Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some Enchanted Evening

Although the day was supposedly blistering hot, I was only exposed to it for very brief moments. Papa Seed picked me up in our air conditioned vehicle. Normally I hate air conditioning about as much as I hate heat, but yesterday it seemed the better of the two options. We picked Mancub up from the friend's house he had spent the night at, and the friend came with him to spend the night at our house.

This thing where the teenagers always want to spend the night at one another's homes is so confusing to me, but I guess I'm finally getting used to it. Based on the conversations with the women at work (my own private version of "The View"), it is the popular thing to do these days. I can't think of anything I would have liked less when I was that age.

Papa Seed and I took off to Cafe Rozella. I read about the place not long after we moved to this neighborhood and it sounded like my kind of coffee house, but we had yet to go there. In fact, although we had driven close to it many times, I didn't even see it until three days ago. It is on something that is not quite a street, not quite an alley, not quite a parking lot, but a bit of all three. When I found out that they had live music and outside tables I knew I'd have to check it out.

It went beyond expectations. The band was setting up when we arrived, and the place was empty, but it is a small, funky, inviting place where we instantly felt at home. Plus, and life doesn't get any better than this, they had fresh, hot tamales for sale. We ended up buying nine to split, just the two of us. Papa Seed thought he was buying six (two of each) but somehow got confused. We managed to down them all without a problem. To quench the thirst we had Iced Mexican Mochas, and sat at a table outside. I was a bit worried about the heat, since anything over 40 degrees causes me extreme discomfort and turns me into a raging lunatic, but it was totally comfortable - in fact, I'd call it "very pleasant". The cafe has black and white photos on the wall of Hemingway, Che, Kerouac, Diego Rivera and other folks along those lines. There is a framed color photo of a shirtless Daniel Day Lewis, and art for sale. A full case of tasty treats, and comfortable furniture. Again, very inviting.

The singer was Alma Villegas, and she has a gorgeous voice. Her back-up trio were flawless. Wonderful music. The audience slowly built - aging leftists, families, younger folks - a really interesting mix of folks you don't often see together.

We left after the second set - we had a house with two teenagers and two hungry dogs to get back to, and as we got ready to leave a man who looked familiar came over to say hi, and asked if I remembered him. I said he looked familiar, but said I was having a hard time remembering where I know him from. As it turns out, he was one of my "students" when I was a volunteer at Casa Latina well over a decade ago.

Teaching English as a Second Language to Spanish speaking day laborers was my favorite job of all the paid and volunteer jobs I've ever had. I loved everything about the job, and I've often wondered (and worried) about the students. When P~ told me that is where he knew me from, and he thanked me for helping him (his English is perfect now), it was incredible. Very moving, even for a rusty curmudgeon like myself. We exchanged emails, and I asked him if he might be interested in helping me with Spanish. He said he would. It made my night, which was already off to a pretty great start.

At home we put on the Pantaleimon's beautiful "Heart of the Sun" CD, relaxed and read, and finally crawled into bed - the fan blowing right on us - around midnight. Only had to tell the boys to turn down the video games twice. A very good night.

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