Diary of a John Doe

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Chapter 4: March 16, Last Year

Good morning, doc! How have you been?

Nice, doc, I'm fine, too, thanks God!

Yeah, doc, come closer! Wow! How have you been, doc? It's been a while since I saw you passing by. I even told the brothers about it. They said they hadn't seen you, either. I admit I thought that something happened to you, my goodness! First I thought you had gone away.

Yeah, gone to move somewhere else; all of a sudden you and the missus didn't like it in here anymore, or a better opportunity showed up, it's life. But then, you know how our heads work. I started to think silly things: that you had health problems, or maybe got into an accident, or other things that it's best not to talk about, things of an idle mind.

Ah, work! What a thing, doc! I thought so many things but not the most likely: work! But I know how it is. A total rush, isn't it? Even if it's still the beginning of the year, Carnival is barely gone; hehe, but work's work and I see you are requested a lot. But today's Saturday and a day off, isn't it?

Ah, doc, sorry for meddling this much in your life. Now I realized the many questions I'm asking you, that I am here annoying you and meddling in your life, thinking and not thinking of what I have nothing to do with, I'm really sorry, doc! I think I got carried away with our talks and crossed the line, that's right. Wow, hehe!

Thank you very much, you are really, really nice, doc.

And how was the Carnival, doc? Did you travel?

That's right, doc, you have to take a chance to rest. Not only off of work do men live, but for work and due rest is necessary - and hard, isn't it? Hehe! So you must probably have heard about all the fuss around here. Dear Lord, what a fuss! People partied hard every day, stayed up all night; those have stamina to give away. The Forró club over there was all for samba, no Forró, hehe. Well, it began with samba, right, but then there were all sorts of music these kids listen to, some very odd things, to tell you the truth, but youth is different now, isn't it? And they drink too much, hehe, each one worse than the last one, one that couldn't even stand still, wanted to lean on another that could barely walk.

It's true, doc, but we laughed a lot, hehe, quietly, but we laughed a lot.

Not me, doc. I'm not into Carnival, oh no. Actually, I never was, not even when I was a kid, or a teenager, and not even now. I always thought Carnival days were good to take some rest, like you did. I don't like the mess very much, the bunch of people cramped, trying to frisk in the said Carnival. What I liked a little were the marchinhas5, but they don't exist anymore, they're gone, and tell you what, those kids now don't even know or heard of a single marchinha, believe me. What I think is pretty are the parades. People do it thoroughly, it's very nice all they do. It's not that easy, but when we can, especially in the morning, we can see a piece of the parades right there at Mr. Nitwit's, and it's very pretty. Yesterday, there was another man there saying the parade at Anhembi was one of the best. To tell you the truth, I think it was indeed, doc. We watched some parts and it was very nice indeed. Actually, I think every year it gets better, people learn more things, come up with some other things, and everything gets even prettier – true beauty. I like that but the noise and the dancing, I don't, hehe. But I'm not one of those who rant because of Carnival, who say it's the devil's doing, that it's from indecent people. Nothing like that, doc, it just doesn't amuse me. It amuses a lot of people and it's fine, everyone goes after what pleases them, right? I like that word, hehe. And if you really think, doc, Carnival even helps: how many people make their living from that? You see, now, right now, at this very moment we're talking here, you can be sure that there are already a lot of people working for next year's Carnival! Can you imagine, a year in advance! They're barely done with this one and are already preparing for the next one. So, there are these people who work the whole year, marketing people, television people, the ones that assist the tourists - hotels, tour guides, buses - businesses go insane because of the gadgets; the peddlers that, as you know, come out of nowhere to every single place selling every single trend - hehe, they're such quick people - and then there's still the cleaning people and these have heavy work, but they don't earn much and, look, filth is what Carnival has the most. What we lack are people to clean it. You see there, all that pile is of Carnival remainders, but it wasn't the prefecture that piled it up, it was the people from the businesses.

Yes, that's right, doc, that's why I say there are few people at cleaning. The prefecture could really hire more people during this time, then Carnival would help the city even more and it wouldn't be filthy like that. But the pushcarts pulled by people are already on their way, oh yes!

"Ai! Barracão, pendurado no morro... pah pah pah, pahpah pah pah"6, now that's a good one, doc, hehe.

What is it, doc? But... But, doc... You shouldn't bother! Oh my God, doc, thank you so much! My goodness, how long it's been since I last ate a cake.

Oh, really? Your missus made it? Dear Lord! Say thanks to her for me, doc! What a nice woman! Thank you very much, really, I can't believe it, the brothers are going to be happy to eat a cake like this today. And what a big piece, hehe! It would be nice to invite you to eat with us, but you understand, right?

Hehe, that's good, doc! I'll keep it in my stuff here for later...

So much raining these days, isn't it, doc? Oh my! I saw on the television at the bakery that it flooded streets all over. They say there were people who lost their cars, people who lost their television, fridge, radio, every little thing... There were people who lost their houses and people who lost other people! Dear Lord, doc, everything's changed. It's freezing cold when it should be hot weather, hot when it should be cold, nonstop raining; it even looks like they've lifted all the rivers and they are now pouring down on us. What's tough is that we don't hear from the buddies that were out of here. That's not good. I’m not speaking of the brothers, but of other buddies that stay here. Why? News spread and if they didn't it's because there was no one to tell them. God save them, but when it's like this, it's because buddies all around must have gotten their fingers burned. I don't even like to think about it. I'd rather think they went to some prefecture shelter, but that's not what comes into my mind.

