When my recent Meniere's hearing loss and tinnitus go invisible, I forget to wear my single hearing aid. At the end of the day I don’t find it behind my left ear, but sitting comfortably in its dock recharging from the night before. A case of out of sight, out of my aging mind.
So I am not surprised the reverse might be true. That wearing the hearing aid I’d jump into the cleansing stream of our shower wearing it. It took less than a minute to pull it off and out of the shower, wondering if the CBD I’d taken for arthritis left me loopier than normal.
In Mexico City at a small neighborhood restaurant run by an expatriate, Raquel recognized why the waiter was vague about everything. First he brought some bread before the meal, then he brought finger bowls before the shellfish order. Next he brought more bread, reminding Raquel of the Disney classic, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, as the table was loaded down with ever more baskets of bread. After the meal was cleared, to reinforce the image, the waiter brought even more bread.
In Northampton MA it was at a bar venue where Judy Collins was scheduled to appear. Due to open seating, we went early figuring we’d get a beer and some bar food. Sharing a table with a couple of strangers, the four of us gave a waitress our orders. Twenty-minutes later the waitress returned to ask if we wanted to order. Reminding her, we’d already ordered, her unfocused eyes looked confused. After another hour, a new waitress came over to say our waitress had to leave, and the new waitress would bring our beers and food immediately. And she did!
In Buenos Aires, Argentina the doorman’s job was to wash down every morning with water the sidewalk in front of the building. So that’s what they did no matter the weather. As one young woman exited the building huddled beneath an umbrella in an unusually heavy rain, there was the doorman washing the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
In the USA it’s automatic timer sprinkler systems that methodically spit-spit-spit out their water, in the sun or pouring rain.
While visiting Curacao on an inspection tour to decide if we should take a corporate move there, I lost my wedding ring on the day of our 10th anniversary. After we moved there I was so happy to help an unknown someone when I found a band of gold lost in a bin of odd towels. Approaching the staff behind a desk with it, the cashier called “Someone found your wedding ring, Cynthia.”
With a disinterested glance, Cynthia took the ring only to say, “Oh, okay.”
Corporation policies have a logic unto themselves. When we moved to Ecuador, we followed the prior manager’s policy to have a 24-hour security guard at our home. In Mexico City in the late 1990s some corporations forced their expatriate employees to have drivers, bodyguards and other ‘security’ to prevent their employees from being the victim of crime.
The obviousness of these people’s presence seemed to me to make it more likely for them to become a victim of crime, as their oversized and overpriced Suburban vehicles driven by men with telltale weaponry lumps put a bullseye on the foreigners.
Then I was told the logic of Purina and its sister company EverReady. In the belief that first class travel was safer than coach, Purina forced its executives to travel to and from the US and Mexico first-class. Meanwhile at the back of the same airplane in coach were executives from its sister company, EverReady, following their corporate policy.
For the first five years in Mexico City my visa photo, taken in the USA, showed my ponytailed hair with long floppy bangs. On year six it was time for me to have a new visa photo taken. So off I went to an authorized visa photographer, who told me to brush my now short hair with short bangs out of my eyes. I pushed it as much as it would go.
Sounding like my father, the photographer yelled, “No, farther back from the eyes.” Without gel it was a fruitless struggle to get my gringa wispy hair to stay back, so the photographer ordered his assistant to smash it back with his hands. The photograph looked like a male version of me, wearing mascara.
But now I understood why every man in Mexico had their hair combed straight back from the front hairline, kept in place by volumes of gel. You never knew when you might need a new official photo taken.