Thursday, August 21, 2008

No, seriously

My days are melting away in 6-packs, and truthfully, I’ve been feeling rather introspective so I’ve been hesitant to write. I’m contemplating a piece for Galavanting about language that will be more lighthearted than this entry. Therefore, if my Grandma happens to ask you to show her my recent ramblings, please refer to that piece, as today’s stories are rated Not Fit For Grandmothers.

Obviously Brazil has a pretty strong reputation for being a dangerous place. Though I have not yet witnessed anything as nuts as I see in movies or read in the papers, I also know that it’s likely just a matter of time. I’m not sure of if it’s full-moon fever, sheer statistics, or what—but I think I've seen a prelude the last couple days.

Sun
day, taking a taxi home around 10pm, we went through a tunnel. Traffic was rather light, so when the driver rounded the blind curve to find two cars stopped in our lane, he easily managed to decelerate and change lanes without issue. Still, as we passed I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a really bad place to break down!” I looked back and saw one guy sitting (maybe?) kinda half in/half out of one car and another guy standing between the front car and the tunnel wall with a gun in his hand. (Pointed down at the ground, mind you.) Startled, I relayed to my driver what I’d seen, hoping for some reasonable explanation I suppose. It wasn’t the words he used in his response that were memorable but his tone—the standard mixture of embarrassment and detached candor.

Today
, heading out of my apartment at lunchtime to find a quiet study nook at a café, I walked past a very unusual traffic accident. Normally I try not to gawk at such things—but in this case, I couldn’t even deduce what happened. There were at least 75 people standing on the four corners of an intersection where a woman was laying in the road. (She was talking to the medics.) Another person was already in the only ambulance at the scene. There was one policeman taking photos with a cell phone, several witnesses arguing, and a man in a suit wandering around, apparently in shock. The weirdest part was the cars involved. Three of them were lined up on the side of the street as if they had been parallel parked, except too closely and with too much force. But there was a fourth car, a small pickup truck, on the sidewalk, perfectly wedged between one of the “parked” cars and the wall of a crowded restaurant.

Both
of these experiences felt outside-the-standard- deviation-of-weird, you know? It would be unfair to suggest that it has something to do with Brazil, especially since I once had a stalker appear at my door in the middle of the night in Chicago, and then got hit by a car later the same day! Of course strange things just happen, everywhere, and sometimes they happen in clusters. But part of me can’t help but wonder if this is the beginning of my initiation to the notoriously peculiar, even frightening, aspects of Brazilian life.

Heavy.
While
I’m being all somber…I was saddened to learn that Randy Pausch passed away a few weeks ago. Randy, I want to be a Tigger.

As
such, I’ll be getting cheerful at an Irish pub tomorrow night with the international tribe. I’ll try to post something lighter, something safe for Grandma's, before the weekend is out.

Te
cuida o pessoal,
Ta
ke care people,
LG