Is there ever any attempt to communicate an excuse, an apology etc? No.
Sometimes the offending party tries to put in an appearance at an alternative time and date of their own choosing, still without warning or cover story. I have now decided never to open the door in such circumstances, not in the vain hope of thereby providing an education in civilised manners, but in rather more punitive determination.
It is for this reason that one individual in our neighbourhood has become a constant source of wonder. She carries a watch and examines it with the old-fashioned assiduousness of the white rabbit in Wonderland, though without his propensity for punctuality fails. And deep though we are in the dry season, she is also never without her flowery umbrella – signs of a preternatural preparedness quite anomalous in these parts.
Having offered to produce for us, twice weekly, tortillas of black and yellow corn in the traditional manner, each time she has come to deliver them almost exactly five minutes in advance of the agreed time. And when I emerge, regards me as if I have kept her waiting an eternity.
It is for this reason we have started to have our doubts as to whether she is Guatemalan at all. She has the slightly off-putting appearance of a steely-eyed, middle-aged man in an elaborate draggy disguise, complete with heavy, oversized, bloke's shoes, and for that reason we long ago gave her the nickname of 'El Chapo'.
Her skin is almost deathly pale and her accent is hard to place in a Chapin context, though there are rumours that she and her brood hail from Amatitlán or thereabouts. The truth is that she appeared one day out of nowhere, and yet, hoy en día, there is seemingly no-one better informed about behind-closed-doors activities in the district.