Monday, February 29, 2016

Dog Shit On My Shoe

Not that it hasn't happened before.

Not that I'm keeping score. But I notice these things. Too late in this case, of course, because no one I know likes to get dog shit on their shoes, and no one I know feels neutral about it. Still.

There are worse things. Like that time.

Like that time I stepped behind a tree in a brushy area behind South Sound Mall in Lacey, WA and bled my lizard. And ended up stepping in a pile of soft stuff. Which had the distinctive odor. Of human. Excrement. Human excrement. Which has a smell. Which has a distinct smell. Which you know too well, same as me.

And wiping my foot on the grass, well. No. And washing the sole of my shoe, no either. Nor bleach, nor washing the sole again and bleaching again, no not nothing helped. So those shoes went out. Old anyway. Mostly worn out but they fit well but they had to go out so they did. Because of the smell, which dog shit has too, but one all its own.

And now it's on my shoe. Same foot too — the right.

Yeah, right. Right after my room was cleaned, which happens Saturdays. Right after. I came back and the maid had barely cleared the door, maybe by five minutes and then I walked in with dog shit on my shoe, and didn't notice it until the next morning when it was still soft and still strongly identified itself by smell. If you got close enough to the bottom of the shoe, which I did then, hunting for that thing that was off and it was my shoe which had a wad of dog shit under it, clay-like, hanging tight.

So by this morning it was dry and I held the shoe out the window and dug out the goo the poo with a bolt I found and then I didn't have dog shit on my shoe any more but dog shit residue crumbling off bits at a time across my white tile floor, the stairs, the hallways, and not enough out on the street or along the grass where I deliberately walked deliberately after stepping in what puddles remained of last night's rains.

Not enough because I can still see where the whole wad wedged in, where it clung on, where it hung, where it contaminated my shoe. The outline is still there. Nothing like walking on wet sand for a couple of miles to clean and reinvigorate the sole, and now when I really need it I have none, no sand, no miles of it, not wet either, at all. Just grassy strips here and there dotted with more dog shit and streetside side walks dropped on by dogs who couldn't make it to the grass by the river or who don't care to go there.

Dog shit. No longer the dog's, now mine. Wonderful.

And one day I stepped in some of my own, two days after I left it on the ground, and came back to the same campsite and decided to look for it so I wouldn't step in it and then stepped in it while looking for it. But that was different. No less dismaying, no. Not that. I wasn't really truly sure what that super-viscously dense goo was and checked my shoe by nose and still wasn't sure for a while, but what else could it be? That stuff.

That stuff that looked like shit and was about where I'd left it but smelled of salmon loaf gone very seriously delinquent. In case that's interesting at all, which it isn't, wasn't really because I still had shit on my shoe no matter what and identifying it as shit still meant that it was shit, and it was still on my shoe.

And now it's mine again, this shit that some dog left for me in paradise. And the best plan that I can come up with is the same as always: Do what you can. Only I don't know what that might be.

Maybe I'll just try waiting it out. The maid will be back in five more days. She might know what to do. If anyone.

I wonder how one asks about these things, if at all.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


It's different here. I think I can say that.

It's different here. In a lot of ways. Or maybe I'm a slow learner. Maybe I haven't been noticing.

Naw — it's different here. In the last six months I've seen more people without legs or with the wrong number of functioning legs than ever. There must be a story there. Lots of stories, most of which we, having heard them, I bet, would want to unhear, though you wonder.

Like the guy who drove past on a scooter with a pair of crutches in a holster, the kind of holster you see in movies about the Old West, where both the long-shooting good guys and the equally-talented and equipped bad guys carry a horse-top rifle. In one of those holsters attached to the saddle.

But he wasn't out on his way to a play-fight or a crutch race I'm guessing, this guy on the scooter, because he had only the one leg with him. I'm guessing though, about his intentions, but despite that he still had only one definite leg. Which means that the other one had gone its own way sometime in the past. Which is a thing I myself think about every now and then, because around here it's too easy to slide into a situation where you come out the other side with fewer legs than you started with.

Due to how things work, or maybe we must say not. Due to how things not work.

Crossing the street is a negotiation, but a different kind of negotiation than in the U.S. In the U.S., you come to a corner and want to cross, but if you stand too close to the street, one lane of traffic sometimes stops politely while traffic going the other direction in the other lane keeps moving, so what do you do? That's one thing,

And sometimes, you come to a corner and want to cross, and there is only one car coming forever, and it stops because you are obviously waiting, and you feel like a dick, like you have to cross right there and then even though you were hoping the car would keep going, so then you could cross with no vehicles in sight for miles and miles, and do it at your own easy pace, but you can't. Because this one driver, apparently, based on all the visible evidence, the last driver on earth, has stopped, so you have to run across the street in front of that person's car because it is stopped and the driver is waiting for you to do your business and cross the damn street and get the damn hell out of the way, and everyone else in the car is too. So you run.

