Monday, November 15, 2010

An Ode to Susan Elle

I offer this blog post in humble tribute to my noble comrade in the struggle, Susan Elle. She who brazenly threw to the wind the warnings and admonishments of those citizens who counselled her to stay in at night, for fear of assailants, and set out into the dark streets of Barrio Moravo to befriend all of those who might therein be lurking. Jesus-like, she reached out to all she found there; in her eyes, no one was too young or too dirty or too stoned. Ah, that we all might show such disregard for the dictates that demarcate decency! And so Susan, in her indiscriminate ambling, came to know and be known by all of the barrio, gangsters and housewives alike. To know, if not by name, at least by face. To be known by name, namely "gringa loca": she who cotemns the customary feminine comportment. She who by so doing gained that elusive, coveted freedom to meander aimlessly about the streets, saluting those gangsters who have beaten their swords of "Give me your money" into the (idle) plowshares of "Oy, Susan!"

Oh Susan, she who rules the third-grade B class with an iron fist. Who rigidly enforces her schedule irrespective of the arbitrary ringing of recess and dismissal bells, stubbornly refusing to submit to the subdirector's caprices in determining exactly when her students will commence and terminate their learning. She comes home to lament her lack of control over the devils, yet remains revered by all the teachers for the discipline she imposes in the classroom, her voice at times rising to such a sonority as can be heard by the nuns in the neighboring convent. Would that she had had a class of students from the beginning of the year, so as to mold the young breed to her expectations over a longer course of time. The result, I've no doubt, would have been quite remarkable.

While at times, like the rest of Puerto, I find myself bewildered by her propensity for the culturally inapropos, I cannot but admire her ability to elicit affection from all corners. Following the example of Christ, she who makes and divides the bread in our house has garnered quite a following from the people in the streets. I can only hope that I shall be recalled with such fondness after departing this place.

In other news, I'm reading and very much enjoying Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

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