Fishboy, Walking, and Old People Friends

Aberdeen Bird - Brazil

February 24, 2016

The boy who saved a fish

Today I walked to the beach alone.  Work was cancelled.  I walked the whole length of the beach- I’m not sure if there were less people because the tourist season is coming to an end or because it was the beginning of a storm.  Probably both.  I dunno, I love storms, not in the cheesy cliche way, but maybe in that way, I just don’t like to think of myself as being cliche.  I like when you can feel the electricity in the air and there’s a ton of wind and rain pelts your face and your hair is splayed in every direction and people are afraid of thunder and lightening but you just sit and relish in the awesomeness.  Yea, probably in the cheesy way.  But to continue, as I was walking a boy carrying a surfboard seemed to be lingering around me as I was making my way along.  I saw a small fish and it was desperately flopping on the sand, unable to return to the tide on it’s own accord.  I tried to push it back with my flip flop and then realized I could hurt it and it was incredibly inefficient so I just picked it up by it’s tail and threw it back in the water like any normal human would have done in the first place.  I continued to walk and saw a larger fish that had the same predicament but I walked by it because I was afraid of touching it as it was bigger and who knows if those things will flip and spike you.  Or worse, bring out the roundhouse.  I dunno.  I hesitated as I was walking by though- how could I be so unfair in my fish saving?- and in that hesitation the boy with the surfboard walked up behind me and threw the fish in the water, making sure that I saw him do it.  I don’t know if he was trying to impress me like “Hey girl, I save fish too” or if he was just trying to save a fish and was annoyed at my hypocrisy, probably that one, but it made me happy regardless.  I continued walking and he kept doing scans of the area.  You know, those “scans” into the distance that just happen to pass over you and there’s an almost imperceptible pause in the eye movement, but that’s an almost, and you always know that people are looking at you.  It seemed like he was going to try and talk to me but he never did.  Anyway, thank you fish boy for inspiring me to throw more fish in the water regardless of my fear of being roundhouse kicked.

My walk to the gym

On my way to the gym I have to walk past exactly 3 stinky puddles.  I walk past two houses under construction which I pass on the opposite side of the street to decrease the chances of being catcalled but it doesn’t always work that way.  I walk past a hardware store, and a bright blue house with a bright blue fence with a man wielding a paintbrush that is dripping with bright blue paint as he tries to find other objects in his yard to smother with his cerulean goo.  I walk under some palm trees on the sidewalk and I have to bend my head to the side in order to avoid leaves sliding across my face and slicing me in half. I walk past “Manos big burgers” complete with a large painting of a big burger with a face far too happy to be eaten, and a pharmacy where the cashier boy looks like he hates his job.  He probably does.  I asked him about aloe gel once because I got a sunburn and he half heartedly tried out his marketing skills on me in attempts to sell me the most expensive brand after which I kindly declined and he sulked back behind his counter, shoulders hunched, perhaps wondering why he was working at the front counter of a pharmacy that only sells lotions and scrunchy hair ties.  I walk past a purple barber shop filled with a flock of middle aged men and a suntanned, wrinkled 46 year old woman, I’m pretty sure she’s 46- maybe 47.   I’m not sure if they actually cut beards there or solely drink beer at 10 in the morning and gossip about their friend Carlos who got married to that slooze Brenda.  Damn Carlos, he’ll never learn.  I then cross the street only to cross another street and scurry across the pavement because cars like to come zooming around the corner and don’t care if you wanna make it to the gym alive.  I walk across some tiles on the sidewalk that lines the perimeter of an apartment building.  Parts of the tiling has caved into a big hole and perhaps I should walk another way to avoid the chances of tumbling down with the rest of the tiles into a chasm of doom but alas, I like to live on the edge.  I also just don’t want to walk around.  I sometimes receive on quick bark from the yellow lab that is caged in at the front of that apartment building- he’s probably asking for help to escape because he can smell his own poop that sits beside him and he’d much rather be a stray that roams the beach looking at tourists with his big brown eyes before he steals their toddler’s mid-afternoon snack.  He probably dreams of all the chaos he could cause in his beachy freedom until he floats back down to his reality and secretly resents me as I never open his gate and untie him. I then walk past a bright orange and yellow brick building that has flower boxes under the windows that spew purple petals.  Perhaps the flowers are just as confused as I am about the homeowners’ color scheme decisions because the stems are somewhat limp and cling to the outside of the boxes.  Kinda like that one aunt going through a midlife crisis at your cousin’s wedding on that mini-cruise boat, who secretly chugged half a bottle of vodka and then hung her waist over the side of the boat a half hour later and shared her “secret” with the ocean as the extended family shift their heads to the side pretending not to notice but the angsty grandma makes a scene shouting about shame.  I’ve never actually experience anything close to that and don’t even know if it’s relatable to anyone but I already wrote it so there’s no turning back now.  After I walk past that house I walk past a green soda bottle lying on the sidewalk, well now I don’t, I picked it up and put it in the trash after realizing it was stupid to walk past it every day and do nothing.  And then I arrive at the gym and attempt to erase the evidence of all the dessert pizza I’ve consumed this year.  And that is my walk to the gym.  

My old people friends

I made friends with an old couple.  They own a shop.  Well technically both of them own their own shops but they’re in the same building- but they make sure you know that the shops are separate.  One shop is full of tourist goods- keychains, bottle openers, shot glasses, flip flops that someone wrote “Garopaba” on to make them more authentic, fisherman figurines- the whole lot.  The other shop is filled to the brim with paintings.  Paintings on canvasses, boxes, slices of tree stumps, mugs.  They’re quite good.  Many ocean scenes- as is fitting.  The man who paints them taught himself the art and I think that’s pretty cool.  After choosing some of the paintings as presents to bring home I talked quite a bit with the couple.  I’ve returned two more times but today neither of them were there which was a pretty disappointing.  After my first visit excitedly invited me back, not to buy more paintings but just to visit.  Sometimes people just want company. I’ve also been nicknamed “Newton” because I made my sarong into a bag and the woman thought it was the neatest thing since sliced bread, praised me for being clever, and said I was like Isaac Newton.  In the least patronizing way possible, they’re the cutest old people ever and I love hearing about their lives and I wish more people appreciated the old.  What if I get old and nobody appreciates me? I guess the only answer is to move to southern Brazil when I hit 80, open up a shop and wait for some strange girl to visit and invite her to come back, and rename her Newton.

Aberdeen Bird