Just thinking about this recently--attorneys in Brazil are called "Advocates." Not lawyers, not law-talking-guys, not jerks, not even by their first name. On top of having that very cool, very professional title, everyone here calls them "Dr." That means, for the first and last time in my life, people call me "Dr. Eric." And while a good friend pointed out that "Dr. Eric" sounds like a chiropractor's name, it's probably the closest I'll ever get to actual named respect. To say the least, I'm soaking it up.
Anyway, sorry it's been 10 days since my last post. There's really not too much to report--some days there's lots to do, other days, not so much. One day it's a property proceeding where some dude has tried to invade and adversely possess part of the LDS Church's real estate in the city of Sao Paulo, the other it's filing tax exemption forms. My goodness, I wish you could have seen my eyes light up when I learned I'd be helping out on an adoption case. Dorky, I know, but still cool as a box of frozen Nerds(tm). To give you more stories from my daily commute, here's one from just this morning.
This morning, while sitting on the bus, trying to get through another 1 hour ride to work on the crowded bus, I didn't notice that I was sitting in the "Deficiency Row"--reserved for the elderly, the pregnant, the deficient, or, apparently, the American. Tootling away down the highway, the bus picked up a big group of people who quickly filed into the front of the bus. A fairly large, middle-aged woman in this group tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Oh, young man, there's an elderly gentleman who needs to sit down." I quickly stood up and said "He can sit here." But from the row on the other side of the aisle, a kindly young man offered his seat instead, as he was about to get off the bus. "Beleza!" I thought, which is portuguese for Beautiful. I sat down again, hoping to get back into my read-out-loud novel (A Storm of Swords, by NY Times Bestselling Author and Hugo Award Nominee, George RR Martin, TIME Magazine's "American Tolkien"--in hardcover and paperback wherever books are sold). Just as quickly as it took to write that little review, the same woman who asked me to give up my seat to the old man came over to me, obviously upset and said (loosely translated): "Are you deficient?!" (Now, two thoughts entered into my mind--first, 'what does she mean by that?' and 'maybe she's just asking how long I'm going to sit here through this oddly phrased question.' I went with the latter). I responded "Well, I'm not getting off for quite some time, not until Avenida "X," to try and justify why I was sitting down. That was the wrong answer, apparently. Now, really upset, she looked at me and with saliva flying from her quivering lips, she cried, very slowly "ARE YOU D-E-F-I-C-I-E-N-T?!!!" Looking back on it, I should have grinned and said, "No, ARE YOU S-T-U-P-I-D?!" but that would have been mean and quick thinking. I tend to avoid both at all costs. Thus, I simply responded, "No, ma'am, I'm not deficient." To which she replied "Then GET OUT OF THAT SEAT!" Still confused, I realized to my horror, after she had nearly thrust her swollen belly in my face, that this woman was not merely stronger than your average Brazilian, she was probably 7 months pregnant and quite upset that I had not given up my seat to her. I'll tell you what, though, she hid it well--everyone around my on the bus let out an audible gasp when she revealed her state! It was like having my own sitcom soundtrack, only no cute Michelle to look somewhat confused and say "How Rude!"She looked like this, only really mad!!!!
As a final note, to prove to you that I'm probably Terrestrial at best, Celestial only if my wifey is beyond perfect, I was this close to turning around and saying "Are you pregnant or deficient, because I can't tell?" But that would have been mean, and the really cute Brazilian girl next to me on the bus wouldn't have talked to me afterwards. So, I guess, karma works in mysterious ways.
Love you all, and hope that your summers are as fun as mine. Tomorrow: Freak cold front freezes Brazil. National State of Emergency!