Monday, March 30, 2020

Cubans on their porches

Lynn has known that her grandmother grew up in Santiago, Cuba.  We had never been there and she wanted to go. So, in the first half of February, we went.  We found before we went that the internet would be iffy, hard to get, inconstant and expensive.  I usually spend hours on the computer and other connected devices every day but I usually don't write for Fear, Fun and Filoz while traveling.  The internet can be iffy and expensive. The trip was a good opportunity to practice internet abstention.

We landed in Santiago, on the opposite end of the Cuban island from Havana, a bigger and richer city.  We traveled slowly north, visiting cities on the way. In between, we saw many houses on small farms. Quite a few of the houses had front porches or open front doors or both.  I often saw people sitting on the porch in chairs or in the living room. The people were not using smartphones or doing any much. I was reminded of this story from a 2011 post:

Some people on a walk noticed a monk standing on a nearby hilltop.  "I wonder if he lost something up there?", one said. "Maybe he is lost", suggested another. After more talk, one of the group walked up and spoke to him.  "Are you lost?" "No." "Are you waiting for a friend?" "No." "Well, if you don't mind me asking, what are you doing?" "I'm standing here."

Steven Wright, that fascinating nut, says that sometimes he likes to go into a doctor's or dentist's waiting room and just wait. 

The Cubans reminded me that I don't need an activity or a conversation.  They showed me that people can be satisfied to simply sit. Several friends and authors have noted the special sense of calm from the coronavirus shutdown practices.  One said it is a time of totally NO expectations. Another said the freedom makes her feel like she felt as a little kid.

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