I was a little agitated the rest of the morning. This is pretty much exactly the kind of stuff that rattles me: lack of Clarity, not knowing who is the good guy or the bad guy or just the right or wrong guy. Also, risking making someone mad. And then, risking getting screwed. I don't like any of this and the whole agua situation seemed like some sort of such landmine.
I could feel myself being rattled and I knew that the only way out of this was going to be through this.
I talked with myself, I tried to listen to what wise people would tell me. Finally, I landed on: this is business. Do what you need for business.
Ok. In this case, 1000 pesos is better than 2500, all other things being equal-ish.
I drove over there to let my crew know that we were going to get our water from Alberto. Ya. "Ya" is Spanish for "done," "no more." It has a nice clean ring of finality, of self-assuredness too. Which I needed.
They were having lunch under the tarp shelter they built and we all love - including Lila, especially when it is lunchtime - and I gave them the news.
And then I saw their faces which I am getting better at reading. Jorge was the one who spoke: You know he's getting water from the guy who took our 2000 pesos, right? Yup. I know. But it's 1000 pesos instead of 2500 and so here we go.
Did Alberto tell the "barbon" (that means the bearded guy - the 2000 pesos guy) he was going to share his water with you? asked Jorge.
Hmmm. Well, shoot. I dunno. That was a good question.
Looking around this big field it suddenly starts to look like an all-male cast version on Peyton Place, with the characters' personalities starting to emerge - and me trying to make some sense of it all, and get shit done.
Ok, I'll go check, I said. Lila, come with me.
The two of us walk across the field to Alberto's place. Her tail is way high and I pretend I have one too.
Seeing me coming he smiles and puts Eva-the-pitbull inside his car.
Does he know? I ask immediately. Does he know you're going to share the water with me?
Hmmm. Not yet.
Ok, well, he needs to know. Because if he sees a new hose coming from yours, who knows how much he is going to like it.
To my surprise, he agrees.
Alright. Let's think. He says. I can tell he still would like me to give him 1000 pesos. AND he knows I need water. And to be fair, he has been giving us water for a while, now.
You'll just use my hose, he says. No other hose; just whenever you need to fill up your water, come over and use my hose. The same way we've been doing it.
I can see that. As a temporary - while we build - solution at least.
So we agree to this. 1000 pesos, and as much water as we need, for now. Once the cistern is in place, we'll revisit. Also, I can always order a tank of water from my mechanic (I know, it's odd but stay with me here. My mechanic Dani recently started a water delivery business. I trust the guy fully and while it's a little pricey, it's definitely a great backup plan, with zero drama)
I hand him 1000 pesos.
I'm still left with the question of having to tell Juliano that I will not be using his water ie: paying his 2,500 pesos and as I ponder this out loud, Alberto gives me the solution: Just tell him - and your crew - that we are neighbors in the village and that as such, I am doing you a favor. No money, just a favor.
Which I certainly don't do well, if at all.
And yet, it suddenly seems like an easy out. This thing is about to be nicely tied with a bow and we may be getting really close to not talking about agua again.
Lila and I walk back to our place and I let the guys know that anytime we need water, just ask Alberto and they will fill up our Tenaco. As a favor. They look at me and stay quiet. I may imagine a speck or respect in Anselmo's eyes, but I very well be mistaking. If so, I don't deserve it fully.
Twenty minutes later Juliano's truck pulls up and I take a deep breath and march over to him. I let him know that for now, I will not need his water because my friend Alberto is doing me a favor and letting me use his water.
That's two lies in thirty minutes. My quota for the year I am pretty sure.
Now that I write it, though, I am thinking that hey... I didn't say he wasn't charging me. I said he was doing me a favor. Which is kind of true. Also, that's what liars do: justify. So that's a little scary and I can tell there is a slippery slope there. I'll be sure to step aside from it.
Juliano flashes me his perfect smile and says no worries! Whatever this really means, I am sure glad it's over.
As I left the house at sunset, the tenaco was filling up nicely, and dare I say, peacefully.
I guess in the end, we ARE using the "barbon's" water, huh?
(And because Life likes to teach us our lessons in themes, yesterday was the first day that we started to work on the plumbing. AND got a whole bunch of progress on the fosa.)