Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta laughter. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta laughter. Mostrar todas las entradas

miércoles, 31 de mayo de 2017

The rocks

   Every single woman in the town visited the rocks at least once a weak. It was the perfect place to do laundry by the river, but also a place for encounter. They would discuss the latest news, as well as sharing some of their most personal things. Not every woman went there at the same time, so small groups of them visited the rocks every few hours. It was never crowded because they all knew at what time they should be visiting in order to find the people they communicated best with.

 The ones that arrived at the earliest were mostly older. For some reason, experienced women tended to do their chores as early as they could. It was kind of an irony because they were the ones with the least amount of work at home and there in the rocks. After washing a couple of undergarments from their husbands, they were finished and did not know what else to do. They usually stayed on until the last woman had finished. That means they only stayed about an hour in the morning.

 The biggest group visited the rocks after midday. It was the time when most women had finished cooking for their families, so they all decided to process their meal by doing some exercise, and washing laundry was exactly that. Some women spent up to three hours there. It wasn’t very surprising considering the amount of dirty clothes accumulated by one husband and at least three young children. It was a lot of clothes to clean and they did it as fast as they could, as they talked and laughed.

 Then, there was a small group of women that visited the rocks an hour before sunlight disappeared. They normally visited that late because they really didn’t want to confront other woman during the day. They just wanted to do their thing and then leave as soon as possible. Women that visited at that time were often widows or single, having never married. They were just a handful in town but enough to make people talk about them. That’s why they preferred a certain darkness.

  What they all had in common, and rarely realized, was that every single one of them loved to visit the rocks because it gave them an outlet, it was something different from seeing men every single day and then having to do what they said. There, in the rocks, no man was in charge. Actually, they practically never went there, as they knew they would encounter a large number of women and men always felt a bit scared when outnumbered by anyone. The rocks were only for women and, as such, it was a safe space where they could discuss anything.

 It wasn’t uncommon to hear women curse and talk about their families in a not so kind way. A person hearing them out of context would never understand how much these women actually cared for their families. But they would sometimes need to vent their dissatisfaction with some of the thing that happened at home, because they needed to tell someone. In the household, the men were not supposed to be bothered with those issues and children were too immature to understand.

 So they only had each other to talk about those things that only women went through. Of course, they didn’t all got along as adults are complicated and there’s always some kind of animosity against someone because they did something you may think is wrong. That’s why the single women had their own scheduled to clean. Because they didn’t wanted married woman to ridicule them in their own time, when they needed to feel they could breath for at least a second.

 The point was that life for women was very difficult in town and they were grateful to have a space of their own to talk and have a little bit of fun once a week. There was no fun in anything else they did and their little town, so out of the way of the world, was sometimes too slow and boring for any of them to feel they were living the best life possible. Granted, some of them stated often they could never have a big city life as the change would be too much and they thought of urbanites as sinners.

 Religion, as expected, had always been a very important part of the town’s life. Every single person, or at least most of the people, would go every Sunday to the mass. There, Father McGregor would tell them once and again that their ways were wrong and that it was time to correct them in order to get into the kingdom of heaven. Sometimes he softened his words but it wasn’t something that happened often. It was clear that religion wanted people to be scared and they were effective at that.

 So much so, that women sometimes felt guilty of whom they were just because they were women. They discussed it sometimes on the rocks, but it was a very complicated subject that some of them didn’t want to talk about because they felt heir beliefs were above anything else. These women had been raised to believe that they were inferior, by nature, to men and most had assimilated that and thought it was true. Changing that was very complicated so that’s why it wasn’t a very popular subject to bring to the table. Something more entertaining was always better.

 On the rocks, they laugh, they cried and they shared thoughts and words and what little knowledge came their way. Sometimes they could stop talking and other times, there was a silence that settled in and made them fell protected somehow. It was strange but after so many time there, they knew exactly how they should behave there and how they should do it at home and how it was better to never mix both worlds, because doing that could be dangerous to anyone.

 A woman once remembered a funny anecdote she had heard on the rocks and laughed out loud. That happened in her home but in front of her husband and children, while they were having supper. She tried to explain what she had remembered but the only thing that happened was that the husband stood up in silence, walked towards her and then slapped her as hard as he possibly could. The pain on her cheek was enough to understand that she could never mix the rocks with her daily life.

