Tuesday, July 28, 2009

hard work isn´t as romantic as it may seem.

Have you ever mowed a field of grass using a sickle? I did this morning and while bent over, cutting grass I had some thoughts. One is that no wonder someone invented a machine to do that. That is very hard work, damn. Luckily we only had a small field to cut and Andres and his brother are much faster at it than I am. I was a token help if that.

The other thoughts were about machismo and feminism. First I thought ¨no wonder the ladies stay in the kitchen!¨ Jeez. Do guys know it really only takes one person to make a pot of soup and not as many ladies as don´t want to be out in the field? It´s a racket I tell you. I get tired of being stuck in the kitchen with nothing to do so today I insisted in helping in the field. Huh. That´ll teach me. I actually enjoyed learning how and after a few hours I felt like I was getting the hang of it but I was glad it didn´t take any longer than that.

So I was thinking about women´s rights and how I always want to do what I want and don´t want some stupid macho guy to tell me how or what I ought to be up to. But I also don´t want to cut grass in the fields. I think that it is easy to want to be spoiled with all the good stuff but not want to take on the harder stuff. ¨That´s boy´s work¨ is a pretty good rule when the work is back breaking and hard but I certainly wouldn´t agree to taking on all laundry and cooking chores.

All in all, I think it´s good to live in the first world where the lines aren´t so harsh. Even if the man is the bread winner and the woman is the homemaker, those jobs just aren´t as hard. I didn´t say not as stressful, because I think we have a lot more stress in the US than they have here, but the work itself isn´t as physically demanding. Handcutting hay with sickles, plowing fields with oxen, hand washing laundry, cooking over open wood fires. It is a hard life here and people don´t usually get too old. There are some ancients running around but mostly people die younger than we expect to. Also the animals. You never see old animals. I saw a dog this morning that was probably seven and I stopped and thought ¨damn, that dog is old.¨ which led me to remember that in another world, that is not old for a dog.

I am really interested to see how many other things are fundamentally different that I haven´t even thought about. I was also thinking about the treatment of animals this morning. They kick dogs all the time here and this morning Andres was walking by a cat in his kitchen and smacked it on the head for seeming no reason. When I scolded him yet again for mistreating animals (they think I am crazy) and asked him why he hit it he said that he likes its ears. I told him that is a reason to scratch them, not hit it and he just laughed and said ¨oh, this woman¨. And he treats animals better than most. It´s an odd thing to try to get used to.

And kids. This morning a boy who was probably nine went walking by the fields with an axe and some rope and we said good morning and I asked him if he was going cutting firewood and he said yep and went on his way. I didn´t think much of it until I thought of the nine year olds I know in the US and the thought of them heading into the woods with an axe by themselves made me pause.

My friend Guillermo got stabbed in the throat with a knife on Saturday night. I haven´t seen him yet but all accounts are that he should be fine. What kind of world does that just happen in? I used to go to the disco with them all the time and figured I was safe walking home with them - usually three or four guys. But they were all together when it happened and still he managed to get stabbed. Now I don´t go to the disco with them anymore at Andres´ request but he thinks it´s perfectly fine for me to go to the disco with him until all hours of the morning and walk home just the two of us. I guess he thinks he can and will keep me safe where they wont. But what is the difference? It´s a very odd place here and the truth is that I am glad that my time here is nearly done. I have enjoyed and loved it for lots that it is but sometimes when you scratch a little deeper somewhere that on the surface seems so great, there are lots of strange secrets and sometimes this town feels made by Stephen King. I wont even tell the more disturbing stories but they have to do with sacrifices to the gods of the valley and mountains.

But I am looking forward to having Amy visit and it will be a fantastic visit as anything of the time and nature of a visit here is great. I don´t know anyone who hasn´t loved it. And I will continue to love it but I don´t want to live here any longer term. And as before, I am looking forward to getting back on the traveling road. And on the road home. Where it is still crazy but at least it is a crazy that I understand a little better.

No comments:

Post a Comment