Journal, August 2, 1976 PM

I lacked one washer, or I’d have had the bike all ready to go yesterday. I believe that washer must have either disintegrated or been eaten by Ed’s {Shiffer} turtle! I looked everywhere to no avail.

Sartre says the reason or motive and the end are part of the action, that they all come into existence together and “explain” each other, but no one is cause of the others. It’s true I think. We have a basic freedom to act, once we are aware of the alternatives, even though when we act we can legitimately contend there were “reasons” for our action. Being aware of alternatives to our present state is crucial. Sartre gives the example of worker revolts in the 1830s. The workers revolted & were in control of Lyon, he says, but once in control were at a loss for what to do & went back to their homes. They lacked a vision of a world which could be “better for everybody”. Their present condition, though wretched, was not unendurable because they were unaware that it could be different. Needless to say, Marxism was the doctrine which gave the workers a vision of a better world on the horizon.

In the evening I was restless, and took a walk around Santa Tecla. The women sell fruits and vegetables, or clothing items, or snack foods in the streets until well into the night. The ice cream venders hang around near the 2 movie houses & the 2 central parks with their little 3-wheeled push-type freezers. Other women are slapping together pupusas {Salvadoran snack food} in their chubby, damp little hands. They sell on the sidewalks near the second park, or in little shops all over town. Everywhere it’s buying & selling. I can never walk around this town anymore without buying a little something somewhere. You don’t have to enter a shop, they are there in your way, asking you to buy, beseeching you.

At the Terraza ice cream parlor I note the entrance of a dude and his mall, flowered shirt unbuttoned almost to the waist, with immaculate white pants, high-heeled, recently shined shoes, greasy hair. In Chicago you could be sure he was a pimp, dressed like that & showing off the hair on his chest. But this ain’t Chicago, & he’s just another working class hero, out on the town on a Sunday night.

I came across a drunken group near the first park. It’s so easy to see how people get macheteed or shot by friends or acquaintances while drunk. Men have the habit here of poking and jostling each other for laughs, like school boys back home. So if one guy is drunk maybe he pokes a little hard, or maybe he says some curse a little too vehemently, & if the other guy is drunk too, maybe he calls him on it. I’ve seen it happen so many times, & I try to avoid places where folks drink seriously. Usually they just gesture at wanting to fight, and let their buddies hold them back & calm them down. But once in a while – especially if one or both are armed – they slip over the brink.

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