Talk Offices

It is ages since I took note of my intention to write about post offices. In order to be more incisive, I collected a few texts on the subject. Even though I don’t know where such texts are, the note always reminds me of my intention to talk about the future of the postal service.

I know post offices are doing their best to survive in a new world where communications are no longer their exclusive domain. A couple of months ago I had to send a registered letter. Upon my arrival at the post office, I noticed that one of the two ladies employees was engaged in a very long conversation with an old gentleman. The second one received my letter and gave me a square form to be filled. Soon she was discussing this and that with me. Somehow, I was interested and talking back.

Shortly after, I read about things that post offices are doing to keep the postal business alive and remembered the way those two ladies talked with their clients. Why not turning post offices in places where people can go just to sit and talk with someone about anything worth to talk about? I absolutely would use such service from time to time, be it over the phone, through a screen or mainly face to face.

Best of October 2016

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The Dog That Wanted to Bite the Moon
Recently I went to a ceramic exhibition. The artist, João Donato, studied at the City and Islington College under the supervision of ceramist Daphne Carnegy. It was a really nice moment. His creativeness shows in his works and the titles he picks for them: “The Difficult Digestion of the Serpent”, “The Architect’s Tie” or “The Shadow of Detective Cantor”. I had a favorite called “The Secret”.

I picked an exhibition as my best of October in recognition of Donato and many others like him. Artists around here don’t have support. As far as I know, it’s almost inexistent. Being an artist here is an act of courage.

Drivers and Posts

Drunken drivers (men usually) around here have an intriguing tendency of using the illumination posts as brakes. We never hear about a single case of payment or punishment for the damage caused, and that is troubling and irritating.

Chinese are installing surveillance cameras all over the town. The above image is near a school. The school exists since the 70s, with no security problem I am aware of. Actually, the only secrets and security issues, in this blessed country, are high level related – not at street level.

Consequently, drunken folks of Mozambique, if you do insist in destroying street posts, let them be those holding the surveillance cameras. I saw one down in the middle of a nearby avenue. A promise of many more to come… Contrary to the useful light posts, no one will miss them.

About Dreams

Dreams exist. Yet, they have different flavours. Sometimes we don’t dream or we think we don’t dream. Other times we remember dreams as clear as reality or have a blurred idea of them.

This Sunday morning I remembered my dream vividly. I was shopping at the mall with Andy’s son. We were in a rush because the driver was supposed to pick us up before noon. I was expecting his message as soon as he parked at the rooftop.

Meanwhile, I felt a very strong need to pee. I entered the first toilet facility available, always with the little one, plus 4 packs of purchases, coming from nowhere, and my sling purse. Suddenly, I noticed I had just entered a men’s toilet. I turned to Little Andy and said: “Finish your job and wait for me near the entrance.” I was so into peeing that I absolutely didn’t care about details.” Even so, I decided to pick the farthest cubicle available. (It is curious how I keep in my mind the smallest details about the space I had just entered…)

Because so many have the tendency to pick the last cubicle in a row, I selected the next one. As I entered, I was surprised to find a comfortable room. There was the unfamiliar masculine peeing system on the left, but the rest of the space was graceful and well decorated. It had a worktable in the middle, with an inviting chair, and the object I was looking for was at the far end of the right side. I placed the bags to the left, near the door, and started to pee. (I was really relieved afterwards for checking that my peeing is reality oriented).

I was almost done when someone knocked at the door. “Excuse me,” he said. “You are using my space.” I ejected myself from where I was and, as soon as possible, opened the door. Outside, a nice looking old man was waiting.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“I am sorry to tell you but you are not only using a men’s only toilet but also occupying my own private space.”

As he was dressed more like a general than a toilet keeper, I was inclined to trust in his official functions. Besides, he was really nice. I have an idea that he referred to the little one, waiting outside, and the driver waiting on the rooftop. I wondered how he could have so much information, excused myself and rushed out, all my thoughts in Little Andy and the unfinished pee.

We ran through the busy mall, before I noticed I had forgotten my purse and the shopping bags. I returned to the “men’s only territory” and asked LA to wait outside for me. Under the suspicious stares of a few users, I walked to where I had left my stuff. The door opened as soon as I knocked. I was expecting to find the nice general-like keeper sitting at his table. Instead, a very thin man gave a surprised scream. He was peeing on the left side and reading a couple of newspaper clips I knew he could only have after picking through my belongings. The pictures and text were about me. I excused myself and he answered: “It’s okay. I am finished here.” He didn’t seem surprised to see me standing there and he left with the clippings in his hands. As I am a very rebarbative person, I was quite surprised with my good mood.

Somehow, that mood could be related with the opportunity of finishing my peeing business. I sat and finished it. However, while I was peeing, I could perceive a different mood in the place where I was. When I stood up, I could notice that the height of the cubicles had shrunk and we could see each other waist up. But my surprise was to see so many other women occupying other cubicles. There was a dark haired man next to me, but the second space was occupied by a faceless man and two women. The general feeling was more of a party than a toilet routine.

I asked the two other women: “What are you doing here?” They didn’t reply with the obvious: “What about you?” They just said the keeper was a very nice man. I couldn’t argue against that. I had just had a pee next to his working desk…

I remember to have left under the indifferent stares of a few men walking in and out. They seemed to think: “We will get used to that.” I don’t remember what happened next. I suppose I found Little Andy and met the driver waiting for us. I have this inclination to finish whatever unfinished dream I have. And now, that I dare to talk about such enigmatic dream, I still feel lucky for waking up so clean and dry.

My sister wet her bed until her teens. Then she discovered she had a recurrent dream: she was feeling so good playing with her friends that she opted to pee in a tin she could always find nearby. Before she stopped wetting her bed, she had to learn that the tin didn’t exist at all. What do I have to learn? Not worry so much (Little Andy)? Challenge the differences (men and women)? Things don’t have to be perfect (spacious, clean and workable?) Arriving on time (driver waiting)? Are there things that I don’t feel authorized (safe) to do? (entering a men’s toilet or leaving a child alone?) Or just plainly having a pee before going to sleep?

Travelling and Cooking

One good thing about travelling is the chance to vary our food routines. We learn about different dishes, tastes and savoir faire. I found myself thinking about such things because my “chef” Tieta is trying to get a new ID card, something quite painful around here, and I was standing for her in the kitchen.

My lunch included:
. red beans soup with squash and spinach;
. tomato and lettuce salad;
. cod croquettes (pastéis de bacalhau);
. patatas bravas.

In short, it’s all about Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, places where I’ve been recently. I just wonder: if I had visited Thailand, would I be cooking tom kha instead?