Monday, January 7, 2008

The Fish Lady

When we lived on Guanaja, we had the opportunity to get to know a lot of 'characters.' The islanders are a lively bunch, and many of them tend to live like the grasshopper in Aesop's fable, playing today without worrying about tomorrow. This is a story of a woman we knew, from our very first year on the island.

At that time, we lived in a one story house, with large glass windows in all of the rooms. There wasn't even a gate on the yard, so people could just wander into our yard, and talk to us through the windows of any room of the house - and they did, all the time. For me, that lack of privacy was perhaps the hardest part of learning to live in Honduras.

The master bedroom was at the front of the house, with a large window facing the street. We slept, of course, with the windows open, as the house would have been like an oven with them shut. Even at night, there was often enough light to look into our windows, and see us in our beds.

One night around midnight, when our household had long since turned out the lights and gone to sleep, there came a knocking on the master bedroom window. It would have been obvious to any casual passerby that the household was asleep for the night. Allen got out of bed and went to talk with our visitor, still groggy from slumber.

At the window was a woman we called "The Fish Lady," because she would go out fishing close to the island in a small dory, and sell the fresh fish around town later that day. Many men did this, but not many women, so she stood out a bit. We had often bought fish from her before, and had on occasion loaned her enough money to buy gas for her boat. She would repay us in fish later in the day. So, she was a nice lady, although we knew she had a reputation for being a partier (which could just mean heavy drinking, or could include cocaine use, since that is readily available on the island).

The Fish Lady explained that she wanted to go out fishing the next morning, and she was asking us to loan her some money for gas. As this was midnight, Allen felt certain that her desire for money was not related to fishing. He hedged, asking her, "Is the gas station open at midnight?"

"Oh no, of course not!" she replied scornfully.

"Well then, why not come back in the morning and ask for the money then?" responded my brilliant (though sleepy) husband.

"Oh no," she cooed, "I wouldn't want to wake you up!"


Aaron Ortiz said...

LOL! That's a great story!

Anonymous said...

Aren't we humans amazing when there is something we want and can't have? I think the "fish lady" is a wonderful picture of our fallen humanity! And it made me laugh! Thanks Trish.
I think the lack of privacy that you describe would have been hard on about living in a fishbowl! I'm glad you survived it and can laugh about it now.
Love Beth

Kim & Dave said...

Ha! Ha!

Thanks for the chuckle!

Heaven knows I need as many as I can get!

Kris said...

Makes you wonder if people ever re-live these moments in their heads and think to themselves that it was a really dumb thing to say.


Joshua said...

Bravo, bravissimi! PALAVROSSAVRVS REX!