TV. The trouble was that he was liable to start poking and pushing pressure points to amuse himself during the commercials. To put it mildly, he was strange about expressing affection. Mom just didn't. I remember, as a kid, lying in bed in certain positions, relishing the way the matress pressed upon my body. Those were my embraces.

Last night returning to bed, lying on my belly or not, after a half hour I realized that it was no use and got up. What do you do when you can't sleep? I work. So, after finishing the extermination described in the previous section, I started to write this article. And now it's almost done.

Added to everything else, I'm also seeing patients. One is a nine year old boy whose parents separated a year ago. He told his mom that sometimes he does not want to live. That's kind of young to throw in the towel. His world has been shaken. These two people whom he loves do not love each other. If that security can fail him, then upon what can he rely? I put on my best impersonation of a benevolent uncle and counseled him that even under the best of circumstances, it's hard to be a child. You lack freedom, experience, capacity, understanding... I told him, Hang in there; you'll get a better perspective on it all.

The emotional dysfunction of your parents, or anyone else, doesn't make sense. That's why they call it "dysfunction." Socrates' claim to fame was his realization that nothing was knowable. Still, admiting the world's inherent unreasonableness allows you to make more informed decisions, frees you from repeating past failures and permits you to receive the comforts that are available. In my case, the fulfillment of a job well done and the embrace of someone who loves me.

Now I am going to make breakfast in my clean, newly organized kitchen. (Where did I put those sunflower seeds?)

**************


photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr David welcomes you to San Miguel Sunday. Anyone with any interest in contributing articles is heartily encouraged to contact him at the email below. The "Best City in the World" deserves a good lokkal magazine.

events @ sanmiguelevents.com

You must register and log in to write a comment.
Please use the "login" link at the top (right) of the page.

Subscribe / Suscribete  
If you receive San Miguel Events newsletter,
then you are already on our mailing list.    
   click ads
copyright 2019