So there are perros all over this town, in various social orders. In the city, dogs can be seen sitting at the cafe table or lounging at a plaza. Outside the nicer areas, even the strays have castes and I am reminded of the animated movie Oliver and Co. that was based on the Dickens´ novel Oliver Twist. I have seen my share of Fagans running around and I know there are many Olivers following behind.

There are signs.
First you will see bars on windows.
Then you will see bars on the doors, too, and bars surrounding the stores. There are cars on the street that are missing hubcaps, bumpers, windows, wheels. Car exoskeletons. Car bones. Stray dogs. You will bump over a pothole, then three, then you will be lucky if there is any road that remains. Eventually you will hit dirt, of course.

One thing I did not consider is having someone cook for me twice a day for seven weeks. Breakfast is at 8:10am and there is a rule in the house that says you get a ten minute grace period but really you need to be ready by 8:10. This morning I walked out and saw a plate set out and tea set out and silverware all shiny and lined up. After standing around with my book for five minutes, I sat at the seat adjacent and began writing in my journal. My host, my cook, my personal chef sighed in exasperation for she had been waiting for me to sit down.

I have been in Argentina for almost 24 hours. Wow.
While it has not yet been a full day, I have still learned quite a few things.
For instance, no matter what country you are in, McDonald´s is the best place to go for an emergency bathroom run.
Crazy dogwalkers with 9 leashes wrapped around their wrists can be found in any city, though in B.A. the dogs all have their balls dragging on the ground.

In movies, the daughter or the granddaughter or the niece walks into the room and sees a perfectly made hospital bed and immediately knows. She sits down on the bed, with her blubbering and her honking stifled by her shuddering hands, and she mourns what has passed. Who has passed. Or maybe the woman rages at the empty room, knocking over IV poles or a lamp, calling out for her lost loved one.

So there is this girl. She comes to the house on Christmas but she doesn't remember why she ever liked coming to the house. It is not warm, it does not have enough walls, and the doors are broken. Broken doors that never stay shut and are always letting in a draft. The walls are grey, like they used to be black but they have faded or are dingy with age. She sits at the dinner table but does not stay seated for too long because she cannot stand the sight of the gluttonous piles of food. Yellow, white, brown, yellow—the piles of food almost touch.

Dear Homeless Man that sits under my work awning,
I gave you a sleeping bag, some snacks, and my friendship for over a year. My co-workers do not believe in your cast and that statement alone bugs me. Ditch the cast if and when you are healed, or don't . . .but promise me you will try to lose the habit. I do not see your wheelchair, Dave, or your cane or your threadbare foot wrap, but I do see your grinding teeth. But, Dave, I also see your eyes and the light that trickles through the cracks.
Thanks for always calling me "pretty lady".

And then there is the girl who laughs too hard, too loud. Too loudly. Like she used to sit in her room, on her flowered window seat and practice. Her blue My Little Pony in her left hand and her right hand gesturing along with her laughs for emphasis, she has seen others do this before. Extending her laugh, taking deep breaths before so she can make it last longer. She is little but she hopes others will see her as big when they hear just how funny they are to her.