Mexico

Hey, loyal reader. How’s it going? I hope all is well with you.

I’m a bit more focused of late, I think. It’s hard to tell with me, even for me. I’ve actually been busy for the last week, so I haven’t had as much time to idly ponder the vicissitudes of life. Or kumquats. I haven’t even been thinking about golf!

I played golf last Saturday with Todd and Phyllis, and I shot the best round of golf I’ve had in probably twenty years. So, I figure I just have to keep doing whatever it was I did on Saturday and in a couple of years I probably won’t suck at golf as much as I do now.

It may not sound like much of a plan, but that’s pretty elaborate for me.

Todd is my lovely supermodel wife’s boyfriend, and he’s back in town. I should probably qualify that statement. Todd and Lea have known each other since junior high. And as Lea pointed out, if I can have three wives, there’s no reason why she can’t have one boyfriend.

Todd and Lea have been good friends for something like unto forty-five years. They never dated each other, which might be one reason why they’re still very good friends. At any rate, Todd came down to visit us last year, and we all had a blast. I told him he was welcome back anytime.

Todd has been here for a week, and he’s staying for at least one more. Lea and Phyllis have a lots of fun things planned for Todd while he’s here. Todd and I are ready to jump into action whenever Lea or Phyllis tell us we’re going somewhere. In the meantime, we watch the NHL playoffs in the evening and talk about Guy Stuff.

It’s something I don’t get to do much of anymore, so that’s been a lots of fun.

Todd lives in Northern Idaho. He’s almost a Canadian, eh. The weather in the Lakeside area has been a welcome change for him from the everlasting winter of 2018. It was 28° in Idaho last Wednesday, the day he arrived. It was 82° here.

Todd has been smiling a lots for the last week.

He brought a lots of goodies from the States. Stuff for Lea. Stuff for Phyllis. And he brought me a Rocketfish Universal Wireless Rear Speaker Kit, which performs perfectly, and balance has been restored to the Force once more. My stereo actually sounds better than it did before.

And there’s one more thing Todd brought back to Mexico. Hummingbirds. We had thousands of hummingbirds at this time last year. My lovely supermodel wife loves hummingbirds. We were refilling two feeders three times a day. Lea thought she was going to spend all of our savings on sugar to feed her hummingbirds.

Then, one day last year, for no apparent reason, damn near all of the birds vanished. We were down to maybe four birds for several months, and my lovely supermodel wife was bummed to the max. But when Todd returned, so did the hummingbirds. We’ve had hundreds of them at our feeders for the last few days.

Todd isn’t the only one who has been smiling a lots of late.

* * * *

In 1975, James Taylor sang a song about Mexico. Maybe you remember it. I do. It was called Mexico. Imagine that. It got a lots of radio play back in the day. I played it on my new and improved stereo system the other day. Unlike Sweet Baby James, in 1975 I wasn’t thinking about Mexico. I wasn’t planning on ever moving here, or remotely contemplating even visiting the place. I don’t think I was even planning on doing either of those things as recently as 2015, and yet, here I am.

Someone at the golf course explained it this way, “Ajijic calls to certain people, and if you’re meant to be here, everything just falls into place for you.”

That was certainly the case for my lovely supermodel wife and I. The opposite appears to be equally true. We’ve met a few people whom Ajijic didn’t call, but decided to move here anyway. They hated it here and are leaving or have already left. Those people are the exception, not the rule. I almost wish Ajijic would stop talking to strangers, but she is a very friendly village…

Mexico is both more and less than what I originally thought it would be, not that I had much of an idea of what it would be like before we visited here the first time. It’s much more diverse than I imagined it would be in population, culture and landscape. It’s a melange of color, music and gastronomic delights. Mexico is like unto the Minnesota State Fair, except it’s like that everyday here.

The image I chose to illustrate this installment is an accurate depiction of the festival life here. Mexico can party with the best of them, and with a style and class that is truly second to none.

But if you think this is going to be a promotional essay on why you should move here, it’s not. You shouldn’t move here. Don’t even come to visit. The roads are terrible. The weather sucks. Everyone speaks an incomprehensible language and they hate foreigners.

Stay wherever it is you are. You’re better off there.

* * * *

We’ve been showing Todd around the Lakeside area, going out to eat at some of the fine dining establishments. You know, actually getting out of the house. I’ve been posting a lots of pictures of the places we’ve visited and the restaurants we’ve patronized on my Facebook page. As a result, I’ve accidentally become a local Google Maps guide, and my photos have been viewed almost a quarter of a million times.

Yes. It’s true. I’m kind of a big deal. Kind of. Maybe.

Being virtually famous hasn’t changed me in the least. I’m still the same self-absorbed, superficially introspective mystic that I’ve always been. That’s because being virtually famous is essentially the same thing as not being famous at all. I don’t have crowds of adoring fans. I don’t have to wear a disguise if I decide to go into the village. I have yet to sign so much as even one autograph!

