Tendinitis in my hip has me in the dumps. I’ve had to slow down, limit my walking. But the days go on; things happen to me or I make them happen – good and not-so-good, expected and unexpected.
My favorite moments are the good and unexpected. My neighbor-friend, Isabel, rings the doorbell. She holds a covered bowl in her hands.
“I’m hoping you’ll receive this.”
Is she bringing me food?
“My cat was about to kill it.”
An injured bird?
“Come in,” I say, “What is it?”
She removes the cover. “It has the most beautiful colors.” In the bottom of the bowl lies a multi-colored lizard – chartreuse, yellow and cyan – with part of its tail missing.
“I’ve seen these before,” I say,” but never here in the city. In fact, I’ve never seen any lizards in my backyard. Let’s check my “Wildlife Guide to Chile” to see what it is.”
We identify our visitor as a thin tree lizard “… females are always found within the confines of a colonized tree or fence.” This brightly painted fellow appears to be a male.
“Isabel, he may feel lonely in my garden. There must be a mate where you found him.”
“I’ll watch for another, if the cat doesn’t get to it first.”
“Shall we name him?” I ask. “How about Iggy? He is related to the iguana.”
I go outside and release Iggy into the shrubbery, wishing him luck.
The next day my clothes dryer breaks down. Oh, oh, is this the start of a chain of bad luck? A Chilean superstition has it that bad things occur in a series of three. The bright side of this incident is that I have a reliable repairman. The problem is just a disconnected wire, but… (isn’t there always a ‘but’?) the fan belt is about to break. He brings the part the next day, and charges me the minimum. Bless him.
Since I’m in the fix-it mood, I decide to take my car to be washed. (Its last bath was about six months ago.) Opening the driveway gate, I notice a semi-flat tire. Sh--t. The tire has a faulty valve so I can’t put air into it. Off to the tire repair shop. The helpful man replaces the valve and inflates the tire, but…there’s a nail on the inner wall of the tire.
“We can’t fix it here. It has to be vulcanized.”
“Where?” I ask.
He describes a place a considerable distance way, which I spot amidst road work and mall construction. I pull up to the open air garage.
“You’ll have to wait while I fix that lady’s tire.”
She has driven in RIGHT before me. I’m glad I remembered to bring my I pad. I turn the ignition on and off to get some AC. Did I mention it’s noon by now and a very hot day?
When it’s my turn, I sit in a greasy, grimy red plastic chair trying not to touch anything. The fellow tells me it will take about half an hour since he must apply heat. My eyes tired, I close my I pad and study my surroundings: advertisements for motor oil, an old calendar page of an Alpine scene, oil stains on the concrete floor and assorted tools scattered about.
At last, it’s ready. I zip home and gobble down a salad, just barely to making it to my physical therapy session – a wonderful, painful deep massage. Ricardo knows all the key points on my half-exposed butt, reassuring me that we will beat this.
Back in the car, heartened, I think maybe I can still make it to the car wash. It’s 5 p.m. Friday, a very busy time, but, what the heck, maybe I’ll be lucky. There are five cars ahead of me, but I decide to wait it out. At least, I’ll have accomplished what I started out to do in the morning. Two of the young workers at the car wash are Haitians. I know this because an influx of Haitian immigrants is adding some diversity to this insular country at the bottom of the world. Outside a building construction I spot two signs reminding the workers of the safety measures – one sign in Spanish, the other in French.
My week ends with a joyous occasion – a reunion of my husband’s family, fifty-three including twenty four children ranging in age from 6 months to 21. Two sons can’t make it, including our New Yorker, Nico. Several of the smaller cousins barely know each other but a swimming pool and water pistols break the ice. The day is recorded with a plethora of photos.
In the waning light we all agree that we’ll have to do this again next year.