a wandering woman writes

Thursday, July 14, 2005

House guest

I had a surprise house guest last night.

This morning, as I was frantically typing emails at my laptop, I had the oddest feeling that somebody else was in the house. I live in a big, rambling apartment with paper thin walls, so I told myself the little rustling sounds were coming from next door and set back to work, rolling my eyes at these wax paper walls. (Paper walls, which, without letting you in on my neighbors' secrets, if they have any left, I can assure you I have experienced more up-close and personal than I'd care to.)

But after an hour of rustling, curiosity got the best of me and I followed the noise down the hallway into the bedroom.

And there I found a sweet, fat little bird, sitting calmly on my huge marble windowsill, staring out at the world he longed to join!

The window was closed. In fact, all of the windows in the house were closed. I had left a window open (to let out a fly who had spent the afternoon hanging inside and refused to leave, actually!) for a few hours last night, then closed it when I turned in about midnight.

My guest was reasonably calm (grateful perhaps? I try to be a good hostess) and simply ducked into the closet for a moment while I cleared a few plants out of his way and opened the window for him.

So where was he all night? Did he really find a place to sleep, or wait, or shiver with terror, or think about how'd he tell the guys back in the church eaves next door about this one? Did I pull off a Snow White scene with him on the other pillow without knowing it? I wake at anything, and I didn't hear him until morning.

Ah, the ways my new home is changing me....

Walking toward the Plaza Mayor on my breakfastless way to a meeting this morning, I checked for change in my bag - passionately debating the "croissant or no croissant" question as the scent of chocolate wafted out the croisantería - and I sent 10 or 12 coins tumbling along the Rua.

And then I saw myself, can't-be-late-and-never-have-shown-any-respect-for-money- dropped-or-otherwise Me, stop to pick up every coin, even the tiny .01 euros, just to avoid putting my fellow citizens out. Because, without stopping to think, I knew if I missed one someone would chase me down with it, even if it made him late. I knew from the experiences a disorganized clutz experiences that if I didn't get them all, some poor Salmantino would feel compelled to retrieve and return 50 cents.

My mother, who spent years trying to accomplish the same thing by repeating "Take care of your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves" as often as humanly possible, will be thrilled.



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