Musings in Mexico….From “The Idea Man”

Did you ever notice how many expressions are nautical in nature?  “Two ships that pass in the night,“ which could explain my marriages.  “Any port in the storm,“ another possible explanation, and my personal favorite, “steady as she goes.“ That is the term that popped into my head last night while out and about here in Cancun.

Let me leave those hanging for now while I address what can, and often does, happen when one moves to a foreign country.  We gravitate towards others who speak our language, are familiar with our customs, and form friendships.  I believe I mentioned in an earlier piece how I might well have become friendly with both Captain Kirk and Naziesque wannabes just because they spoke English when I first arrived.  Politics and nerdiness can be put aside in the hopes of communicating in your native tongue.

However, if not already obvious by the above examples, sometimes those friendships can be damaging and unhealthy.   But, hell, other times they can be teeth grinding, fist forming, wanting blood to fly relationships too.  Let`s not sugar coat the issue.  There is a mistake often made that all foreigners will become friends once in another country if they live in close proximity to each other.  I am here today to dispel that myth once and for all.

Now, I must be careful since most of the types of people that I disagree with tend to be way more interested in money and power than I ever will be.    Hence, lawsuits, living off of others` wages, and other forms of destruction can often revolve around those who crave such things.  And, the fact that I have little means little to people of that nature.  In other words, names, and a few facts may be changed a bit just so that I don`t assist yet another attorney to buy a Mercedes.

I was out with a dear friend last night.  A good person who, unfortunately, doesn`t get out much, which means we wanted to be around pleasant people, have a reasonably good time and she would then head home early.  However, I tend to be opinionated, political, and possess what one old friend calls “a birth control personality.“  Again with the sugar coating?  I piss people off.  I piss them off and then do two things.  Will attempt to mend, with all the accompanying emotions of regret, guilt, whatever is appropriate, and then, if that fails, will forget to give a damn.  It is not that I don`t care, I do, I really do, until I don`t.

So there we were, in a setting of assumed friendliness, having few expectations other than a bit of pleasantries and, then,  I found myself facing a foe.  It was my fault really.  I had said something a month or so back that was quite misunderstood, I forgot to use simple words.  Not surprisingly, this person had retaliated with a bit of nastiness via email, and I, not to be outdone, and honestly a bit hurt, circulated that email.  How fun to play third graders when in our fifties?   But, fun always has a price and I paid last night.

My only regret?  The uncomfortable moment occurred while with someone who, as I`ve mentioned, does not have the opportunity to go out often.  My face held a plastic expression during this little moment in the sandbox, but inside my fists were ready and my imagination was all over the place.   The whole thing really is based purely on a misunderstanding, but I don`t care anymore and did not wish to ruin everyone`s evening by having a little fun, metaphorically speaking of course.  That was when the expression, “steady as she goes“ first popped into my head immediately followed by another voice screaming “just walk away you idiot.“  My thoughts are not always friendly either.

The moments passed, life went on, and my friend went home a little while later.  I have hopes that the experience did not scar her, but I have faith in her resilience.  But, since  it was Saturday evening, and still quite early,  I went to a casino with yet another friend and we had a great time.  Her ear wide grin and the look of pure joy on her face when her slot machine hit was the perfect antidote.  A couple of second glances from a few men helped patch my hurt ego as well.

 But, once back home, the situation that had occurred earlier was seldom far from my thoughts.  I made some coffee, although it was well past midnight,  and started to backpedal to try to figure out how this opponent and I had become “friendly“ in the first place.  The fact we no longer associate  is fine with me, but how did we ever connect when such obvious natural opponents in the wild.  It`s like those photos of a cat with a mouse on its head?   We were never meant to be more than bodies that happened to exist in the same general location.   That was when I realized that it was purely based on geographics.  We had both moved to Mexico.  Linguistically speaking, she had been a representation of “any port in the storm.“ 

From my rhetoric in these little blogs you can probably tell that I might have a bit of book smarts, but I would die on the streets in a New York minute.  My complete lack of intuition has led to many mistakes over the years.   I do not need to bore you with a lot of examples, but I will use one just to prove a sad point. 

 I married a man who was, apparently, recognized as gay by everyone including my roofer.  Immediately after this gentleman and I had exchanged vows we complicated issues even further and bought a home.  It was a lovely Victorian with a slate roof that required a bit of work.  We needed  someone with experience.  Jump now to a few years later, once in my own home that also had issues, I called that same roofing man to come over and take a look.  While standing in our driveway he turned and asked me if I minded if he asked me a question. “No,“ I said, “go ahead.“  The question pertained to my exhusband`s sexuality and the joke on campus became, and I quote, “even her roofer knew.“  Yep,  I have made a few mistakes.

However, whether here, or in the states, I have always tried to trust first and ask questions later, which can then make for amusing stories, but, during the event when my naiveté bites me in the ass, I`m not laughing.  I am left just rubbing my butt where the teeth marks are firmly implanted.  I am the one who is, proverbially speaking, often left holding the check, or turning the other cheek, depending upon your perspective.

Hence, my developed sense of the ability to no longer give a damn has been finely tuned.  Sometimes that person really is a ship that should just “pass in the night.“  Whether living in Mexico and seeking out others who speak my language, or meeting “friends“ on Face Book, I need to start becoming wary of others.  However, it saddens me that I am finally going to become what is necessary in these times in order to survive.  Resistance to cynicism will only lead to more pain.

So, I have determined that trust can no longer be given out freely, it has to be earned.  Gone are the innocent days of the literal sandbox when all one had to do was grab his toys and just go home when someone kicked sand in his face.  Now? I am not even going to bring my toys over until I know the person, and know him well.  ¡Salud!

About mexcelia

writer editor photographer traveler


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Gay Hoflich
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 20:25:24

    I understand exactly what you are saying. I find myself to be too sensitve to acomplish all of that….I would think you would have to be the Dali Lama.
    We can only do our best not to let any negativity hurt our progress.
    I think the blog is very good and a great idea. I loved how you ended it.
    If I may critize one thing…..You had a lot of things going on for me to follow.
    I’m sure others don’t have that problem. Sometimes my level of concentration lets me down……
    Good Job!


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