Thursday, July 16, 2009

coffee, ray-bans, and routine

We live on front porches and swing life away, We get by just fine here on minimum wage, If love is a labor, I'll slave til the end, I won't cross these streets until you hold my hand.

The shower takes approximately 1 min and 52 seconds to get warm, most mornings I plunge into the cold and let it shock the sleep out of my system. 14 minutes and 18 seconds later I'm clean. In 15 minutes I have eaten breakfast, had a cup of coffee, and lunch made. The next 4 minutes and 41 seconds are spent fighting with contacts, and a toothbrush. 3 minutes and 8 seconds to pack my bag, find shoes and get Hugo out the door. All routine, all normal. Then we go for coffee. 

The walk starts with the song Hugo was listening to this morning. He sings a line, then i'll sing the same line with the right english words. He echos with a smile that stretches from one side of his ray-bans to the other. He may not be fluent in english, but we tend to communicate by song, his made-up lyrics and me teaching him the right ones. As we wait for the crosswalk Hugo will point out my "husband." In his funny little way he has decided that the homeless man who goes from bench to bench down our street is my husband. We look for him every morning and usually find him in Largo Do Mitelo under a tree with a bottle in his half-consious hand or wandering in search of a new comfortable spot to sleep. After we find him, Hugo grabs my hand and pulls me across the street into the cafe. He orders his coffee with a small drop of creme. I take mine black. He smokes a cigarette and drinks his coffee while I listen to the Portuguese swirling around me. I sit in the plastic green chair with my feet propped on the one across from me. He stands protectively nearby eyeing anyone who dares to get too close.  When we have drained every drop from the cup we walk to Hugo's car and head to Marquis Pombal, the metro stop that he insists on dropping me off at everyday. We spend the car ride listening to news about Gripe A or traffic reports or singing to music on the radio. The ride ends in the obligatory two kisses after the car has jumped the curb to get out of the flow of traffic. I wait for the walk signal to turn green and he drives away flashing a smile and blowing a kiss, the green specks in his blue eyes sparkling with a sly grin on his face. 

It takes me 57 seconds to get to the metro platform. 10 minutes and 49 seconds for the next train towards Rato to pull up. 17 minutes and 43 seconds to get to Ciudade Universitaria. 4 minutes to walk through the hospital to my desk. A morning routine that will be routine for only 11 more mornings. 

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