I dismounted my bike, grabbed a couple of dollars from my bike bag,
and started into the bakery. Coming up the sidewalk were four
young attractive women. A man walking into the bakery ahead of me,
stopped short, arching his back and his head at an awkward angle as he
gawked. I almost walked into him. I cleared my throat, "Ahem, con
permiso." I shook my head, wasn’t that the damnedest thing. He should’ve
taken a picture. It would have lasted longer.
I made my way to
the line in the panadería. It was just after eight o’clock in the
morning, the busiest time. The line was long, the bakery crowded. I
tried to get there earlier, but sometimes, you just can’t get out the
The young women, stepped into the bakery, chatting loudly,
giggling, carrying on. They were noticeable because they were all
dressed in filmy, revealing, noodle strap dresses, high heels, and an
unusual amount of makeup for so early in the morning. There were indeed
hot, and they were about to unleash their wiles on a bakery full of old
weak men. Poor devils.
bakery came to a complete
stand-still. It was like a television freeze frame, ala TJ Hooker. A
fifty-ish short balding man walking toward where I stood, muttered to
his friend, "… e gusta el lechón con gandules." I didn’t hear the
first part… Me, te (you), if it was a question or what… but the
point was clear. "Pork and pigeon peas" go well together in a sexual
way. The innuendo was unmistakable, and I tried to contain a smirk.
a Puerto Rican can say he likes pork meat and pigeon peas in a way that
connotes sex. I mused on comical variations, taking liberty, but
couldn’t push it to hyperbole in Spanish. I like marshmellows in my
coffee. I like ketchup on my burger. I like little toys with my happy
meal. And slowly, with feeling… I like salty… deep fried… artery
clogging, pork rinds mashed into gigantic mounds of green bananas.
Nope, just cannot push it far enough. Everything sounded sexual in
shook my head to myself, and watched the funny time warp
within the bakery. The women were standing directly behind me
in line, carrying on, obviously excited by the eyes burrowing holes in
their flimsy clothing. I had a good vantage point to observe the
leering, as I was directly in its line of site, and despite being clad
a bright red spandex skin suit, bike helmet, and
sunglasses, was completely invisible. I was a camouflaged nature
photographer, dressed in bright orange, invisible to the color-blind
wild beasts. It was absurd. It was hilarious. I continued to watch the
reactions from behind my bright blue lenses, the population of older
men visually undressing the
women with their unabashed desires and their longing gazes. These
have not even the tiniest slice of shame, their decorum thinly dressed
in colorful food metaphors.
I asked Esteban for a dozen eggs. "Esteban, I don’t have an egg carton today, do you think you could rig me something up?"
"Sure," he said as he proceeded to put the eggs in a paper bag.
"Um, do you think you could put them in a cardboard container? I’m on my bicycle. They’ll surely break in a paper bag."
"Oh, sorry, he proceeded to break down one of the cardboard trays used to deliver the eggs, and put it inside a plastic bag."
do you think you could put some plastic wrap around it. They’ll surely
fall out. Sorry for the bother. Next time I’ll be sure to bring my
"No bother, really. Service is why we are here." And he handed me five eggs crudely wrapped in plastic.
I wanted – Um, nevermind, good day." I wasn’t going to get my twelve
eggs today. The sirens had conspired with the gods to keep me from my