Needles, Money & Crossing BordersTuesday, May 03, 2011
Going back to the three reasons, they all happened in my childhood.
I must have been 8 years old when my mother and I went to the ferretería (a hardware store), on Avenida Nahuel Huapi, around the corner from our house on Melián in Buenos Aires. I don’t remember what it was that I wanted (it was hanging from the ceiling next to hundreds of other stuff). I told my mother I wanted it. My mother went into her handbag and pulled out a brand new bill (it was blood red) and she held I with her two hands. She made a noise as she flicked and stretched it and told me, “If you want that I would have to use this and it is a big bill. You will have to learn the value of money if you are going to get it and it is not going to be today.”
It was at about that time that once a year we got our shots at the infirmary (the age of fluorescent red mercurochrome that stung!) at Colegio Ward where I was taught in Spanish in the morning and English in the afternoon. I did my best to avoid going on that day but my mother gave me no choice. The day in question was when we got our diphtheria shot. This shot was applied on the middle back where the spine was. To me it felt like someone was plunging a dagger. The anticipation before the nurse hit my back with the needle was the worst part. I was scared to death and have been scared to death of needles since.
Needles go hand and hand with blood and I cannot look at blood. When I go for blood tests I have to look elsewhere as the sight of the brilliant red makes me swoon like a Victorian woman with consumption.
|My mother's Argentine passport|
Filomena de Irureta Goyena
Because my mother had married a divorced man and Argentina did not consider her Uruguayan wedding certificate a valid one, for all intents and purposes I was a bastard son. This was especially so when we would go to the Policía Argentina for a document of any kind. She was Filomena de Irureta Goyena (even though my father was George W. Hayward) and I was Jorge Alejandro Hayward (the Waterhouse came later). I had been born on August 31, 1942 but for reasons I will never understand my birth certificate had April 18, 1943 as the date when I entered the world in Buenos Aires at the Hospital Anchorena. All those anomalies meant that my mother always grilled me on what I had to answer if an official asked me for my name and date of birth.
|Jorge Alejandro Hayward |
My universal identity document
Crossing borders by the time I was 11 in Mexico was something that I did not look forward to. We were always at the mercy of a petty bureaucrat who would decide that it was impossible that I would be my mother’s son if I had a different name.
|Name change on my Argentine passport|
J A W. Hayward & finally inside
Jorge Alejandro Waterhouse Hayward
On 27 August 1960, I left for school in Austin, Texas via Piedras Negras, Coahuila . Some idiot official forgot to stamp my exit on my Mexican immigrant document. When I returned for a Christmas vacation the man at the airport told me,”Jovencito, my name then was Jorge Alejandro Waterhouse de Irureta Goyena (no Hayward), it is impossible that you are entering this county as you never left it.” That statement cost us hundreds of dollars and weeks of lining up at Gobernación where immigrants went for documents. We had to deal with coyotes, illegal, go-betweens who for a fee would “ease” the trámites or paper work.
|A coyote had to intevene for the exit stamp that never was|
The result of all the above is that I hate crossing borders, I hate injections and blood and I have no interest in understanding the value of money and how to deal with it.
Thankfully my wife Rosemary has always handled the money. I tell my friends that Rosemary wears the financial pants in our family. Thankfully Rosemary does our taxes and thankfully Rosemary knows how to fill out application forms and any other kinds of documents.
But the buck stopped today. I had to see my family doctor to have him teach me how to inject myself every two weeks with my arthritis medicine which is much more effective if injected and not taken as a pill. I have been taking the pills for almost four months with little relief.
It seems that my doctor taught me well and I was able to inject myself well and almost without pain. But there was a warning that stiffened me up. Before you press the medicine in, pull the plunger out a bit to make sure you are not hitting a vein. If you see blood you have to start again.
Rosemary has been on the rampage all day doing the taxes and I feel like an appendix, useless. At least I am able to explain how to go to the next step in U-File which is the program she is using. But I know I have to keep quiet and not try her patience. She plainly told me, all nervous and worked up; I cannot do your taxes anymore.
I thought that my taxes should be fairly easy to do next year as with employment at zero, income is at zero and thus it must all be easy. Or will it? I will find out next year. And by then I will be an expert with my hypodermic needle.
But as my doctor prescribed something called Flomax to ease the strain on my plumbing I have been told that Flomax will be more expensive next year if Harper has a say.