 Every women had a story like that, sometimes more tragic, sometimes less surprising. But they had all experienced what it felt to be something like a domesticated animal working for a master. They were like the bulls that helped in the fields or the horses that carried people from one place to the other. There were not that many differences between the two and that made them angry and hopeless. So they discussed it sometimes and they always ended up with a sour taste in their mouths.

 However, the rocks existed. And as long as the women had them to go and have a chat, they would feel empowered to keep going, to keep living day after day even if it felt difficult and, sometimes, impossible.

jueves, 4 de agosto de 2016


   When Jake entered the pharmacy, he went to grab every single item he had forgotten to get in the supermarket. Of course, everyone at home was mad at him because he hadn’t gotten every single thing they had been waiting for. Granted, he had been in charge of groceries and so on that week but he was too busy with the presentation of his next book coming so fast. The only thing on his mind was how not to feel overwhelmed again when telling people to buy their book.

 As he walked through the dental aisle, he remembered how he had started as a writer. The truth was that he had never really considerer writing as an option to win a living. After school, he had fallen in love with the idea of becoming a news presenter in television. For some strange reason, he had always thought those men and women were always the peak of the journalism profession as the used their faces and knowledge to make people learn about daily events.

 So he went to college and outdid himself in order to become a proper journalist. From the first moment, he knew he wanted to do an internship at the end of his career, one in a television channel in order to start climbing steps right there. He would become a sensation and people would discover him there and everything would be perfect for him. Each semester, he convinced himself his path to success had absolutely no floss and that he was in it to win it.

 Unfortunately, life is not about what we want but about what we get and do with it. The only internship available when he had to get one was in a editorial company involving books by the most boring authors he had ever heard. They published a lot of self-help books and guides to do things like learning yoga or how to make your dog a nice little cape. It was the only thing he could get and was obliged to stay there for a whole year.

 Suffice to say, the experience was a nightmare. Not only did his boss take her job a bit too seriously, the people he worked with were too sensitive about everything. Apparently one of the conditions to properly work there was to believe in all the crap they sold and he certainly did not buy any of that. However, he got his first writing gig there when his boss asked him to write something about anything, as long as they could fill their obligations of that period.

 Jake was annoyed by this obligation at first but then he realized he could use it to make something good. He had wanted to make something very focused on journalism but rather ended up writing the story of a disgruntled man who failed once and again when trying to become a real journalist. The small short story was a huge hit.

 As they really didn’t publish literature there, his boss was king enough to send his work to other places and he got a call from a company called Walrus Publishing when he was asked to come on board as an editor. Mind you, this was only months after graduating from college. The rest of his classmates had barely had a couple of job interviews. He was very lucky.

 He already had a large amount stuff in his basket at the pharmacy when he entered another aisle and laughed so hard some people turned around and looked at him as if he was mad. He had laughed because he had seen all the condoms on display and every time he saw those small packages, he remembered his first book.

 Work on it had started about two years after he had started working as an editor on Walrus. People were much nicer there than in his previous job and he really enjoyed everything that he did. However, he realized he wanted to keep writing so he did it on his spare time and planned to show his boss once he finished the whole story.

 It was going to be a science fiction dystopian novel about an invasion. He pictured everything in a serious note and had planned every single aspect of it. So much so that he had even made drawings about the protagonist and of the planets he talked about in the story.

 However, when time came to show his boss, he really hated it. He thought the story thought too much of itself, it aimed at being too serious and it really wasn’t that much of a deal. Of course, Jake was very upset by this and had a long period of time when he realized he wasn’t really a creative person but rather that guy that gets it right once and that’s it. He then decided not to try again and just deliver himself to everything in life that may help him be less sad.

 In other words, he started to drink more, to smoke and to have sec with almost complete strangers. It wasn’t like him to do that but, now that he lived by himself and was so depressed about his talent, it really felt like the moment to lose himself to all of that. So he attended a lot of parties, where he would always be smoking and he would disappear in weird moments at the same time that someone else.

