Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Love at 83 - Part 2

[Please read Part 1 first!]

Oh, yes. I remember now. That girl I’m in love with, the little Mexican one. No. I beg your pardon. Honduran, as in from Honduras. Tegucigalpa, to be exact. And don’t think it didn’t take me a good couple of weeks to memorize that particular mouthful. The Goosey Gulper is how I remember it. I know that doesn’t make a damned bit of sense, but neither does 80 percent of the American public thinking President What’s-His-Name is a Muslim. People didn’t used to be so stupid when I lived out in the world, where everything isn’t beige, like in this goddamn hellhole.

There. I’ve said it. Hellhole. It’s reasonably clean, I suppose, and I can imagine that less expensive places probably smell worse, but I can tell you that after a month or two surrounded by all this beigeness, by all the artificial flowers and pleasant music and taped birdsong and tasteless, texture-less beige food, those of us who have any hair left are darned near pulling it out by the handful.

Obama. President Obama. Not a Muslim. Not really a Christian either, I don't think, but not a Muslim, for crying out loud.

Three weeks in here and I’d figured out I had two choices. I could go gentle into that good night — that is, let all the beige and artificial flowers and pleasant music sedate me into not knowing for sure if I was alive or dead — or make the choice to live. And nothing says you’re alive so much, at least if you’re a fellow, as wanting to shoot a female full of sperm. I saw on the National Geographic channel just the other night that nothing makes clearer to a zoo that a pair of animals is adapting well than their conceiving offspring.

Deciding that I’d much rather die while screwing at 82 than of boredom at 87 or 88 was the easy part. The much harder part was figuring out whom to screw. I could have had any of the female inmates in a heartbeat — after 75, the gals outnumber the fellows by about eight to one — but the sad fact is that I could picture it feeling like screwing my grandmother. I may actually be older than a lot of them, and I might have cataracts, but when I look at them, it’s through the eyes of the 27-year-old version of myself. I don’t want someone of my generation. I want that actress — you know, the one with the lips.

I began looking at the help in a new way — first, of course, at the few English speakers, because I thought a lot of things would be easier with them. After dinner one night, I worked up the nerve to ask one of the little waitresses if she thought we should go into the darkroom and see what developed. I guess that in this era of digital photography it was stupid of me to imagine she’d have any idea what I meant, and she didn’t, so I tried asking instead if she’d consider a roll in the hay. As she put two and two together, a look of horror that ought to have been on a movie poster set up camp on her face. She shrieked, “Eww!” and dropped her armful of plates. She looked, as she scrambled for the kitchen, as though she might upchuck.

I thought maybe I’d better stick with immigrants, who were probably more likely to be impressed by my having a few bucks in my wallet — not that I was very often able to remember where I kept it hidden. (Angelina Jolie, by the way. The lips.) But of course I’m speaking metaphorically. I did indeed misplace everything, but I had no need of a wallet in Golden Years, and didn’t carry one. What I had was a nice chunk of change in the bank.

In any event, I asked a laundress, Rosa — whose English wasn’t sensational, but a whole lot better than my Spanish — if she’d be my translator. I told her what my intentions were, and I think her feathers might have been a little bit ruffled by the fact that I had no designs on her, but come on now; she was as wide as high. She asked how much I had in mind to pay. I guess the days of anybody doing anything out of the goodness of her heart are long gone.

It occurred to me that even immigrant girls might respond better to a more subtle approach than I’d used on the little white waitress, so what I had Rosa ask the first two she approached was if they wanted to go out after work some evening to grab a bite. Rosa didn’t understand “grab a bite” at first, and seemed to think I had mayhem in mind.

To spare myself embarrassment, I asked Rosa to talk to the girls when I wasn’t around. One of the first two had a boyfriend back down in Metlatonoc, and the other dated only Catholics as devout as she, and I haven’t been to confession since the early ‘70s. Back to the drawing board.

1 comment:

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