Thursday, March 20, 2014

100 Books: Spring Break in Cuba, March 2014

Subtitle: Almost to Book #30

I really thought I would read 5 books this Spring Break. I had the time and space to plow through a book a day, easily.

But I didn't because I went to Cuba, or at least pretended to go to Cuba and curled up with the news and a fantastic book that I will be writing about separately.


So first of all, I drove down to South Florida in a rented Kia Soul and I love-hated it.

 I thought the mileage would be great.
It was not.

I thought I would have XM. I
 did not.

Instead, for the first time in my life I plugged my iphone into a car and the two became one.
 I was not longer in a car, I was driving a speaker. A cool speaker I didn't have to share with any kids, much less any kids who were asking for skittles and criticizing my song choices. Freedom.

I thought people would respect the Kia because it's kinda cute and perky like a puppy.
They did not.  I felt bullied by bigger cars. This could me my own issue and not a Kia thing, I don't know.

Overall rating: Not bad for a big rolling speaker, but not good enough to buy.

Anyway, I arrived in South Florida with too much to do, so much to write, behind on this that and the other.

I find peace in the first pages of book #30 and I can't put it down but I can't read it fast.

 Each word slows me, holds me locked with serious eye contact.  I read until I can't stand it anymore and fall asleep holding the book with the light on.

The next morning my Mom and Abuelo pick me up for breakfast.

He doesn't feel well, he's already come from an appointment.

This hurts and that hurts and this is numb, and I can't tell you which specific curandera spell I whispered over his head while he sat in front of me in the car but soon enough the three of us were at Denny's eating eggs and giggling.

Too bad we couldn't go to Cuba this year, I say to my Mom, completely in jest.

The food here is better. Nothing I had in my trips to Cuba compared to McDonalds, much less a Grand Slam breakfast with extra grits.

My Mom and I haven't spent much time together since our trip last March, and these stolen minutes are delicious.

As you might know us to do, we whisper to each other, surveying (judging?) the room from where we sat, shoulder to shoulder both facing Abuelo.

Already we are beyond distracted by a twenty something woman sitting in a MOST unflattering position AND eating some crazy sizzling  breakfast. Sizzling is an afternoon sport, not for quiet mornings, and I resented her sizzle.

I pass this on to my mom and she laughs and we get giddier and  look around for more people to judge.

Look at THAT! Mom says and I stare vaguely past my Abuelo who thinks I'm looking at him and pauses from his egg and ham sandwich to blow me a kiss. Awesome.  I take one of his fries. Love.

I don't see it, I say to Mom.

I just see people lined up in the lobby facing hopefully into a Denny's  that has no open tables.

In the floofy... swoossshy....dangly... she says I see it and I laugh so hard I almost bang my head on the table.  This is VERY bad manners.

 I could NEVER have done this in Tallahassee but something about being here in Cuba (or at least pretending to be in Cuba) gives me license to be free.

This darling lady is wearing a couture piece so glamorous she should be wearing it to go shopping at a poshy-posh boutique that sells $10,000 purses to women, some of whom give a secret handshake to bribe salespeople to put them on the LIST to buy the $15,000 bags.

The lady had on a piece of clothing that had flowy and swooshy partts combined with  a zing and sparkle and that's all I have to say about that because Mom and I are just happy to be together and giggling  at Denny's (or in Cuba? or both?).

The bill comes, we take Abuelo back to his apartment at the asylum.

 Just kidding, it isn't an asylum, that's just what he calls it.

 He acts like living there is being caged. In truth, it isn't the apartment, it's not having a car anymore that keeps him down.

But he's in no place to drive places by himself and get up and down and be OK. So he blames the asylum and meets nice ladies. What a life.

Mom fixes Abuelo a lunch while he takes me to meet a gorgeous glamorous ladyfriend who lives on another floor in the asylum.

Alone in the elevator Abuelo  turns to me and says "You are a history professor and a writer. You are my granddaughter from Tallahassee." 

I agree, suppressing my instinct to challenge him and say that I'm someone else to lighten things up.

He isn't light. This is a big deal.

I can see why.

His ladyfriend is a tiny gorgeous blonde whose apartment has crystal chandelier and a delightful sofa surrounded by art and plants.

I don't know why I was expecting a crazy cat lady, and I hope I didn't blurt that out, but really I can't remember because it went by so fast.

She's lovely. Her place is lovely.  But she wasn't really expecting us and she's really in a red robe so it's better that we keep moving and let her be.

I go back up the elevator with Abuelo to his room where he has me call out potential lottery winning combinations.

 This is sooooo much harder than you could imagine. I can't just shout out random numbers, I'm too OCD. I need dates, I need letters turned to numbers. I need addresses. My universe makes sense. I don't play the lotto but if I did, I know I would be a quick-pick kind of woman because my brain is too useful to spend so much energy on whether the numbers 6 and 12 go together or should be separated on different lotto tickets.

Its been a long day for him.

 I whisper another curandera spell in his ear and he's sleepy.

 We will see him later or tomorrow. For now we need to go do this and that.

So much to do in Cuba, you know?

Mom takes me to the Seawatch Restaurant on the beach just at the end of lunch rush.

We  take a table outside. It's colder than it should be, and windier than what would feel nice, but I figure that if we are in  Cuba we need to just make due and I shouldn't complain.

Since Mom lives "in reality" she left me at the table and went to her car to get jackets. She's awesome like that.

The waiter brings us menus and we giggle and tell him we are in Cuba.
We change his name to Carmen.

He looks quite happy to be part of our game and brings us wine.
Before the anything arrive we take a few beach-ish selfies together. We could be anywhere there is wind and water and love.  I upload the best pictures to Facebook into an album something like "Cuba 2014."

Like after like after like bling up on our phones as people who love us wish us well, and Mom slaps my arm and says we are NOT in Cuba.  I laugh. I know.

The rest of the day unfolds happily, quickly and around dark I tuck myself back into the too-white, too-sharp but yet so deliciously white and sharp hotel sheets with book #30.  It's so good, so powerful, so important that I slow myself down, hoping to stay in this story forever.