the way of costeño

IMG_0666there are certain questions i am learning to never bother asking costeños. these primarily involve things to do with time or distance. measurement, i suppose. “when will it be ready?” “when will they get here?” “how long will it take?” “how far is it?” “how much will it cost?” will get a variation of: “solo un ratico mas,” “ya casi,” “ayi mismito,” or “no mucho.” kind of like calling the restaurant to ask when your delivery will arrive. “it’s on its way,” is all you’ll ever get. the concept of latino time or p.o.c. time is nothing new, but witnessing its full meaning in action is a wonderment.

caribbean heat and humidity likely has a little to do with it. if you try to rush anywhere you arrive hot, sweaty, and agitated. and likely you’ll be waiting for everyone else. i’ve been on a permanent vacation for over five months and yet i still walk like i have to be somewhere real important. i used to get irrationally frustrated at the pace of local pedestrians, who likely have actual things to do; if i wasn’t throwing elbows about, i just gave up and risked my life walking in the middle of the street. as a slave to the urban clip, trying to walk at a speed where turtles lap me is not easy, but i’m in an intensive retraining program.

i have learned that it is well worth my time to criss-cross my way down the street to maintain constant shade or walk a few blocks out of my way to ensure i’m on a street with sun blockage or take a quick detour through the air conditioned supermarket. when i inevitably get stuck behind someone staring at the same pair of sandals that have been on that same corner booth for months (seriously?), i try to relax and enjoy the air con breeze from the stores. i linger inside air con’d cajeros, atm machine vestibules, because it’s like wrapping yourself in a silky ice cream blanket. “oops, i got my pin number wrong.” “oh shit, i meant to hit english, not spanish. guess i have to stay in here a little longer.” children and stray dogs often sneak their way into cajeros to play and nap, respectively. street kids sleep in there as well, when they can.

this seems to have created a stereotype of costeños as being slow and lazy. so what we have monday holidays like every other week? who cares no one knows exactly what we’re celebrating? so what we decide to be closed when the sign clearly says we should be open? we don’t feel like coming back after siesta. we rather be at the beach, the river, or the mountains. fuck work. fuck time. it’s too hot and it’s not worth it. except when we’re in any kind of motorized vehicle, though. then suddenly everyone’s in a real fucking hurry that can only be mitigated by incessant honking, high speeds, and a disregard for all social contracts.

you can’t really blame heat alone for our disregard for structure. we just don’t really give a shit. i love santa marta for it’s unassuming and unapologetic existence. it is what it is and it never tries to be something else. you’ll adjust sooner or later. where’s my hammock at?


About trying not to touch anything

living in a space where i am half packed, or half unpacked, depending on how you look at it; going somewhere else; wanting to write about my misadventures on a planet i don't feel like i should be on

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