Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Americans No Die"

When I woke up for watch and learned that the 2nd Boston Marathon bomber was captured yesterday, I called my wife and asked her if she heard the news. She said "Yes. Nao I cooking deena."   Took me aback for a moment. The bombings happened about 15 miles from the Ant Farm, our home. In our backyard, as far as I'm concerned, being several hundred miles to the south just now. The bombings are a 9-day's wonder for me, as they should be. For Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife, however, violent disruptions of the way of life aren't quite as uncommon and note-worthy as they are to me, and she takes it in stride. Death, sudden or no, is not quite the same to a 3rd-world national as it is to us here.

      My wife comes from a gigantic family... I mean, like huge, and they track out to at least 4th cousins, too. No shit, at least once a month she calls me and says the exact same thing "Ai, honee, my couseen in Sao Paolo (Or Rio de Janeiro, or wherever) die today een an accident."  First off, my wife has 60 first cousins, all of whom she stays in some sort of contact with. Each successive ring of cousins grows in number. And in Brazil, just living your life is like taking part in a 'Final Destination' movie come to life. In the small city of Salvador in my wife's state within Brazil, I saw car crashes in a week within 1/2 mile of my hotel. Violent robbery is less pervasive, but has claimed one cousin already this year. They're dropping like flies, my cousins, except that the birth rate seems to compensate in the outer rings of cousins. The first cousins, though, are getting winnowed as they age.

     So, yeah, death is a more constant companion for a Brazilian girl, I guess. Lord knows, my wife has her share of dead ex-boyfriends from when she was a kid. Far as I know, she has one ex who lived. When we were dating, I was concerned I had latched onto a beautiful brown-skinned Black Widow, but it's just the New Normal at the B family residence now that I broke the mold and married outside the Scots/Irish gene pool.

 My wife and her friends joke about how Americans live forever. I credit this to our roads being safe, for the most part. I've driven in Brazil. Two words. MAD MAX.

Mel Gibson is my co-pilot. 

Between our roads and our health care system (bitch all you want. Everywhere else you die when you can't pay for a medical visit), my wife and her friends bemusedly look at the number of gray-haired fossils among us and say "Americans no die" sotto voce, like a wistful mantra.

My wife's (2nd) cousin has crashed two motorcycles, has a leg held together with staples and duct tape, and is pictured here swerving around a cow while we were going about 40. In what I swear is an unrelated note, this is the moment when I realized I should never wear white underwear ever again.

           So, now that she's a citizen, I expect my wife to be damn near immortal. She certainly isn't going to suffer from anxiety-related heart issues. I suspect that the joy and openness with which Brazilians take on each day has something to do with a greater awareness of the transitory nature of life. In many ways, I envy them that relaxed posture, but I gawk at how they manage it without going around full time in body armor and a hockey helmet.

1 comment:

HT said...

Good post Paul,I enjoyed reading it.