Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Day Without the Self-Employed

A Day Without the Self-Employed / Yoani Sanchez
Posted on March 27, 2014

The day started with a certain nightmarish atmosphere. The little sip of
morning coffee was missing, because the seller with a thermos and paper
cups wasn't on the corner. So she dragged her feet to the bus stop,
while keeping an eye out for a collective taxi. Nothing. Not even an old
Chevrolet came down the avenue, nor was there one of those ingenuous
station wagons that can fit up to twelve people anywhere in sight. After
an hour's wait she managed to climb on the bus, irritated that she
didn't even have a little paper cone of peanuts to calm the hunger pangs
emanating from her stomach.
At work that day she couldn't do much. The director didn't make it in
because the woman who cares for her daughter was absent. The same thing
happened with the administrator; her Russian-made Lada blew a tire and
the tire-repair guy in her neighborhood closed early. At the lunch break
the food trays were so empty they barely weighed a thing. The guy with
the cart selling vegetables and tubers, with which they stretch the
lunch menu, didn't come by. The head of public relations had a nervous
breakdown because he couldn't print the photos he needed for a visa. The
door of the nearest studio had a sign saying "Not Open Today," so his
travel plans were ruined.

She decided to walk home to avoid having to wait. Her son asked if there
was something to snack on, but the bread delivery man, with his sharp
cry, hadn't shown up. Nor were the pizza kiosks open, and a raid on the
farmers market had left all the stands empty. For dinner she cooked the
little she found and washed the dishes with a rag from an old shirt,
because there weren't any vendors selling dish mops. On top of
everything, the fan wouldn't go on and the appliance repairman wasn't in
his workshop.

She went to bed, in a pool of sweat, uncomfortable, hoping she would
wake up to the return these figures who make her life possible: the
self-employed, without whom her days are a sequence of deprivations and

27 March 2014

Source: A Day Without the Self-Employed / Yoani Sanchez | Translating
Cuba -

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