 It was in such a state when he got a very awful virus that made him say in bed for two straight weeks. He had a sore throat, his eyes were always bloody and his whole body hurt. He never went to the doctor but this time he was scared the flu wouldn’t leave him. The doctor told him, very alarmingly, that he should get and HIV test, just in case.

 If he was pale already, Jake turned into a piece of paper when the doctor said those words. He drank the medication he gave him and he postponed several times going to get the test. But realizing his former crazy life could not go on just like that with that on his mind, he decided to go on a Saturday, as they had consultations every single day.

 In the small waiting room there were few people other than him: a young boy and girl couple, a pregnant woman and a guy about his age that couldn’t keep moving his leg. He seemed very agitated and looked at the ground as if he was attempting to make a whole in it with his sight. Jake tried to ignore the people around him to be lees worried but actually the opposite worked better: when the guy stood up, he stepped on himself and almost hit the counter where the nurse that called him waited.

 People got up, as to help him, but he stood up fast but instead of grabbing the counter to straighten himself up, he grabbed a big fish bowl full of condoms which made him fall into the ground, showered by a rainbow of colors corresponding to many small packages of condoms that had rained on his head.  The worst thing was there were also small packs of lube in the bowl, so when he tried to stand up fast, he just went back down as he had stepped on some of those and the jelly like substance had made him fall over again.

During all of this, Jake tried not to laugh but it had been impossible by the end. As everyone helped the guy, he just laughed. The nurse asked him to walk to his test and he was so relaxed he didn’t even think too much about it. Not until he met the guy again when coming out of his consultation. He was outside, on the phone and hung up at the same time Jake came outside. He seemed very bummed out, about to cry.

 Something on his face, his body language, attracted Jake to talk to him and ask what was wrong. The guy, instead of telling him, started crying. And as he cried, Jake could see the guy had a condom pack right on his shoe. He grabbed it, laughed again and that’s how they decided nothing was that bad. They went out for a coffee and got to know each other better.

 As Jake went back home after buying everything he had missed in the supermarket, he entered home and found Greg, the condom guy, with little Grace and Mark sleeping on his lap as they watched TV. He kissed him softly on the mouth and, out of nowhere, threw him a pack of condoms. Greg laughed so hard he woke up his son and daughter and the two of them had to carry the kids to bed, as they remembered that one time when a condom had made such a difference, again.

martes, 12 de enero de 2016

Him and the gym

   It was very annoying, but it was more and more frequent that, in the middle of the night, he had to wake up to a cramp or some other time of pain. It would normally be in his feet or legs but sometimes it was his waist that felt the pain or even his face. He had gone to the doctor several times and to many different ones but none of them was able to tell him why that happened. He hated when it was obvious they were inventing what to say instead of giving him a science based and objective point of view. They just shot in the dark, trying to get it right.

 Many had told him it was the lack of exercise so he tried to jog in the mornings. Soon, he changed it to the afternoons, and then the nights. All of this happening in the same week, as he realized he hated to reorganize his life around such a menial activity. He didn’t understand how some people dared to say they loved to exercise often and for many hours. He didn’t tell this to anyone, but for him all those persons in the gyms and the parks exercising every single hour of the day, were just insane people without any real talent in them.

 Of course, he didn’t tell this to anyone when he signed on for a year at a big gym near his house. A perky girl showed him all the machines, explained the courses he could take (as if he was entering Harvard) and told him about the trainers that helped people there. Some even had experience in the military, which assured quality but also inspired some fear. In his first week he avoided the trainers and the courses and the dancing lessons, in order to focus only in the machines. It was a failure anyway but at least he wasn’t getting yelled at.

 The screams were constant in that place and everyone behaved as if it was extremely normal that a man build like a house would scream a bunch of skinny short women about how they couldn’t meet his extremely bizarre quotas of exercise. The man was clearly deranged somehow, always screaming and never really doing any exercise himself, only when he needed to demonstrate something he wanted all of them to do. Even then it was strange, because he would do the exercise so fast and in such a bizarre way, none of the women would get it fast and the screaming would ensue.

 He wasn’t the only insane one in the place. For a spinning class, there was a lot of yelling there too. The “teacher” there was a woman. She was very beautiful and her body was testament to her prowess in the exercise area but she was another one that yelled a lot. And he could never hold his laughter when looking at the spinning class because it was simply ridiculous. That woman yelling others to accelerate on bikes going nowhere, in a closed room with the concentrated heat that everyone was releasing, without the refreshing sight of the actual world.

