How I cannot be so obvious?

17 07 2007

It is worth nothing that in Central America, my eyes are quite the conversation piece. Literally every person I meet immediately wants to talk about my eyes and no one has heard of two-colored eyes before (if you don´t believe me, just ask Aimee). It may be because blue eyes are already uncommon here, so my eyes are noticed right away, or maybe it is just my mystical personality. I prefer to believe the latter.

Guatemalans love to hear that my grandfather had the same genetic make-up, but when I bring up the fact that it is also common with dogs or witches in horror movies, they always shake their head at me with disgust, as if my eyes and I are in a fight, and they are siding with the eyes. ¨No, no! That is not true,¨many tell me with contempt. ¨That is not you.¨

What I also find interesting is how Guatemalan men want to tell me that they like my eyes. Almost all want to do so in an unoffensive manner, but their methods differ. One men kept saying to me, ¨With respect! With respect!¨

After about five minutes of shouting ¨With respect!” (during which time I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to be respecting), he finally ended with a quiet, ¨Your eyes are beautiful.¨

My favorite response happened this morning. I arrived alone to the Rio Dulce yesterday, having dropped Aimee off in Belize and crossed back into Guatemala with a boatload of other sunburnt travelers. Eleven hours and six boat trips later, I arrived to this fabulous lake to meet up with some others and continue the week of sweat and sun.

Being alone and dirty as can be, I treated myself to a room with AC and shower…what luxury. It cost less than a dinner in Boston, and I slept in for the first time in six weeks, all the way to 8:30.

When I woke up and strolled down to get some breakfast, a man welcomed me back to the land of the clean and the refreshed. He shook my hand, preparing to serve me, and  gasped, ¨Your eyes are beautiful!¨

I said my typical thanks, preparing to answer the traditional littany of questions that tend to follow: Are they real? Do you have a contact? Do they both work? How does it happen? Do you know I have never seen this before?

Instead, he started yelling at himself in English. ¨How I cannot be so obvious? How can a human being not be so obvious? What can a human do to not make such an obvious statement? I mean, what choice does a human have?¨

I shrugged, said I really didn´t know, and asked for eggs. Throughout breakfast, I was bombarded with the same line of questioning. There were no questions about the nature of my eyes, but instead the nature of humans. ¨How can humans not be obvious? What other options do humans have?¨ Leave it to me to start up an internal existential debate before breakfast. My future as a teacher is bright.

The truth is, I think he is really beating himself up over it. He wouldn´t even charge me for food. So, I got a free breakfast, care of Opa. Doesn´t get much better than that!



One response

19 07 2007

Are you reading these comments? 😉
Natalie was questioning in small group the other day if you had the same experience. Your words are painting such vivid pictures. Pictures that I don’t think she quite knew how to describe. It was funny to listen to her compare thoughts.

So I do hope you’re enjoying your last week and a half down there! I’m very much looking to see your smiling face on the 30th (or very soon there after)!

I’m off to Jersey this weekend to celebrate the wedding of my cousin. And Blair gets to meet my extended family. Should be a good time.

Safe travels. Keep that appetite up.
And maybe just RELAX for a day or two…you’re going to have muscles I never knew existed by the time you get back here!

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