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Peas, Gloves, and Little Green Snakes

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Written by Matt   
Monday, 10 May 2010 12:15

Last night Dan and I were eating at an outdoor café in Panama City when I spotted an inchworm, capsule no more than a few centimeters in length, making its way methodically along the side of Dan’s plate. I ushered the worm, who was green and clean looking, onto my finger then flicked him into the plaza just before the waitress came over and asked what I was doing in the bushes.

...she was suddenly interrupted by a homeless man moving him bowels just in front of a fresh fruit stand.

“Well, unhealthy it is that, we found a guisante in Dan’s salad,” I explained, rippling my pointer finger as if to replicate the little earthworm who was actually more cute than unappetizing. Guisante, I know now, means small pea and the word guante – which I used in a second attempt – means glove. So after telling the waitress we had found both a small pea and a singular glove in Dan’s salad, medicine I took the jump and attempted to explain using greater detail.

“It was a little insect that looks, in shape, like a snake. A small green snake that walks very fast towards Dan.”

I was once on a guided art tour in Barcelona when our guide, this sweet old woman who’s had an impeccable fashion sense, stopped to explain a façade designed by the great Gaudi when she was suddenly interrupted by a homeless man moving his bowels just in front of a fresh fruit stand. Extremely reminiscent was the look on our waiter’s face upon hearing that a pea, no a glove, no a small green snake had made its way into our ensalada verde, and that everything was alright, because I had just released him into the woods.

It was on our way to dinner that I pulled into the gas station on Calle 50, which I like because it is located within fifty meters of a Hooters, and asked the friendly attendant to fill up my tank. I also like this station because all the employees wear molas sewn on their shirts: a nice cultural touch. As he was filling the tank, he pointed at my friend Dan and said, “you brother?”

I once heard a staunch conservative friend of mine laugh and say that all Mexicans look alike. This came on the heels of some hot immigration debate and I never truly grasped the ridiculousness of it until sitting there at the gas station. Dan and I look about as similar as Pen and Teller so I used a word from middle school Spanish and said we were “hermanastros,” or stepbrothers.

When I went to pay, the attendant took a good look at my credit card and smiled. “This is from a bank in the United States of America?”

“Why yes it is,” I told him, “do you like?” He turned the card to the light as if some hologram or magical United States power would seep out.

“Is very elegant,” he said with a grin. I wondered if he was smiling so much because he was about to steal my credit card information.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 May 2010 01:07