Or everyone stops — everyone — all of them, all four lanes or six lanes of traffic, for some reason. Oh, right, the reason being to let you cross while a hundred or so people wait with their engines running, and then the rest is up to you. This is worse. Much worse. Now you really have to perform, and flawlessly. Or else. Or else you antagonize everyone. Which is about the time you wish you could do backflips and kick your legs way up and dance across the street in a clown suit while juggling guinea pigs, for the sake of all those tons of stationary vehicles, and their drivers, and the passengers of the drivers. All waiting for you. While you just walk in an ordinary and uninteresting way. Across the street.

But that's there and not here. Here it's different. I'm still not sure.

I'm sure that it's different here, but not so sure how it works yet, exactly, with infinite precision. This is only my third winter here. After all.

I'm thinking maybe it's like people are used to living in a small village among sheep or goats or chickens, and all those sheep or goats or chickens have jobs and families and obligations of their own, and are all out on the streets all day, going about their respective businesses. And when those people who are used to living in a small village and walking among busy sheep or goats or chickens come to the big city, they carry on.

And here, in the big city, the sheep and goats and chickens are taxis and buses and vans and they all have steel teeth to bite you with. To bite your legs with. Off. To bite them off.

But people don't know that, quite. The pedestrians. So they drift through moving traffic as wind through rushes, seemingly oblivious, and mostly it works. Whole families. Families. Crossing streets, often in the middle of blocks, completely carefree with not so much as a single simple glance toward dozens of vehicles and their hundreds of tons coming along. Coming along at them, the people, the families, mother, father, little tiny children, and a baby or two being carried, all drifting across the street like wisps of smoke and somehow, in my experience, which I am thankful for, making it safely. With all their legs.

And yesterday, to illustrate another point, two men. Toward evening, crossing Calle Mariscal Lamar, against the red light, were honked by a taxi. Honked upon. Honked at. And the first man continued, and mounted the far curb, safe. But the second man, the trailing one stopped. In the street. In front of the taxi, and looked at it as the taxi swerved around him, continuing without slowing, and remained standing, the man, after the taxi passed, and he, the man, then turned and watched the taxi recede, still standing in the street as the rest of the city's traffic advanced on him, until he was good and goddam well done looking, whereupon he resumed walking and then mounted the curb, rejoined his companion, and proceeded on his original course. All legs present and accounted for.

While I stood Mr. Careful Cautious atop said curb in relative safety and watched it all until the traffic light changed from red to green and then and only then decided to think about crossing the street. Which is one way you can tell the gringos from those who are likely to lose some of their legs sooner than the rest of us. Because traffic here does not yield or slow, and often seems to accelerate when feet hit the street. Gringo Feet. Mine anyway. Definitely mine.

And though I may yet join the leg-lacking through ineptness or misapprehension of one or more subtle cultural cues, it is somewhat comforting to know that the first rule of traffic here is that if you have legs, and are using them to get around with, then it's up to you, all up to you, yourself, alone, to look after them, and no one will stop or slow or yield at all, not a bit.

To everyone else you're no more precious or interesting than a bug splat. So look sharp there and step lively then. Or else, maybe.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Secret Cat Secrets

I read that they used to burn cats here, for fun, in the main public park.

Well, they used to do a lot of things in a lot of places, and not just with cats. Sometimes, in some place, they burned people, not so much for fun but to feel good about keeping things orderly by suppressing evil. People are like that, which is why I don't trust many of them, but I'd be more willing to trust someone who burned witches than someone who burned cats.

Or do I have that backward? I'm not sure any more, which is how it gets when you grow older.

Being young, when you're young, when everyone you know is young and anyone who matters is young, then things are much clearer. Things are obvious, and right is not wrong, and wrong is definitely wrong. And so, you might burn cats or your neighbors, and go home feeling happy about it, and only much later realize the regret, when it is decades past the point that you can reconsider.

Cats think for themselves and come home dragging their own opinions, which are often at odds with the opinions of those who want to dress them in cute outfits, let alone those with a fulsome supply of matches and not enough to do, because cats have to look out for themselves.

Cats are small mostly solitary animals. Housecats are. Bobcats and cougars are different — not sociable, not domesticable. Housecats are like your grumpy uncle Ed who huffs and snorts a lot and seems to disapprove of everything but always seems to come around needing a little company, and maybe he's the one who leaves you $600,000 and a note saying thanks for being there, and then you wonder if you really know what's going on.

Cats are small. They know it, and humans are gigantic in comparison. They know that too, and don't want to get stepped on, so they hang back until they feel sure that you're safe to be around. And they aren't pack animals, so if you want a relationship with a cat, it's a one-on-one deal. You are judged on your performance, not on your species. You have to do more than show up and throw an occasional stick across the lawn.

And another thing — a cat has to be socialized as a kitten, or else you'll never see it, let alone be become its buddy. If a kitten isn't handled daily during its first two months, then it will be wild forever, and nothing you or anyone else can do will make any difference at all. So cats are not dogs. They have to learn while young that humans are OK, and then they have to learn as adults that a particular human might be OK. It takes work. On your part.

Which has something do I guess with why I don't see many cats around here. They have places to hide, and they do.

There are no yards or fences here to sit in or on. No porches. There are no wild brushy spots between houses. There is nothing like a park here, as North Americans know parks. Here, this city (and judging from photos, most Latin American cities) are piles of stone and concrete and slabs of pavement all jumbled. These are not great areas for cats to lounge in, so they don't get out and lounge.

