Dec 18: What a waste

First there were the firecrackers, then the failed trip to the grocery store, and finally the expensive pineapple. Some days just seem like such a waste.Mornings here are typically when I try to get a couple hours of contract work complete, this morning was no different. Except, there was a roaming group of kids setting off something like a firecracker. They seemed to be involving a can of some sort, either to amplify the sound or perhaps it was some sort of homemade firecracker. Either way, the sound was too much for me. The suddenness of it, and the volume seemed to rattle my brain. I felt like I was getting queasy from the interruptions; like someone was dragging my consciousness from work, across a Texas gate, and back into the barrio. I had to stop early.

Walk Home - Do you see any groceries?

Walk Home - Do you see any groceries?

Needing some fresh air to calm down, and food for the fridge, we planned a trip to the grocery store in the afternoon. Normally we would take a taxi but today, with the help of a couple local kids, we thought we would walk to the store and just take a cab home. Motivating the kids was relatively easy with the promise of a treat and a few rides on our back. Groceries were easy enough. We even met one fellow who recognized us from the barrio and were able to chat for a minute. Then at the checkout, when our groceries were half through, I realized I had left my credit cards at home. So with people anxiously waiting behind me I fumbled through a few Spanish words to try explain that I couldn’t pay for all the groceries. Fortunately, I had a little bit of cash and we kept some of the more important things that aren’t available closer to home (like Oreo cookies for example). Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be a way to remove items from the bill so the poor cashier had to cancel the transaction and start scanning everything again until we reached our available cash limit. Feeling like the trip was a waste, and not wanting to call a cab to carry two bags of groceries home, we dragged the kids home on foot.

By dinner we were ready for a (another?) break and decided to try making Pizza sandwiches (we don’t have an oven to make the real thing). I quickly ran down the street to grab a pineapple while Nicole started putting things together. Starting to be able to interpret even the most quickly spoken prices I was sure the attendant said 40 pesos. Passing him a 100 peso bill I fully expected to get 60 pesos back. He seemed to have another idea. The impression I got from his body language was that he decided I would leave him a bit of a tip and only provided me with 50 pesos. I was irked. We have tried to be generous with all who ask, but to help oneself! I don’t know. Am I being to selfish? Clearly an extra 10 pesos (< 40 cents) won’t really affect us, but still. Honestly, I don’t think we’ll go back to that vendor but I’m interested in your thoughts. Should I give him the benefit of the doubt and trust that his situation is so bad he really needed the extra cash?

Overall it’s been one of those days. Now if that guy with the firecrackers would just head to bed we could all get some rest.

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