Journal, August 29, 1976 5:30 PM

I finally broke my string de veras {really}. I have, so far as I know, written in my journal either in the evening or the next morning since I began last December. Today I slipped up. I was too lazy to write last night, and this morning I left the house early to go see Gerardo {Chavez} play in a soccer game. Until now it never crossed my mind that I was neglecting the journal. I’ll have to watch myself for a few days. If I break off this journal, when I do, I know how it’ll happen. I’ll neglect it for 3 or 4 days and then decide: “Well nor that I’ve gone this long, I might as well forget about the darn thing. I just don’t have time to . . . with all the stuff I have to . . .”

Yesterday I went with Russ Soules, his novia {girlfriend} Hilda, and 2 of her sisters, to the Cathedral in San Salvador. I was a witness for Russ & Hilda, for some of the wedding papers they have to fill out. Now my name, and those of my folks are recorded for posterity in the record books of the San Salvador Cathedral. I feel almost immortal.

Actually, Russ and I met the women folk at the Cathedral, so on the way and before they got there, he was trying to sell me on how good looking Hilda’s younger sister was. I had met Hilda before, and knew she was a nice looking chic, so I was expecting to be struck dumb by the sister. Old Russ must have been playing matchmaker. She was nice & taller than little Hilda, but not a knock-out.

We talked for quite a while tough, while the Padre {Father} gave marriage instructions (or whatever it is that takes them forever to do!) to the “novios” {couple}. Then she started to arouse my interest. She’s kind of reserved, a third-year chemical engineering student who Russ labels the “brain” of her family. She was attracted to me too, and I played with that knowledge a little bit. <In other words I neglected to tell her about Sofia. She’s the kind of chic I might go see again if it weren’t for Sofia & my commitment to her.> But not now, too dishonest, and too much mental hassle. I’ve often thought that if I could run across a chic that was attracted to me, and who was interested in a very sexual & very temporary thing, I wouldn’t feel inhibited. I don’t even think my conscience would act up. <I’d go into it just for a good time, & it would pose no threat to Sofia because it would be on a whole different level.> Maybe I could keep myself convinced of that! What you need for that here is an upper middle class chic, with U.S.A. morals, or a divorced chic of 20-25 years. There are quite a few of the latter!

After the Cathedral, Russ and I went to get coffee to the Continental, a restaurant run by a Spaniard who spent a lot of time in the States. We {my group} went there a lot during our first month in country. I associate it with Bob & Fran Redman. I told Russ about where I was getting my suit made, so we went down to check it out. He’s torn between renting a tux and buying a suit. I ended up getting a vest to go with my suit. What a spender I’m becoming - as if I had money! In a neighboring store he found one tux for rent that happened to be his size! He’s going back with Hilda.

We got buzzed on three large size barrelitos {tap beer} over lunch & had a good talk. Russ struck me as very mature as we rapped, & very sure of what he wants and where he’s headed. He’s got an assistantship to study Latin American Affairs at Ohio University on the graduate level. Hilda may turn out to be more of a social climber than would be desirable, but Russ already has his strategies for managing her. He talks about “strategic flare-ups of anger!” I’m glad his life is falling together. <I don’t know that mine ever will quite like that, but with Sofia, tal vez {maybe}!>

I went to Hilda’s with Russ. He hauled his kerosene stove up there from Peace Corps Office. Hilda wasn’t there, but the sister, Rosa Amita (Rosamita?), was. She asked me when I would stop by again. “A ver” {We’ll see}.

Today I got back on the straight and narrow, however. <Hilda & Russ came out to visit, & I made a point of showing all my pictures to them, and identifying a certain familiar face as Sofia, mi novia {my Girlfriend}.> Sunday afternoon visits are a nice little diversion. They help us waste our lives away a little more pleasantly, together.

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