 He exercised independently as long as he could but in every area of that place, there was a man or a woman kind of supervising that everyone make good use of the machines, normally looking after the cleanliness of everyone in the gym and to see that everyone was using the machines in the right way. To him, it was amazing how little sense of humor people in a gym could have. He saw a young man once trying to do a choreography he had clearly taken away from the TV on some of the running machines and they simply expelled them for that because they deemed his behavior “irresponsible” and “dangerous”.

 No one laughed there unless it was hypocritical laughter or if the person was talking on the phone. Besides that, the sound that ruled was heavy breathing and the eternal sounds of the machines and the one of the stupid music the put every single day. Every day it was the same playlist, from beginning to end and he already knew it by heart. And what was so annoying about it, is that it was there to make you feel you could always do more, like the music they put on shops and so on.

 Basically, the place was a laboratory, and every stupid person that paid to be there was a mouse or a hamster forever turning in their little wheel like an idiot, not ever thinking twice about anything. It was easy to see how brainwashed some of them are and the scary thing was that the results they had made them even more prone to stay there and keep on going and just obsess about the whole thing. He had hated to rearrange his life around exercise but many others were happy to do it, dedicating even more and more time per week to what they called “the art of exercise”.

 “Horseshit”. That’s what he told his doctor after a couple of months going to the gym. They did a lot of exams and tests and it was revealed that the exercise had nothing to do with whatever was happening to him. The cramps would even get worse some nights and he had slowly became a person that slept on his chest, as it was impossible to him sleeping in any other way. His legs always hurt and his body was still as bad as it was months ago.

 When he saw the results of the test, he decided to quit the gym. He had paid for a year but he didn’t mind “loosing” that money because in any case he had already paid it and new that the people in the gym had already spend it in some stupid machine. So he decided to only exercise in the weekends and on the park and maybe doing something he would enjoy, for a change. He played football with friends sometimes, or with a Frisbee or he could even buy a dog and play with him. The possibilities were endless.

 Yes, he wasn’t ripped like those nutbags from the gym but he started feeling better once he decided to relax about the whole thing and when he decided to get massages and eat better. All of those decisions made him happier than going to an enclosed space to run like a lunatic. Now he enjoyed his life and, even without the killer body, he felt better and that’s all he ever wanted. He had always been happy with who he was and had been depressed the whole time being in the gym. With all the pictures and the trainers and the brainwashing, it was hard not get out of there thinking “I have to be like all of this people”.

 He sometimes saw some of them in the park or in the street and they always gave him this look of superiority. But the look wasn’t only at him but at the world around them. For some stupid reason, all of this toolbags that had once decided to go crazy in the exercise, decided they were better than the rest of us and the worst thing was that all the media and the society at large believed that to be true. We have been taken by the balls by a small group of people and now the prototypes of beauty are radically different than what they were a hundred years ago and even more than what they were on the Renaissance or before.

 But people can stand up to that and just move along, living their lives as they may and not thinking every single second about how they look. He laughed alone when recalling some of the conversations he had overheard in the gym while in the machines or in the locker room. It has to be left clear that he didn’t thought they were all stupid but some of them were such idiots, it was a very difficult thing to ignore. They talked about sex in a way it was simply funny to hear about it, as if it was an exhibition of the caliber of a two peacocks showing their feathers to the one female, who also happened to be ripped like them.

 It hadn’t been his thing but he new that some people liked it and he was fine with it. Even some of his friends told him he should have at list used his membership the whole year, at least once a week. But he told them he simply couldn’t stand going there anymore. Seeing the faces of people that claimed they had fun exercising but were there every day stressed out because they didn’t lose as much weight as they had planned or because they wouldn’t meet theirs trainer’s demands. It was a disaster.

 He finally decided to buy that dog and it was the best decision he ever had. Not only he had tons of exercise running after his furry acquisition, the dog also became his best and most loyal friend. And that was something exercising like a lunatic couldn’t offer. It couldn’t give you real feelings, only shallow ones that surfaced because you can’t even think as you kill yourself on those damned machines.