Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dim Bulbs

Twenty watt thinking.

Funny thing.

The guy with the nice-looking apartment was remodeling, and then there was this carnival holiday thingy, and he said he'd probably get back to me by Wednesday of last week when he had it all pulled together.

And he didn't, so I wrote off one more place.

And then Monday, after I had to clear out of my room and go do something while they cleaned it, and then had lunch and goofed off, I found out that this same guy had sent me an email saying I could come over and see the place. And by then, when I saw the email, it was hours and hours later.

Sure, of course.

So I emailed him, asking for the address, and said I'd call Tuesday. Assuming I could figure out how to use the phone I had bought.

There was no return email from him, and when I called Tuesday he said that the apartment was "not available". I.e., he'd rented it. Probably to the first person who came by and said "Me want."

More batsnit craziness. I hope it isn't contagious.

I have an appointment for Friday, through a realtor, for a $250 apartment, which is located somewhere. Out there. Nobody wants to say anything around here, even if the question is only which part of town we're talking about.

No. Highly secret. Can't say. Wait until you see it. Is great, this place. Just wait.

I tried to get in earlier than Friday, given my experiences with people and their rentals appearing and then suddenly vanishing, leaving no trace, only a faint sour taste in the soul, but he said Friday was the day, and I would be the only prospective tenant there, and could take as much time as I needed with the owner, etc., and so on.

So. Whatever.

On the other hand, Peter, the 22-year-old with a three-bedroom, three-bathroom place, just emailed me and said I can move in there on March 4th, or not, depending on when the others leave. This is the three-bedroom, three-bathroom place with one bathroom in the living room, and the third bedroom inside the second one.

I'll have to draw a picture sometime.

As soon as I get new crayons.

So anyhow, I bought drugs today.

Getting extremely low on the prescription medication that I brought with me, I finally gimped it over to one of the larger pharmacies, hoping they'd have most everything.

Kinda.

Two clerks eyeballed the data sheet I gave them. One clerk poked at the computer and finally said "Nope. No such thing here." (It's more exciting in Spanish.)

And at that moment the other clerk emerged from the shelves with a bottle of 100 tablets of the right stuff, all sealed and tidy and clean and safely on the correct side of expiration date.

I had my passport, and could have supplied a copy of the prescription, but they just wanted money. Not even a note from my mother. The total was $17.20, and then I was out of there, slick as snot on a doorknob.

No need to hunt for a doctor who isn't retired and is still taking new patients, explain why I don't have insurance, offer to pay cash, stand there looking at confused faces, wait for an appointment, explain that I've got a really mild case of you-know-what, and have been taking the absolute minimum of this medication since 1975, have never had any side effects, hoping to get by without a bunch of tests involving needles and, in far corners of the country, laboratories I've never heard of which will send me oddball bills for months on end.

No, not like that. Here you tell them what you want, they set it out, you pay, and if you die alone on the floor at home because of what you just bought, that's your own fault.

I was at this same pharmacy a few weeks ago, unsuccessfully trying one weekend to score some baking soda, which is a controlled substance here, but it wasn't until today that I noticed the security guard. Maybe he's off on Saturdays. But he was there today. He wasn't carrying a shotgun though, so he can't be very good.

Every time I walk out the entrance of my hostal I pass a security guard at the bank next door. He stands there all day, holding a 12-gauge, pistol-grip shotgun. There are lots of these guys around. All over. Standing all day, watching, shifting their guns from hand to hand, wearing navy blue armor, navy blue baseball caps, navy blue pants - the whole blue thing.

The bank where I get cash has at least three on duty all day. Maybe four. I think it's four. But that's a sort of drive-in bank with its own parking lot, so I guess they would need more firepower to cover the acreage.

I bought a light bulb today too. (There is actually a story here, but I'll skip that part for now. You know, suspense and all - wait for it, 'K?) I bought the bulb at a sort of all-in-one, jumbled-up grocery and department store. It's kind of a fun place with a little of everything piled every whichway, but even they also have at least two armed guards out front all the time. Yes, with shotguns.

Well, one has a shotgun. For sure.

If this was a typical Target store, and Target stores really liked the idea of armed guards, there would be half a dozen out front, and at least as many inside. Just so you get the idea.

Firepower.

Inside this store, staff not driving cash registers walk around and look at people. No one has ever asked if they could help me with anything (which is OK for me, for now, since I'm essentially a mobile idiot). They only walk around and watch what's going on.

Which is nothing.

And I don't ever want to be there when anything is going on.

So, right now.

I have to study Spanish so Señora T. won't be upset. She's my Spanish teacher. I'm not sure if she cares whether I study or not, but if I don't she'll have nothing to do but to sit there and stare at me, which could trigger an emergency call to the security guards, and we don't want that.

Things could be worse but I don't want to know how.

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