MY SECOND MORNING IN LA PUNTA (AND FIRST MEETING WITH MARIA FERNANDA BADÖ)

SATURDAY JANUARY 14, 2017
I arrived early in the morning to Cafe Ole.  The waitress asked me in Spanish if I wanted to sit over there, pointing at the the third table in a column of four that paralleled the sandy street. 

When I appeared confused she repeated herself loudly, slowly punctuating each word, in the way that one might go about bullying a dim witted child. Her eyes were fierce, and her clear skin was the same color as the dirt here.  This color can be approximated by imagining terra cotta pottery glowing in the light of a near tropical sun as it sets.  She had freckles as well, on the bridge of her nose, and on the same places that nineteen eighties baseball players apply eyeblack.

Why had she been so enraged? Did she find the image of me pretentious. I was dressed in striped knee high wicked witch of the west socks, board shorts, and a t shirt about Scout Finch and National Bohemian Beer, while carrying a black writing journal in my left hand. I hate me a little bit as I read that back.

Or was she angry because when we first met each other wordlessly, only a minute or two before this one, I was distracted by that breezy waif who had a Madonna lyric for one of her tattoos. I really don't know.

When she brought me my breakfast she smiled brightly, remarked how good the coffee and huevos mexicana would be, and how quickly they'd arrived. I thanked her without smiling, and she told me her name was Maria.