Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Power Out, Spanish On
When the power went out suddenly today, I quickly shut down my computer, where I was in the middle of writing a newspaper article. I called my upstairs neighbor to ask about his service, got the number for PG&E from him, called and reported the outage and let everyone in the building know the time estimate for restored power.
Then I put on underwear and shoes. Was I expecting the building to be evacuated? I don’t know. It just seemed like a good idea to get out of my pajamas (my usual work ensemble) and look better.
Once properly attired, I decided to dust, in preparation for a small dinner party here on Thursday. Usually, I dust at night. I call it Dusting in the Dark, and it works. In spite of the power outage, it is not at all dark in the apartment – the sun is shining and my huge wall of windows allows in plenty of light. I could only hope I would dust as efficiently as I do in the dark.
So I dusted. I emptied the dishwasher. I cleaned the kitchen counters. I rounded up trash. I did not try to clean the glass shelves in the bathroom, because there is no window in that room and even I do not dust in total darkness.
Now the apartment looks swell and I would like to get back to work, but without power, the desktop is dead. Thank goodness for the laptop! I can at least (at last) put together a blog entry, which at least two regular readers have been clamoring for.
What have you been doing, they asked. Working. Playing.
And learning Spanish on the bus.
I love the Muni bus system here. I can go anywhere, have a great time and be dropped off at my door a few hours later. Traveling by bus does take time, especially on three-bus trips, but so what? One trip, even a trip calling for three buses or streetcars or trolleys or subways, costs $2. I will not have to park when I get where I am going, and I will not lose the sweet parking spot I have for my car. Oh, I do drive -- from time to time. Six weeks ago, I spent $36 on gas, and I still don’t need to fill up.
Besides, I am learning Spanish on the bus.
(A quick digression here – when I saw the sign reading “pozole” at my favorite neighborhood restaurant, I didn’t need any translation. When I had surgery almost two years ago, my friend Diane Duke Williams made pozole (aka posole) for me and ever since, it has been my favorite soup. The restaurant does a great job at it (and Diane, alas, is far away) so I have informed the Hispanic chef that I would dine on pozole every day if it were on the menu that often.)
Anyway, most of the signs on the buses are in several languages, so the English translation is readily at hand. One familiar sign dictates that the front seats be vacated for seniors and people with disabilities. “It’s the law,” reads the sign.
That’s “Es ley” in Spanish.
I was on a bus (not in a front seat, as plenty of older people were on the bus that day) when I saw my favorite sign. The sign is in the window of a large discount clothing store that closed some time ago. “Show your style,” reads the sign. Underneath, it is translated into Spanish: “Anuncia tu estilo!”
That’s even more fun in Spanish than in English.
Anuncia tu estilo!
That ought to be a ley.