Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Impunity of The Green

Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan

My friend was driving while I, at his side, enjoyed the rarity of traveling through Havana by car.  Dusk was falling and we crossed 41st and 42nd to catch 23rd Avenue in Vedado. Suddenly a Lada stopped pompously in the middle of 41st, blocking our way, and all those who were behind us.

I saw my friend’s hand impulsively reach for the horn while his eyes, following more rational orders, were focused on the license plate of the “Lord of the Street.” It only took a few seconds for his fingers to slip slowly, noiselessly, to his thighs.  I said sarcastically, “The impunity of the green.”

But he looked at me with eyes so full of sadness that it turned my sarcasm into a sadistic act. I felt badly.

In slow motion he moved the gear shift to reverse. With the “poof, poof, poof” of the exhaust pipe, we changed lanes very slowly, passing next to a soldier who didn’t even realize that there was a long line stuck behind him, as he chatted quietly.

I didn’t manage to see his face but his wristwatch lit up the whole street, just like Pedro Navaja's* tooth.

Disclaimer: The green license plates belong to the cars owned by the Ministry of Interior.

*Translator’s note: "Pedro Navala" is a Spanish version of the song “Mack the Knife”; “Peter Knife” has a gold tooth that shines brilliantly when he laughs.


Unknown said...

Note that Claudia was traveling with a 'she' friend in the original Spanish.

But 'she' looked at me with eyes ...
and ... reach for the horn while 'her' eyes... and so on. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I understand completely, the need to know who you are honking the horn at, is far more important in your country, then any reason for honking your horn.

marc in calgary