Me? No, doc, thanks God I've never had problems with the heavy raining. Actually, I was never unlucky to end up in a bad place for the rain. In fact, I did have luck, but I checked well, too. If I noticed the place was dangerous and could avoid it, I would avoid it, even more if it were rainy weather. Now, there's no specific time for anything, hehe! But there are a lot who suffer, doc, that I already saw. Imagine the guy, working like a dog to get only a few bucks that can barely buy his children milk, and then, one day, there comes the rain - yes, the rain, God's doing - and it comes at full force, angry, merciless and pitiless, and strikes everything down, gets into the guy's house without an invitation, the door not even being open. It spreads, it seeps into everything that's dry, everything that even his whole life wasn't enough to pay entirely, and it ruins it, doc, it destroys it. You know what water causes inside a house, and the guy ends up with nothing. In minutes, his whole life goes down the drain - ah, that's no funny pun - and what remains? Nothing! Starting over again, but how? What mindset on? I admire those who can, at least, stand on their feet after such tumbling from life. Those are true heroes, those are real men, a "manly guy". I think to myself - not that I wish anyone's misfortune, it's not in me - but this only happens when the poor thing has already suffered enough to have almost nothing left. It doesn't happen to the rich guy who has everything and more to start over whenever he needs. I don't get it, doc, sometimes some thoughts come to my mind that I'm even angry at myself, but I can tell you: why do those who suffer are doomed to suffer even more? Why do others have so much luck in life that it’s like the one's disgrace: it grows even more! I try to comfort myself thinking that it's men's doing, the way life is lived. But, doc, rain comes from God, not from men. And it's right there that my heart tightens with such sinful thoughts: is God so bad that he wants others to suffer and makes everything to make sure of it? Is it that he finds it funny and keeps joking? Or is it some punishment the guy has to endure? But I've already met so many nice people that suffer for who knows what reason. God forgive me, doc, but those aren't thoughts I want for me, thoughts that I thought myself, but they come out of nowhere, without willing to, and it seems that the more I want them to go away, the further they take me! My goodness, God have mercy, I don't want to think about it, I don't believe it is like that. I have to keep on believing God knows what He does and that I am way too ignorant to understand things, especially God's things. That's right, God knows what He does, oh yes, God knows...

And you, doc, how have you been doing with the raining? Has it caught you on your way?

Ah yes, the subway really helps a lot, doesn't it? At least you evade the rain and the floods, even if you ride it slowly and crowded these days, but it's already a great relief, right. But everything depends on where the person lives and where they work, doesn't it? There are lots of people that can't use the subway, they have to venture on buses, in cars, and face the floods, get stuck in traffic. And on the bus is worse, isn't it? Because besides being crowded, it has to face the floods; now, in the car is cozier, and there are so many awesome cars that pass by, they must be cozier than a couch at home, hehe! But it's not that easy. There are people who traverse the whole city to go to work, wake up at dawn, get off work late and still ride these things to go back home. They arrive almost in time to wake up again. It's not in vain that a lot of people get out of their minds. We here notice how they get by the end of the day, all nervous, honking, nearly running over everyone, that insanity. And I ask you: have you ever thought on how they get when they get home? Even the dog pays the price of what it didn't do, hehe! We joke, but it's serious, nervousness and lack of consideration, or even better, nervousness and carelessness are deeper under everyone's skin. People fight, hit, curse, and even kill for such silly things. Beasty human or human beast, I don't even know anymore... Actually, nobody does, right? Real beasts don't do it like that; they come from hunting and, bringing food or not, lick their family. Beasts don't fight with other beasts for nothing. They fight for their den, for their females. Today, everyone fights with everybody for nothing, doc, they fight at the bakery, fight at the drugstore, fight at the newsstand and, mostly, fight in the bar, hehe! You know that bar with the blue hood, across the street?

Yes, right at the Caramuru intersection. So, there are epic tussles there, doc, hehe... People get excited there, keep drinking, having fun, but then get off limits and then the yelling starts, the cursing and then the wrestling and tussling. There was even stabbing and some say the guy died in the ambulance, other say he didn't die but never showed up again.

Oh no, you can rest assured, doc, it was a long time ago, I wasn't even here, I know it because they told me so. But the difference of those guys is that they may fight today but they'll be back here tomorrow to start it all over again as if nothing happened. Yes, doc, you can laugh, these guys are funny.

What I really pity are those families that suffer from such nervousness: stress, isn't it? Hehe, now it has a fancy name, oh my... Rich man's disease, trendy disease, that I call lack of mannerisms, lack of respect! No, no! I'm not saying that this belongs only to who is nervous, but it starts at those that make people nervous. At least, that's what I think: there are some that have no manners or respect so they think they can put themselves above others, above the feelings and dignity of others that already have so much more to worry about. Well, then it is that piling up mess that keeps expanding, and who pays the price, doc? That's right, family, friends, the baker, the dog, and then comes the booze and other much more complicated things, hehe, oh yes. I know what it's like...

Ah, yes, I know, doc, hehe. You realized from the way I speak, didn't you? Yeah, doc... Life is not easy... I wasn't born here in the streets... Yeah... We go through some stuff, and when we think we've already gone through the worst, life comes and shows us that it's not even the beginning... Oh no... Oh, yes...

No, no, doc! No problem, I can talk about it, c'mon! I have nothing to hide and what's done is done, there is nothing I can do and I don't think I need to hide it, mostly because you've been so kind to me. I'm just embarrassed to annoy you with my story when there are so many good things in this life, hehe.

No, I understand you and your goodwill, it's just it's nothing worth being proud of, but it's fine, of course we can... Oh, sure, doc, feel free, you can answer it...

Come on, doc, don't worry! For real! You go and assist the missus because she deserves your attention, hehe. Yes, yes, we can talk some other time and I'll tell you, oh yes... Best wishes and see you when I see you!

Ah, doc! Thank you for the cake and thank the missus for me, please, hehe.

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