These last few days we’ve been getting hassled by one of our neighbours: a small French Poodle or some similar type of canine. Her name is Maya and she’s just given birth to three puppies, one of them still born. Ever since she seems to have completely lost all common sense and engages in weird digging activities under our bed and in the corners of the room. She has also lost all control of her generally very well-behaved attitudes regarding human food. Her voice has changed, too, and basically she’s become a serious nuisance. I found her still-born the next day in one of the very few existing public rubbish bins across the road. Our landlady had made one of her tenants discard it for her. He’s a native, he can do such things.
Apart from that, the days are arising and passing as ever, thankfully with relative speed, and Christmas announces its twisted head through the unignorable appearance of woolly red and white Santa Claus hats at every street corner! We find ourselves near the equator, at the edge of the Amazon rainforest should anyone have missed that. Woolly hats aren’t exactly what people need around here. But given the fact that Father Christmas is a radically European figure with no relation whatsoever to Andean-Amazonian local traditions, it is no wonder that the hats peddled in his name are all the rage.
Since the solstices at these low latitudes are hardly noticeable, Christmas seems an even greater Christian imposition than it does up North. The economically downtrodden position of most inhabitants of this area, however, spares us from witnessing the seasonal and nauseating consumption of everything that can be bought. I don’t know if “fortunately” is the word I am looking for in this context. It is easy to see subsistence farming as righteous and dignified when you cannot help but feel acute and stabbing pointlessness in the roles and activities modern capitalism has to offer to even its most benign participants.