A cat here might have a secret hidey-hole in a wall that it can crawl into and peek through, or a chink elsewhere that serves as a spy-hole, or it might have a balcony to lounge on, above you, above traffic, above danger, but not much else.

The action here is inside. The action here is on the inside of city blocks and not the outside. Inside homes. City blocks here are hollow. Houses are facades with whole worlds behind them, hidden. Gardens are inside, as are the trees and shrubs and what safety there is.

That's where the cats stay, and where life happens, and why I don't get to see too many of my little buddies. Which leaves me a bit lonesome then. My loss.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Para-Whacko Tink Thank

Hi, folks.

My name is Loron Wight and I'm a blob of spiritual energy just like you. Of course these days I'm getting a little older, and a little closer every day to blob and a little farther away from the ideals of spiritual and being energetic, but let's not dwell on the obvious, or the measurable, or the provable.

Reality, you know — reality can get tedious, which is why I've formed a group. Nice word that. Group.

Did you know that group was originally an art criticism term meaning "an assemblage of figures or objects forming a harmonious whole in a painting or design"? Pretty fancy, right?

But dig a little deeper and you find that it originally had a Proto-Germanic origin. Specifically kruppaz, meaning a "round mass or lump". When you think of it that way you start getting a warm feeling all over, even running down your legs and into your socks at times.

Count on the Germans whenever you need a round mass or soft, runny lump of something. They've always got a good word handy for any possible distortion of time or space. Ever had German food? Then you know what to call it.

But so. Right now? Let's talk.

I need to fill my tank. I'm starting to run dangerously low on that spiritual energy I think, so what could be better than getting together and having our own Parapsycological Think Tank to give us all a good goose? Sounds impressive, right? I like impressive-sounding stuff. Stuff that has that ring. I like saying stuff too. Stuff and such. Stuffing. Packing it away. Which reminds me that it's time I should be getting hungry again, so I may have to duck and run. I hate missing my lunch. Which is why I usually have three a day. Got to keep the old tank full. Tank.

Another reminder about those ever-useful Germans again.

But food isn't everything. Or tanks. Almost but not quite.

There's more to life than eating and excreting and blowing things up, hard as that may be to grasp, and I do dearly love my bacteria — all those lovely intestinal flora (plus the occasional wiggly fauna specimens that show up — possibly due to my all-raw-food diet).

So what are you curious about, me? Something else?

We got your meditations, your out-of-body experiences, your reincarnation, your pyramids (whether or not you got any grain to store — wink-wink), your energy healing, your channeling, your dowsing, your spirit guides, angels, talking with animals, and that reliable old chestnut, astrology. Take your pick — I'm up for any and all of it, as long as it's part of the One Tru Way™.

And since this is Cuenca, which is in Ecuador, which is part of Latin America for crissakes it's all exotic and sorta wild westy and all that, we got plenty more to choose from, like where to buy coffee. Ever try to find ground coffee around here? Pretty scarce. I think there's a conspiracy. Let's talk about it. Maybe there's somebody with UFO evidence that would explain why I can't find any decent coffee here. I know it's out there.

Plus all kinds of other stuff.

  • How to cross the street — it's crazee here!
  • How to store your spirit energy (I can't find any damn ziplock bags — anywhere).
  • How to befriend and control flies.
  • Defeat loneliness by having more friends (some friends, at least one friend, etc.)
  • Get bread to rise and bake itself via spiritual input alone.
  • Win the lottery.
  • Get shoes repaired.
  • Levitate navel lint.
  • Turn demons into household help (save money — it's like having a free maid who works like hell).
  • Lose weight while eating.
  • Find a decent masseuse who can handle ectoplasm without tearing it for under $5.
  • Find a responsible ectoplasm walker (where, oh where).
  • Dog psychotherapists? Anywhere? (Haven't found one yet.)
  • Communicate with your gut bacteria via feces talks.

I'm up for anything. Professionals invited.

Post Script...

I myself have over 70 genuine degrees from prestigious institutions around the world. All printed on real Naugahyde.

Like (to name only a few):

  • Academy of Natural Therapies, formerly in Hawaii until closed by court order.
  • Bircham International University a.k.a. Oxford International University of Pipewrench, Ohio.
  • Eastern Caribbean University of St. Kitts, Semi-Virgin Islands.
  • Geo-Metaphysical Institute of New York, New York (New York).
  • Mahila Gram Vidyapith of Prayag, Allahabad, India &/or Pakkestan.
  • Patriot Bible University and Gun Shop of the Internet. Nan Pandle, Okieland.
  • Pebbles University of Somewhere, Nigeria.
  • Si Tanka University of Eagle Butt, New Mexico.
  • Trafalgar Distance Learning Institute of Red Deer, Alberta.
  • University of Bums on Seats. Pascagoula, Mississippi.
  • Valley University. Hilltop, Nova Scotia.
  • Wisconsin International University of Florida, Ghana.
  • Yorker International University of Italy, South Dakota.

Or contact me directly at: Da Man!