Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Carlos Huertas

"Carlos Huertas es el problema. El no puede manejar ni un centavo," his son Carlitos says. The tomato farm is in financial trouble because apparently Carlos (to be distinguished from the other Carlos I work with at the lecheria) wastes money on things he buys for himself. My interactions with Carlos have been, well, interesting. I have never seen him actually work on his farm, only drive the truck full of packaged tomatoes once. Our interactions have been in his kitchen, where we have eaten lunch or breakfast together, while he is always wearing his big puppy dog slippers. I never quite know how to respond to him, and he always makes me slightly uncomfortable. After we sit down, he shakes my hand and asks me, "Quiere una cerveza?" and looks at me seriously, I say no thanks, in case he wasn't joking, and his eyes still set on my face for a second too long, looking for something he isnt getting from me, before he grins as if laughing to himself like he is pleased at himself for making me uneasy. Today, during lunch, he asked me if I liked wine, and I said yes, and he proceeded to grab a bottle of wine out of the fridge (Cuanto vale? Joanna asks. 25 dollars) and pour me not a wine glass of wine, but almost a whole glass glass of wine. He also always tries to get me to eat meat without fail. I explained that I was a vegetarian, and here I wasn't used to eating meat. Carlos takes a huge bite of steak, and says, "Mmmmm. You can accustom yourself to eating meat." The table hangs off the side of the wall, and is very narrow, so that the edges of our plates are touching across from each other. After eating everything on his plate, he gives his plate back to his wife, Joanna, to fill with more food. His eyes get wide, and he states, "Tengo mucha hambre," as if he is indeed a hungry beast. Today, half of the cabbage was sitting on the table from the salad, and he cut it into two quarters, picked one up, and bit the end off. Quiere mas ensalada? Joanna asks. He shakes his head, mouth full. He downs the rest of his glass of beer and treads back to his room in his slippers to watch TV.

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