I’m walking the dog at 8:30 a.m., while also double tasking: I’m headed to the farmacia for medicina. My back is killing me (see previous post on yoga class) and I can’t take it anymore: a heating pad can only do so much.
As we walk, I’m formulating what to say…
“Mi espalda, me duele.”
Wait, no, en espanol, you don’t use possessive pronouns for body parts.
“La espalda me duele.”
Better. But then I wonder: It it less gringa sounding to say it in reverse, “me duele la espalda?” F*ck it, I decide, the pharmacist will still understand me, especially if I resort to putting my hand on my back and groaning — the international symbol for “extreme back pain.”
While I ponder this, two women and their fluffball Maltese/poodle dog approach me and ask me something. Typical of my morning grogginess, I don’t really notice that they’re speaking to me, but I do catch the last word: “perrito.” Ah, it’s the question I get all the time: “Que raza es su perrito?”
The fluffball drops the stick he was holding in his mouth and starts sniffing Charlie. “Huh. Oh, shih-tzu.” I try to say this with an accent, not like a gringa. They understand me (whew) and keep walking, and I hear them saying “que hermoso, no?”
I get to the farmacia, and use what I finally decided on: “La espalda me duele muchissimo. Necesito un buen medicina!” (said with a very sad face, so he understands: Estoy muy triste porque la espalda me duele! )
While I secretly hope for something potent (codeine! codeine! codeine!), he hands me a box of crema that has a photo of a person with a clearly aching back — exactly like the posture I planned to mime if he didn’t understand me. “Perfecto!” I say, and also ask for ibuprofena. (Looks similar to English, right? But the pronunciation is of course, entirely different).
As we’re walking back to my apartment, a woman stops me. “Disculpeme, Donde esta el restaurante Matisse?”
Oof. I know where it is, but we live in a neighborhood that used to be an old racetrack — it has two streets that loop in a big circle. She was on the wrong side of the loop, meaning she was on the right street, just on the wrong side. It would take 30 minutes to walk there if she stayed on the loop, but only 10 if she crossed the park. I can’t think of any vocabulary (shittily, I don’t know the words for “loop” or “circle”) so I try to tell her exactly what she needs to do.
“Va adelante,” I say, pointing to the park, “Y vuele a la derecha en Amsterdam.” She seems grateful, if not confused, since she’s already on Calle Amsterdam. She teeters off, her heels scratching on the concrete sidewalk. Charlie growls at the noise de los tacones.
All this…. and I still hadn’t enjoyed any coffee/cafe yet.