Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Travels with Florence

Flo says she only drives erratically when I’m in the car with her because I make her nervous with my nervousness. I guess I’m not supposed to yell “stop!” as she nearly runs through a red light at a busy Hermosillo intersection. Or point out the speedbump (tope) she’s heading for at full speed. Maybe I shouldn’t mention that she’s driving in the wrong lane as though she’s in England. I’d feel better if she didn’t tailgate. To top it off she’s got this little problem with clogged carotid arteries so I’m a little worried about blood flow to her brain.

Florence has lived in Mexico for about eight years and the only Spanish words she kinda knows are buenos dias. I cut her some slack on this lack because she has a hard enough time with English. Still, she could try just a little. However, it’s amazing how much she accomplishes. I’ve seen her in action. She keeps going on and on in English until the poor worker or clerk cries tio and chases down someone who speaks English. Because I know a few more words than she does, I’m given the job of translator which is a joke. She always has me asking for directions. I say “Flo, I know how to ask where something is but I won’t understand the answer.” Doesn’t matter; she makes me ask anyway. (Will I ever sort out derecha (right) and derecho (straight)?) And Mexicans are so nice that even if they don’t know where something is they’ll make up directions so as not to disappoint.

Yesterday we made a stop at the dentist office in Calle Doce on our way back from Hermosillo. Her regular dentist’s office was closed so we went to the one next to the Santa Fe market.

The dentist spoke almost no English although he could say “pull out” as in “pull out teeth” so guess who had to convey what Flo wanted and what the dentist suggested? Moi. Could Florence need something simple like a cleaning, filling or crown? Hell no. Thank God I know the words for bridge, plate, pain. That got us pretty far. And the dentist was nice enough to speak really slowly except he kept his mask on which added to the challenge. Every time he said a word I understood, I’d repeat it in English for Flo’s benefit. “Una pregunta” he’d say and I’d say “a question.” I’d catch dormir and dolor and I’d say sleep and pain. Jesus, talk about painful. Finally a patient came in so the dentist wrote down an estimate for the work (incredibly cheap – barato) and we vamanosed out of there.

In the car Florence said, “Yeah he was nice but I’d never go to him. His office was too dirty.”

“Then why didn’t we turn around and leave? Why’d you put me through all that?”

She just shrugged. All I could say was “I need a beer” which is how most of my travels with Florence end.

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