First off, why don't you pick yourselves right up out of that gutter. I have no intention of being pornographic in this post, unless you call the critical use of language the new porn. His name is Bolivar, who was, of course, the great liberator of much of South America. At least of Gran Colombia, of which Ecuador was formerly a part. He was of Spanish ancestry, but unlike those of his heritage, and his contemporaries such as Thomas Jefferson, he was not a fan of slavery, which makes him a perfect name choice for my new cock.
It apparently is not the norm to name your cock here in Ecuador but I come from a long tradition of cock-naming in my family and thus I couldn't resist. He is young and growing noticeably every day. I expect he will be quite large by the time he is fully grown. You can find a selfie of him above this post and, I must admit, it was difficult to get the angle correct for the shot because Bolivar, when he is puffed up to his finest, has a tendency not to want to hold still in the frame. Plus, I am not a photographer, but I do my best with my smart-ass phone.
A hen from next door jumped the wall yesterday (not Doris, I'm afraid), and spent some quality time here in our yard tearing up the soil. Her jumping over was a gift from heaven for Bolivar who immediately set to the task that all cocks are born to do, but he is still a little too young to achieve the deed. He's got the approach down right; he sidled right up to the hen, cooed a cluck or two, but then when she was not impressed, sort of stood and scratched his head, much like other adolescents I have known, and hoped for some sign to instruct him on procedure. As the day wore on, he began to follow her around the yard, rather than the other way around, again, which was reminiscent of some relationships I have known. And, as some males are prone to do, he then acted as if it was his idea all along to go to that particular part of the yard and tried to let her know with a crow that he had been practicing all week, but alas, still in the throes of puberty, the crow turned into some sort of garbled, high-pitched warble that again, was not impressive to the hen. Humiliated, he strode over to hang with the four chicks we now have, who are indeed impressed with both his length and girth, and helped them uncover a couple of baby spiders to munch on.
I plan to have a stern talk with him about the perils and folly of early dating but I expect to encounter the same kind of stiff resistance I have in the past. There is this thing called instinct that seems to trump intelligence in some species. Ours for one. Ask my son, now 35, who wanted to record my birds and the bees lecture so he could, I was once sure, show his friends how lucky he was to have a father schooled in both sexuality and deviance. I am now not so sure that was the case and I expect any day that it will show up on YouTube at some inopportune moment, such as when I receive the Nobel Prize for Literature or I am duly honored for my lifetime achievement award by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Either way, I will be humiliated in much the same manner as Bolivar, my new lamentable cock has been. So much for language. So much for instinct. I need a stiff drink. Then I can go out and see what Bolivar is doing. Certainly not liberating. Certainly not leading in any way.
Perhaps we can hang out together. Talk about being hen-pecked and less than adequate role models for our neighborhood's youth. Dream of the old days in our chickhoods when hens knew their place and there were no walls to jump. We'll toast to the memories.
And there, in a nutshell, is the story of my cock.
Oh, do grow up, won't you?
You know who you are sitting there all Donna Tartt-like and knowing you've broken my heart. As a Writer, I am completely impressed by your abilities, but as a writer, well, I can only hate the fact that you are so good. Of course, I am talking about The Goldfinch, which I downloaded after my dear daughter and her family presented me with a gift certificate for Christmas. I read the first chapter, out loud, to my wife last night and I just know she could tell by my trembling, nearly tearful voice that I was depressed. Not by the subject matter but by the sheer weight of my envy. I don't even know yet what the book's about, I only know that I've never before seen Amsterdam described in quite that way.
I now understand the angst someone like, say, Amy Adams must feel whenever she finds herself in a competitive category with the likes of, say, Meryl Streep. I've talked to myself in the way Ms. Adams must talk to herself during these times because there is always someone like Meryl Streep for Amy, and a Donna Tartt to burst the completely imaginary literary bubble I have so fastidiously fashioned for myself and which I apparently am prone to live inside of for most of my waking hours. Of course, where Donna Tartt is concerned , I didn't go to Harvard and I don't come from Mississippi, so she already has a head start on me in those credentials. I come from a small town in southwest Washington state, which lies close to other smallish towns with Native American names and deep histories of having been inundated during ancient Mt. St. Helens eruptions. Native American names like Humptulips. I've been there, by the way. And I hereby challenge Donna Tartt to either sadly admit that she's never been to a place called Humptulips, or to break my heart even further and tell the world now that Humptulips is a name she has already crossed off her bucket list.
