Loose Change

One night hubby and I clicked the numbers on the remote control hoping for a glimpse into the wonders of the natural world on NatGeo. Question marks appeared on the screen. We checked other nearby channels. Nada. Nothing. A message at the bottom of the screen informed us that the cable server had “rearranged” their grid of channels. Nobody consulted us. Where were our favorite channels? Just when we finally had the channel numbers engraved in our memories, they up and CHANGED them!

It’s like at the grocery store, when someone gets the brilliant idea to change the location of their products, and shopping takes an hour and a half instead of the usual hour. On my yearly visit back to my hometown, I head to a favorite shop and…it’s no longer there.

Slow changes, fast, surprising changes. Changes in our aging bodies. Stiffness getting out of the car. When did this happen?

The month of March charges in like a lion – not with cold or wind but with hordes of returning vacationers, massive traffic jams, Back-to-School frenzy and mind-boggling bureaucracy: income tax preparation and car license renewal. Yesterday I sat in a line for six hours to renew the yearly technical revision/smog control for my car. (My fault. I’d let it lapse.)

While I was stopped at a red light, a grizzled beggar approached wearing on his thin frame an over-sized blue tee-shirt with bright yellow letters declaring “Virginia State”. His eyes twinkled when he thanked me for the coins I handed him out the window.

Last week booming, house-rattling claps of thunder and flashes of lightning in the night. Usual in Florida but not in Santiago, Chile midsummer. Two nights ago the Villarrica volcano presented a pyrotechnic show, spewing red hot lava down its flanks. Add a few daily tremors up and down this long country and it’s clear why Chileans call their country the land of geografía loca, “crazy geography.

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