10 November 2009

My Old Friend, Señora Propano

My propane is disappearing about twice as fast as it formerly did because of the cooler weather at night. The little propane heater kicks on quite often in the early morning hours.

I would like to announce a small victory that occurred today in connection with Señora Propano. Once again I had to drive out into the bush and exchange my empty tank for a new one. In the process of that transaction, the always taciturn Señora Propano had to give me change in the grand amount of 6 pesos (€0.30).

I have not explained before that there are no rolls of coins here as we know them. At least I have not encountered any yet. Rather, merchants obtain their change supply in the form of stacks of coins that are tapped together. These stacks of coins are not taped together with just any tape. They are taped together with that clear packing tape.

Señora Propano was struggling to get the tape off one of these stacks of coins with her quite amazing fingernails. Her fingernails are a piece of work, and I knew that she was concerned about them. I pulled my Swiss Army knife out of my pocket and offered it to her. She then blessed me with the most radiant smile. I was shocked! I could not believe it!

Let be clear though. I am not saying that Señora Propano and I are tight now or anything of the sort. I am only saying that our relationship has evolved. Thanks to a Swiss Army knife. A Swiss Army knife can perform miracles. A Swiss Army knife is a consumer product given us by God himself.

All was not smooth this time though. When I returned, I found that I had purchased an old style tank without the proper safety valve on top. Luckily, the threads are on the inside of the outlet on these old tanks instead of on the outside. I could not hook it up at all.

Therefore, I made a second trip out into the bush to see Señora Propano and inquire about the possibility of an exchange of tanks. The traffic was grim today because of detours and road work. Grim. (Sometime I need to take some photos and describe what one is up against driving through a highway construction zone here. Thank goodness my truck has four-wheel drive.) However, I remained calm, The Allman Brothers live in New York City in 1973 in the disk player all the way.

When I chatted the second time with Señora Propano, she explained that they do not have any of the new tanks full and in stock right now. Mañana. Mañana at 10:00 a.m. Now I can tell you to a certainty that is utter bullshit. There is no way on this earth that God created—the same God that created Swiss Army knives--that those new tanks will be there then. It is very unlikely they will be there at all tomorrow. Nonetheless, after lunch in the afternoon tomorrow, I am going to brave that traffic again and dutifully make the trek out there into the bush to see if I can exchange this tank for a thoroughly modern one.

I am still calm though. Calm as calm can be. Honest, I am.

This tank with the old style valve that is in my possession now at one time fueled the little propane heater on Noah's Ark.


Four Dinners said...

I bet she had some....just wanted you to give her your swiss army knife in exchange I reckon...;-)

One shopkeeper near here as an unusual style. You walk in and he says "What you wanting?!"

Frightens the life out of the old grannies....he gives me cheap vodka though so he'll do

Anonymous said...

Your relationship with Señora Propano reminds me of a time back in the 80s when I lived a few doors away from a little Portuguese bakery in Toronto. At the time, I was working until midnight, and sleeping in until the crack of 11 in the morning. I would pull on some clothes, put the coffee on, and walk over to buy a Portuguese pastry. Every day, the lady would sell me a day-old pastry. I didn't pay a discounted price. She just never gave me anything fresh. I watched the Portugese customers come in, and they got fresh pastries from a different spot. Finally, I said something. How come some customers get fresh pastries and I get the day-olds? I come in every day! The woman's normally decent command of English disappeared instantly. No. You get fresh. Everybody get fresh. From that day on, though, I guess I had graduated to full customerhood, or honourary Portugeseness, because I always got the good fresh pastries. Sometimes, she would even recommend one for me. Victory.

Stagg said...

The tank looks so cool!