Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Random Daily Occurrence

I’m wearing a long yellow dress, which stands out on the dusty road leading from the subway stop to Manguinhos. I come up with a stupid children’s song to keep myself busy as I avoid the potholes and dust and dog feces:

Three little crackheads lying on the street/splayed out arms and crumpled legs/frying on the concrete…

A police car stops twice, but they say nothing to me and I ignore them. Maybe they’re just having problems with their brakes? When I cross the street, I have to walk through their impromptu frisking station. One has his machine gun trained on a sleeping crackhead. He must be quite dangerous, drooling on the ground. But no one so much as blinks an eye at me. I guess I’m invisible!

On my way home, I wait at the bus stop for an interminable length of time, as every bus but the one I need passes by. Typical. I shake my bag, trying to find the change necessary for the bus fare, when a skinny guy with a handful of coins walks up. It’s your typical generic, “Don’t you want to give me twenty-five cents or so?” begging routine. I laugh.

“Dude, I’m shaking my bag here trying to find the last ten centavos I need for the bus!”
He breaks into a big grin. “Oh, you need money? I can give you ten centavos!” And he flips a bronze-colored coin between his thumb and forefinger. I declined, politely, as I heard the change clanging around, and he wandered away, looking for someone else to help him out. Or help out. Because anyone who has to pay with change for the bus is apparently in need of a helping hand...

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