And so the burden of such puerile envy falls on me. I'm sure Ms. Tartt is not losing much sleep over it. I guess I shouldn't worry too much. She publishes a novel about every ten years and by that time I will have written close to ten. Notice I said I will have written, not published. But we'll see. There is a silver lining to all this. For John Irving, at least. With the appearance of the latest Donna Tartt novel comes the good news that I can back off of my envy toward Mr. Irving, which is actually more of a pained adulation rather than an envy of any sort.
But, as you've probably guessed, it's all a kind of admiration for what these folks can do with the language. Folks like Tartt and Irving and Proulx. When I read The World According to Garp, I threw the paperback in the garbage on at least three different occasions, vowing never to pick it up again. But there I was, within the hour, brushing potato skins and eggshells off the cover and diving in once more. When I read The Shipping News, I threw every manuscript I was then working on into the garbage, vowing never again to sit down in front of a typewriter and attempt to rearrange letters in a sensible manner. It was simply not possible for me to have that kind of talent, the kind of breathtaking talent that these folks have.
So maybe this is a fan letter: Dear Donna, I love the first chapter of your book. Please tell me you didn't do this to me on purpose. After all, I did read The Secret History, and liked it. But I do request just one thing. Please don't sneak up on me like this. With such skill. With such concern. With such brilliance.
I am not even close to finishing The Goldfinch and already I can't wait for your next book to come out. Let's see, I'll be 73 by then, and perhaps a little more mature.
It has come to this; trying out provocative blog titles to get you to read them. Well, you're in luck. Sadly, there are no photos of this, but it is an actual quote from someone here in Ecuador and apparently it is an event that this person has witnessed.
"This is an Indian community," says Luisito who works for us in the afternoons. "There is no tolerance for this."
He was speaking of the problem of Breaking and Entering, which seems to plague some towns where there are large foreign (read European) populations but not so much in the indigenous communities. It is apparently not tolerated and the punishment is, well, read the title. I am happy to note that I am not a Breaker and Enterer and that I live in an indigenous community.
Happy 2014. Here is my first word to the wise for the New Year: Flash floods are not for the faint of heart, nor is it wise to choose your house at the foot of a 16,000 feet extinct volcano during one. Yesterday was rather raineous; curtains and curtains of the stuff fell on our house, god's way of showing us where the problems with the roof are. And also, which drains are or not working. The answer is none of the drains is working. Except the one in the kitchen where, apparently, the water flooded in during the night, drained out, and left a fine film of dried dirt on the floor. And the caida ,or incline, outside the dining room door does not keep the water from draining in because the caida was placed backwards in its original form, much like a the end of a ski jump course where the run tilts upward dramatically so the jumper can get a good lift. What we get with our dining room problem is a good wade.
Oh, and another thing. I may have to stop doing this blog. It seems that every time I mention a problem (I'm thinking of the next-door pigs now) something ominous occurs. Recently, I discussed my problems in 2010 with kidney stones. And guess what happened to me during this torrential downpour yesterday? If you guessed I was blessed with a kidney stone, well, you already know you're right. There are no words to describe the joy in my discovery that my kidney stones seem to travel well, across continents and time apparently. I am not particularly impressed with this talent.
Also, buck up, Jeff Bezos (Amazon's founder), who was recently airlifted by an Ecuadorian Navy helicopter from the Galapagos because he was stricken by a kidney stone on New Year's Day. From all reports it was one stone. One. And he gets international attention. I have been known to produce an assembly line of ten stones in a row...but enough about that. I at least want an Amazon gift card for my trouble and humiliation. Maybe they should strip Mr. Bezos naked and douse him with water and see what he thinks about that.
So, it seems that I have broken some law, or entered some law, because in spite of my admirable track record where theft is concerned(Dennis, enough already about the chicken ranch incident), I have still been stripped naked (figuratively speaking, and oh what a figure it is), and doused with water. So, I ask Luisito when the rainy season stops around here so I can get on with a drier life and all he does is smile and say:
"Eduardito, here in Ecuador, every season is the rainy season."