Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Assignment #7

          He laid his head back on the burnt-orange tiles, his eyes closed and his head neck deep in the warm, effervescent water.  He has dark curly hair that bounces around his head and ears carelessly, smooth white skin interrupted only by his faintly grown out mustache and goatee.  I couldn’t help but to imagine him as a rich drug lord, lounging in his private pool somewhere in South America.  All he needed was a gold neck chain and the picture was complete.  I leaned into him and whispered my daydream fantasy into his ear.  The fictional imagination was scoffed off by a quiet chuckle; his eyes not concerned enough to open.  I quieted the illusive musing and fixed my gaze on the bather next to us. 
            He was an older gentleman, seated beside a middle-aged woman (they would prove their romantic status as they exited the pool; he touching her intimately, possessively, his hand at her hip).  He had white, thinning hair, and a slender gold chain encircling his neck.  I immediately felt embarrassed by my earlier story, its very centerpiece a gold neck chain, and its protagonist a drug dealer.  I trusted that the jets were loud enough that I was not overheard, and averted my gaze.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Assignment #6

         We sat near the front of the pool this time, where the bubbles emitted from an underwater jet massage your back and drown out anything you are saying simultaneously. Bathers were seated shoulder to shoulder, and the waiting list was 19 people long.  I had opted for a long, high ponytail rather than the usual bun-and my ends of my hair continuously dipped into the salty water each time I threw my head back in laughter.
I was cradled in his arms, like a bride being ushered into the honeymoon suite, and the embrace, in full view of the other soakers, made me self-conscious.  Not because of the attention it drew to us, attention I welcome, enjoy even.  Because of the submissiveness of the position, the image of passive femininity it displayed.  I swung my legs slowly through the water until I was seated in his lap.  His arms enveloped my body, pulled me into him, and pressed my bare back against his exposed stomach.  We sat there for a few moments, silent, enjoying the pressure and bubbles desperately trying to burst in between us. 
A girl, not much older than I and seemingly dressed, pushed through the changing room door and into the steamy mist that surrounded the pool.  She moved to the rack of towels and stood facing it, her back to us and the pool.  She slowly began to pull her sweatshirt off-I was entranced. Her back was smooth and nutty brown, the pale pink of her swimsuit strap complementing her natural coloring.  Her figure was thin, but favorably so-she had a waist and a mild curve at the base of her back.  Her sweatshirt was pulling over her head, releasing her dark brown, wavy hair a few strands at a time down her back, stopping just above her swimsuit strap.  She gently tossed the sweatshirt to the ground, and the moment was gone.  I looked away.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No Shoes? No Problem.

It was morning, and there I was, sitting on the MAX. It was a particularly rainy fall day, everything seemingly normal. Other students were headed to campus, men and women off to jobs, and starting the day.
He was reading a book.  He was obviously a student.  He had donned a "Portland State" shirt, in the indicative forest green color, as well as a pair of khaki Dickies.  He had a shoulder strap backpack flung around him, headphones plugged in his ears.
He wasn't wearing shoes.
I did a double take, and my first impression proved correct: he wasn't wearing any shoes!
The MAX ambled from stop to stop, until finally it stopped at PSU.  As everyone heaved themselves up and started toward the door, I positioned myself behind him.  We stepped out into the windy rain sodden streets, and I poked him in the back, "is there any reason why you aren't wearing any shoes?"
He took one headphone out, and I repeated the question.
"It is more comfortable this way" he explained.
"Even in the rain?" I exclaimed.
He laughed, "yep."
And there you have it. He wasn't wearing any shoes!

Assignment #5

          The steam rises from the pool in lazy spirals, reaching towards a darkening blue sky.  As I lay back against the cold tile, the bulbous lights studding the underwater bench seat underneath the salt water flick on, illuminating our ghostly legs.  I kick mine back and forth, and push out from the wall, vaulting into open war.  I twist my body around and wrap my legs around him from the back, pulling him into me. I lead us this way back to the bench seat.  With his body resting against mine, and my head on his shoulder, I can fully take in the green palm fronds surrounding the hot water; the huge banana leafs fanning the door back into the changing room, the towels hung neatly in a row.  
            A little girl is splashing on the stairs at the far end of the pool, the side where the water is shallow.  She holds out two small, yellowing leaves to her caretaker.  The caretaker soundlessly laughs, and takes the leaves presented. 
He breathes out a chuckle into my ear, pointing out the child to me.  He reaches behind us and finds a leaf similar to the one grasped in the girl’s hands. He uses one hand to gently push my hair behind my ear, and the other to place the leaf there.  He tells me I look beautiful.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Assignment #4

           Cholula hot sauce, named after the city “Cholula” in Mexico, is manufactured in Chapala, a city that is about a five-hour drive from Mexico City.  The hot sauce comes in four different flavors: Original, Chipotle, Chili Lime, and Chili Garlic.  The original recipe for the sauce has been in existence for over three generations, but has only been available commercially in the United States for twenty years.
            To measure the “heat value” in Cholula hot sauce, Scoville units are used.  A regular bell pepper can rank between 0-100 Scoville Units, and very hot peppers can reach up to 300, 000 Scoville Units.  The peppers used in Cholula rank at about 40,000-60,000 Scoville units.   
            Cholula hot sauce can be found in many restaurants as well as many grocery stores across the United States.  It can be found online from several different sources, including directly from the manufacturer in Chapala (one 5-ounce bottle directly from the manufacturer is priced at $11).  In the United States, the price for one 5-ounce bottle of original Cholula hot sauce ranges from $3-$5. 
A distinctive feature of the hot sauce is the carved wooden cap atop the bottle.  The word “Cholula” comes from a pre-Hispanic word, “Chollollan”.  This old word means, “place of retreat”.  

Assignment #3

           The glass bottle of tomato-red hot sauce stands straight, tall, and resolute.  Its design is simple, smooth straight glass from bottom to top, with a slight bend inward about ¾ of the way up forming a neck.  The cork is made of sanded blonde wood, and functions as a screw.  The bottle is not tall, about the same height as drinking cup.
            There are two labels, one surrounded the neck, and the other wrapped halfway around the body.  The neck shroud has a background of banana yellow, with two banners of bright red, one on the top, and one on the bottom framing the tiny drawn pictures of red, green, and yellow tomatoes. The second wrap is of the same basic banana yellow color, but this second, larger label features an attractive Latina woman who is gazing up at her viewer.  She is cooking, and above her head hover the bright block letters, “Cholula” in red. 
            As the blonde cork is unscrewed, the tangy sweet smell swirls up to meet my nostrils, and upon tipping the bottle, the sauce inside effortlessly succumbs to gravity and evenly cascades toward my outstretched pointer figure.  Upon contact the bottle is quickly righted, and placed back down on the vanity, the cork forgotten, lying askew beside its keeper.   
            My finger meets my mouth in a blaze of tang, sweet and spicy.  The sauce finally fulfilling its purpose.