When They’re Bad, They’re Bad

Rosa Martinez

Photo from Guantanamo City by Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 16 — The day promised to be calm and peaceful.  The sun was radiant in a way that hadn’t been seen since the rain began here in eastern Cuba.

Tania got up full of energy.  She dressed quickly so that she could stop by the library before heading on to class.  But her brother stopped her before leaving the house and ripped the cover of her social studies book for the class “The World in which We Live, her favorite subject.

“Was he just pulling her chain?” I wondered.

Tania screamed at him, scaring two-year-old Tonito, who began to cry.

We were all heading for the door when my husband asked my mother for a pair of tweezers that he needed, but no one knew where they were.

“These kids can’t keep anything.   Now I don’t know where to put anything,” he huffed.

“Well, well…the morning is starting to get complicated,” I thought to myself.

I finally left the house with my characteristic smile and headed for the bus stop (fortunately we have someone who takes the children to the school and to the daycare center).  At the stop I was waiting to catch a bus, a car…even an airplane.  I’m always ready to take anything to get to work whenever such unpleasant incidents occur.

When a horse drawn cart finally pulled up, a young want-to-be passenger offended the driver; I don’t know why.  But as soon as he insulted him, this same guy climbed up with the intention of taking things to the next level.  The driver, about 50, barely paid any attention to him until he saw the intruder approaching him.  So, the transportation employee then pulled out an enormous knife.  The pedestrian thought twice and backed down.  Fortunately everything ended with that.

The curious onlookers who had gathered around finally left, and the only people left were those of us interested in getting a ride.

A few minutes later I got on a comfortable but jam-packed bus.  Shortly later, a woman asked the driver to stop.

“But I just stopped three blocks back,” said the driver, visibly irritated.  “Why didn’t you get off back there?”

“I didn’t get off there because I’m getting off here, not three blocks back.  What’s your problem?” the woman snapped back – loudly.  “I paid my peso, so I can get off wherever I please,” she continued.

The driver then mumbled, calling her a witch, an old madwoman, and I don’t know how many other expletives before he eventually came to a stop.

The woman finally got off, but not without first yelling: “You big black fool!

At long last I made it to my job and had barely entered my department when my boss asked me in an aggressive tone, “Why are you getting in so late?”

Before I could speak, she caught herself: “Forget it.  I’m sorry.  It’s just that this day has started out terribly for me.  My mother woke up arguing for no reason; my husband didn’t wait for me… But what am I telling you all this for?”

I went over to my desk and said to myself, “Oh baby, let me tell you!”