Photo by Martini Captures
The pancake boobs story
In the building where I lived with my parents in Panama, the community of neighbors knew everybody's business. The children especially (of which I was one) knew absolutely everything that took place behind supposedly closed doors. Most of our information came from what we overheard as we played our games on the common-ground landings of every floor level. These areas could be accessed via the building's main stairway and from them, we had the ability to look in on most apartments as well as listen to ongoing conversations so long as we were quiet enough to not give our clandestine presence away. This is how we were privy to the goings-on at apartment 2A.
Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez had been on the outs in their relationship for quite a while. Both were highly volatile people and they fought true to soap opera style scripts. Hers were the accusations of late nights spent drinking and carousing with other women. His were the disgruntlements of a macho husband who thought himself improperly attended to by his wife. In the unraveling of their marriage, what passion they still had for each other was reserved exclusively for the purpose of lacerating name-calling and painful dissections of their personal habits and behaviors. Mrs. Gonzalez for example, could fly into the most awful fury when Mr. Gonzalez was found to have used her eyebrow tweezers for pulling out his nose hairs. By the same token, Mr. Gonzalez would wax foul on Mrs. Gonzalez's breath and accused her of being an affected cigarette smoker who, to his view, appeared harlot-fake rather than the lady-sophisticated whenever she lit up.
The constantly riveting marital fireworks ended the day Mr. Gonzalez walked out on Mrs. Gonzalez for good. According to our kid sources (and I'll admit that I was so sorry to have missed the final episode of their saga) Mr. Gonzalez slammed their apartment door in her face with this bloodying parting shot: "the reason I'm leaving you is that your tetas (boobs) are like pancakes. They are flat, as flat as a pancakes and I'm tired of looking at your pancake tetas pretending they are boobs..."
He really must have been, tired of looking at them that is, because he never returned to live in our building and they divorced just a few months later. Forever after, the abandoned Mrs. Gonzalez was known to us all, children and adults alike, as Mrs. Tetas de Pancake.
The three rivers story
Speaking of tetas, when my sister and I were quite young, my parents used to drive to my godmother's beach house almost every weekend. On the road to the beach there were three bridges we had to cross. Usually, as we approached the first one, my mother would start throwing warning glances at us sitting in the back seat of the car. Once the giggles began, she would try to intimidate us into silence with her evil-mother-look but even that was not enough to stave off our paroxysms of giggling. You see, the first bridge crossed a medium-sized river called Tetas, and though we thought that was funny enough already, that the second bridge was named Tetitas which in essence means 'little boobs' was just too hilarious for words but, the clincher was always the last bridge, the one that went over a wider, fuller tributary than the other two. Someone with a sense of humor had named this one Tetotas which translates into 'enormous boobs.' Tell me that had you been our age, this would not have seemed like the funniest thing in the world to you...
How I eat my pancakes story
Speaking of pancakes, I'm very particular about how I choose to eat mine, which is one of the reasons why I prefer the pancakes I make myself (it's not for nothing that my sister crowned me the Queen of pancakes early on in life). Firstly, I drizzle honey in Pollock-ian patterns along its surface. The quicker the better mind you since pancakes cool off rapidly and I must have that first honeyed bite when it is still hot enough to burn. Once the honey has been added, I start on the crispy edges. Crispy pancake edges dripping in honey are about the best part of the pancake and as far as I'm concerned, I could stop there with just the edges but, to leave a circular center of uneaten pancake smacks of craziness and I wouldn't want anybody to think that I don't eat my pancakes the way normal people do.
The 'are you normal?' story
Speaking of normal, my husband tells a story about an expat he was once introduced to when he lived in Baku. According to him, she explained to all and sundry in a most vampish-sounding accent, how she was of noble Polish blood and then went on to regale everyone with stories of her colorful past. Her most defining trait however, was that for no apparent reason she had a disconcerting habit of stopping people mid-way through a conversation to ask them this rhetorical question: You are not normal? Yeeees?
On my un-normal days, M teases me gently by mimicking the Polish lady's question back at me and, if I ever answered it the way I should, I'd have to go with no, clearly, I'm not normal. Witness this post, I call it exhibit A.
Photo by Martini Captures