far too much writing, far too many photos

The week in review:

Monday: Hot, humid. Had a delivery of coal scheduled, officially signaling the start of prep. for the coming cold season. The coal company spaced, did a no-show, resulting in a morning of unexpected tranquility. I called, they apologized, we rescheduled. Mowed lawn, practiced piano, then hit the couch, finished up H.P. and The Half-Blood blahblahblah.

Tuesday: Hot, humid. Heard a song I hadn’t thought about in years, remembered a day back in college when a female friend mentioned how much she loved that very tune. Out of nowhere, got the impulse to call her. Tracked her down on the ‘net, found she’s the producing director of this outfit. Called, got through, found myself talking to her for the first time in years. And years. She didn’t remember me. (Boy, was that fun.) She was game, though — we blabbed, she got that we shared plenty of college memories. Don’t know if she ever actually figured out who the hell I was. Nice person, though. Then called my best buddy at his job — someone else I know from university — told him about my adventure with our old schoolmate. He remembered who I was, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Mowed lawn. Went to piano lesson. Went to gym, did sweaty, manly things.

Wednesday: Heat and humidity gave way overnight, the morning brought a classically beautiful Vermont summer day. Spectacular.

Meanwhile: coal delivery. This time they remembered, showed up with five tons of fossil fuel. The most I’d ever ordered in the past was three tons — five turns out to be a genuine mountain of black rocks. Pulled on work clothes and big rubber boots, grabbed a shovel, helped transfer all five tons to its new home in the garage.

Practiced piano. Did yard work.

When the bedside lamp went out that night, the moon hung low in the sky, looking enormous, pale light flooding the room. So bright it poured right through the window curtains, Luna looking kind of like a nocturnal version of the sun symbol from New Mexico’s license plates.

Thursday: Another killer Vermont summer day. After a night of deep, satisfying sleep, spent the morning wandering about drowsily. Never achieved full consciousness, never got completely into gear. Managed to practice piano, then blew off the gym, resigning myself to wusshood for the day. Once again, the moon kept my bedroom alight until well into the wee hours.

Friday: Beautiful. Piano. Gym. Yada yada yada. One of the big developments in my little summertime world has been the locating a group of Latinos in Burlington, an hour from here, who meet up every Friday evening for a couple of hours of social blabber in Spanish. South Americans, mostly, with a shifting group of northern hemisphere honkies looking for a Spanish fix or trying to work on their Castellano. I’ve been the coordinator of a similar group (honkies only, pretty much) in Montpelier for the last couple of years, one slowly croaking from lack of interest on the part of just about everyone but me. I’ve found myself waiting alone for someone else to show up one too many times, the discovery of the deal in Burlington happened right on time.

An interesting bunch. There’s a couple from Chile, who apparently spend the warm season here, migrating to a home in the southern hemisphere when Vermont’s long winter elbows its way in. There’s a friendly, portly Columbian named Juan Carlos. There’s Luis from, I think, Peru, skin color and features indicating a lot of indigenous blood running through his veins. There’s a friendly, chatty, ponytail-sporting Argentinian named Hugo, who lived in Buenos Aires’ city center during the many years of dictatorship and tumult, resulting in plentiful stories to tell.

I keep forgetting that much of the Latin world has a tendency to take appointment times as nothing more than vague reference points. Meaning — me being generally punctual — I’m often the first to show. Not that I’m trying to be. I just keep forgetting. In Spain, I eventually relax, begin showing later and later to events/meet-ups. And still often wind up waiting until the rest show.

I was second on the scene on Friday. Drinks got bought, tables got appropriated. Others trickled in, including a couple of Argentinians I’d never met before — one an attractively frowsy, high energy woman named Constancia who teaches Spanish around Montpelier, the other a guy with an accent so thick that I found myself understanding him less and less, apologizing and asking him to repeat things. Over and over and over. I hate that. Looked like he did, too.

Some locals I’d never met before showed, including one of Constancia’s pupils, a 30ish woman who spoke little Spanish, whose expression grew increasingly desperate as the evening wore on. Around the 7 o’clock mark, individuals began disappearing — literally just vanishing, leaving without warning or fanfare. Including Constancia. When her student realized her teacher had abandoned her, she wasted no more time suffering, practically sprinted out the door back to the English-speaking world.

I left as a high-intensity sunset created fireworks in the western sky, hit the interstate as the light show waned and nighttime edged its way in. Got home just before ten, crickets singing in the grass around the house, the moon peeking up over the hills, the temperature falling in autumnal fashion.

A good week, all in all.

Three days from now I head up to Montreal to rendezvous with a friend or two, explore the city, eat some good food. Expect to hear about it.

Madrid, te echo de menos.

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