All too frequently I experience moments in which I don’t feel human. Every day I feel like one of those race dogs you occasionally see in American movies.
I go around feeling incredibly similar to a hungry Greyhound waiting in their stall for the starter pistol to fire to then take off — along with other dogs — coursing after the bait: a mechanical hare that can never be caught.
I can’t come up with any other comparison to the interminable circumstance of always chasing after some basic day-to-day product. Right now, the “hare” I’m chasing all over the city is a floorcloth for mopping my apartment.
Prior to that is was a bottle of cooking oil, preceded by a dozen eggs. Before that it was a few pounds of potatoes, rice, beans, and powdered milk – behind which were so many other products.
Sometimes I think this notion of a “dog race” is not at all coincidental; on the contrary, I think it’s been carefully orchestrated by the government itself.
If we hadn’t gone for more than twenty years without this ever-pressing need to be running behind at least one vital product, we would have had much more time to analyze the true origins of these and other essential shortcomings.
If I had had the time, I would have pondered questions like why I don’t have Internet access. Why cellphones are so expensive. Why I can’t travel abroad. Why taxes are so high if the streets never get fixed. Why I can’t buy anything of value on my salary and why water’s so scarce.
I should explain that these “whys” never leave us; on the contrary, we’re the ones who have to put them on the back burner to focus all our energy on the “hare of the moment.”
Because of all this, I think the constant shortage of staples in Cuba is a strategy to provide a diversion for us hybrid canine-humans, which is how we end up feeling. But we give these thoughts little time – we’re too busy chasing the basics.