Everyone’s Cuba Curious

I went to Cuba about 20 years ago, and stayed for a week.

My welcome to Cuba was a threat from an armed guard that they would send us back home. I almost believed, at that moment, it would be for the best, but I persisted in convincing him that someone important was waiting for us beyond the wall. Later we found out they were excited by the packs of crayons that the x-ray machines picked up in our luggage– school supplies for our guests– that looked too much like ammo to eyes not accustomed to seeing neat boxes of crayons. The medicines we brought with us were most likely the deal closer.

I went out into the small villages, I visited their clinics, spoke with their doctors, walked newly-paved streets with bright curbs that merely delineated one parcel of hovels from another. Once, I slept in the only bed in the house of my guests. I have no idea where they slept that night. I washed myself from a basin on a pile of bricks in a cement block pile enclosure. I met hundreds of Cubans, spoke with them, ate with them, sang for them, prayed with them.

It’s been around 20 years since I left, weeping bitterly that I had to, so hard had I fallen in love with Cuba. The land is so fertile that the fence posts bloom, but there was no food to eat. The despair is as thick as the wafting smoke from their marijuana, and drowned in their rum. There is nothing to do so people marry, divorce, bed-hop, play dominoes, watch television in black and white, smoke, argue, and tell jokes. They told the best jokes about Castro, all of which escape me since I had to translate for others the entire trip. It makes for such a blur of memories that only impressions or singular moments stand out: a glass of agua ardiente with the local clinic’s doctor who seemed hopeful for more visits such as ours, a stroll through a garden, a mentally disabled child in a battered metal crib in a dank concrete room– a “home” for such; singing hymns for a crowd of people crammed into a small house in La Havana, filling the porch, spilling out into the street and other porches; an old woman with tears in her eyes, grabbing my arm, thanking me, thanking God for me, for my small gift of my voice opening up the big Gift of God’s love for Cuba.

How my heart breaks for them, knowing what full-on freedom would do to these children– for they are, in effect, all children now– if that day ever comes. Six generations of poverty, malnutrition, stunted education and isolation are not overcome in a moment of release. To think for oneself is a privilege never allowed them. They might still need a father-dictator, unfortunately, just a better one than Castro. But that was twenty-odd years ago, in far-flung villages. Havana’s elites and streets are still a wild mixture of anger, hope, and caution. The gulags are not yet full.

Well, The Jolly Roger and I Have Lost Our Minds

We pulled the trigger on this:

Catalina

It’ll take us about 4 days to sail her to her berth here in Chucktown, where we will commence to live the pirate life full time aboard. We’re keeping our jobs, we’re just tired of living in a town without enjoying its soul. Or its fish. But this is just right for us and our budget–not to mention our temperament. Lovely amenities abound at the marina where we used to park the ‘Slack, so we’ll just make it our full-time hangout. It’s away from the crush of the city, but close to our jobs. It will take some adjusting to, but we feel we’re up for one more adventure or three.

Oh, and the Pepper Dog will come along, too, if she can tolerate being a pirate dog. If not, she is well-loved and loves well my son and his bride, where she can comfortably adjust to her fading senses. Poor dear is mostly blind and deaf now, but very active and happy. She just bumps into things and hasn’t learned to manage the handicap yet. She needs a seeing-eye dog!

As it is, we’re getting our minds around it. I figure putting it out on my blog will make it more real. We’ll have to take some time off work and do our homework for mastering the Intracoastal Waterway charts. But think of it! Four days to enjoy the South’s ineffable beauty along the banks and beaches of a Dixie Spring Fling. It should make for wonderful blog-fodder, since we’ve never done such a thing in our lives!

"That's alright, Kttty, they all do that! If anything's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there!"

“That’s alright, Kttty, they all do that! If anything’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there!”

Stay tuned. It should get interesting. But not too interesting, I hope. Living small, and living well back from the mainstream. It’s not fancy, but I fancy it.

Workforce Update 28

I was considering an update to my current work situation when Stoaty gave me the perfect meme for the occasion. Sure, she’s laying claim to the meme and I’m a joiner, and a giver. Herewith, the long-awaited update:

Eh, not so good. The new sheriff is a shiftless drunkard (naturally, it’s a sales job, first and foremost) and is on a salary+bonus arrangement so, what the heck. He piles on tons and tons of little nickel-and-dime jobs for the underlings to price and merely adds to the already crushing work-load. 30+ bids this month. However, he did make the Hubby-he move all his crappy office furniture out and replaced it with some nice stuff, and is making the office presentable to the public. But he’s a hopeless drunkard who came in so hungover last Thursday that he was useless, nervous, shaky, and freaked out until after lunch. Liquid lunch is my guess.

Wifey-she is behaving until she isn’t. Butter couldn’t melt in her mouth as she plays her little passive-aggressive games with the new Sheriff and, really? I almost welcome the play, even if my cohort and I get crushed in the dance.  Poor co-worker just found out she’s preggers with number three, which is welcome news, but makes it harder and harder for her to care, and harder to leave. Plus, Hubby-he is making weird overtures to her, calling her on her cell, buying her candy and cookies. Which freaks her out. She swears that she should’ve sued the company back when he creepily wiped his sweat onto her.

Meanwhile, they lag on hiring me into the company and away from the temp service. I found out why: they only wanted to pay minimum wage for me to do the work of a junior engineer. So, corporate is dragging their feet, waiting to see if the new sheriff or I quit first.

Might be me. I had a nice interview for a government job last week, and this week, my son’s company’s software was bought by the military, so he asked me to submit a resume to join them as a software tester. Could be good. In the meantime I’ve told the temp agency to get me out of where I am, ASAP. Three months and thankfully nobody’s taken their clothes off yet and I’d like to leave before I have to see that.

So there. It’s a meme. Pick it up if you dare.

Someone’s Taking Note

Put yourself in their narrow place of power: Obama blatantly kills tens of thousands of jobs in Louisiana, and no one took the streets in riotous protest. Obama subverts the Constitution, subverts the banks and markets, and in some tangible way has negatively affected every productive member of society, and the most that happened was a polite Tea Party and an influx of new problem-makers into Congress. That’s a situation they still feel well-qualified to handle . . . with loads of cash and valuable prizes!

It’s not like they’re going to let anyone make a difference that takes money out of their pockets. Selfless men in D.C. are rare. The freshmen class will be wooed and wined and dined, the rock-star status will turn their heads and in two years they’ll have forgotten what it was we were going to hold them accountable for, but will have learned how to lie about it anyway.

We may have one more cycle of frustrated voting out the bastards before we are lulled by the siren song of “peaceful transitions” while the scoundrels do violence to our future, our bank accounts, our freedom.

Sleep, sleep, and dream, me hearties. They’re all the Dread Pirate Roberts and they’ll likely kill us in the morning!

(from a comment left elsewhere.)