I should probably thank Social Media for making me the semi-legendary non-sensation that I’ve become, but why?

I’m sure I spend more time on Facebook than I need, but a few of my virtual friends are massively pregnant, and will probably deliver any day now. I wouldn’t normally describe a pregnant woman that way, but I don’t think any of them read my blog. Not on a regular basis anyhow. If I’m wrong, I’ll probably find out very soon…

One of my work daughters and all time favorite people just got married. Congratulations to Nancy and Jake. She was radiant on her wedding day. And that dress…  Holy mutha!

A couple of my friends and former co-workers are going to nursing school. They’ll make excellent nurses once they graduate. I’m happy for them.

I’m becoming less tolerant of the posts I’m willing to be exposed to on my FB page, and I’ve been making the really annoying people disappear. Too much drama. Too much use of the word nigga. I really can’t handle that shit. My generation grew up during the Civil Rights movement. It was a time when a whole lots of people were willing to risk their lives because they were sick and tired of being called that name. It was a traumatic time for my generation and the entire country.

It’s sad to say, but I don’t think some young people now are aware of that fact. And if they are, they don’t seem to care. I find that thought to be even more disturbing than my original disturbing thought.

Be that as it may, I haven’t had this many best friends that I’m never speaking to again since I was in grade school. Given the times we live in, I’m not sure if that’s weird or just the way things are now…

* * * *

For reasons that I will never understand, I’m still semi-popular with single, unemployed, seemingly clueless, attractive young ‘Christian’ women of high moral standards who want to have a deeply personal relationship with a married grandfather figure that they’ve never met before. I hear it’s because of the hat I’m wearing in my profile picture.

I’ve become convinced that all of these girls are actually the same person because their stories are all the same. Seriously. Their parents are dead. Their last boyfriend cheated on them, and they just quit their job because their boss was sexually harassing them.

I don’t believe in coincidences, so I’m pretty sure one person is behind all of this, and that person is really a thirty-eight year old guy named Stewart who lives in his parents’ basement in Dubuque. He probably doesn’t have anything better to do. After all, it’s Iowa.

I’m from Minnesota. When we don’t have anything better to do, we make fun of Iowa…

* * * *

Perhaps you’ve noticed this: Life is a series of routines that change somewhat from day to day, year to year, decade to decade. School routine. Work routine. Weekend routine. Marriage routine.

Like it or not, we are creatures of habit. We find comfort in familiarity. We might complain about the monotony of our daily rituals, but deep down inside we’re not dismayed by them. We tend to like our routines, most of the time. Some of the nurses I used to work with actually worshipped them. Those nurses tended to work on the Night Shift.

“How was your day?” My lovely supermodel wife and I had that conversation almost every day for almost thirty years. It’s something we rarely have to discuss anymore because we spend pretty much every day together, so there’s not a lots of mystery regarding what either one of us are doing at any given time. It’s a good thing that we still like each other.

I’m sure I’ve fallen into a daily routine even in retirement. Granted, it’s much less regimented than it was when I was working. And that was mostly because of work. Employers are so unreasonable sometimes. They hire you, and then they expect you to show up and do your job, like, every day!

Almost everything I do now is dependent on whether I want to do it or not. I’ve never been my own boss before, so I’m really liking this new approach to doing stuff or not. I’m married, so, technically, I may still not be my own boss. Spanish lessons and doctor appointments are just about the only things I  go to no matter how I feel about them.

I’m not sure if learning a new language is ever easy. I have never been a slow learner before, but I am when it comes to Spanish. I took three years of French in high school, and I’m not sure I would’ve been able to speak to a French person and be understood, even back then.

I’ve been living in Mexico for roughly a year and a half. I can speak about ten sentences in Spanish now, and I have a buttload of random Spanish words bouncing around inside of my head. I’m getting to the point where I’m forgetting words in two languages. I’m becoming Byelingual.

Like unto my golf game, I figure the whole Spanish thing will fall into place if I don’t try to force it. Everything clicks at it’s appointed time. And if Ajijic called me here, it did so for a reason.

Perhaps someday that reason will be revealed. Hopefully, not in Spanish…  If someone comes up to me and starts rattling off a torrent of Spanish, and that happens more often than I like, I still get that Deer in the Headlights look in my eyes. But now I can tell them, in perfect Spanish, that I have no idea what the hell they’re talking about, which is probably kind of confusing to the person talking to me, now that I think about it.

Oh well, we’re at least on the same level then.

For good or for ill, I’m in Mexico for the long haul. I’m planning on leaving here the day after I die. And even then, I might hang around for awhile. There’s a huge City of the Dead in Mexico. The only downside I can see is you have to got dead to live there. Other than that, it looks like a nice place. I could live there, I think.

Unless you have to be able to speak more than ten sentences of Spanish in order to be admitted…

I hope I don’t have to discover the admission criteria anytime too soon. I’m kind of loving it here right now.

Idle Musings of a Rambling Mind

I’ve been thinking about writing something for awhile. However, I’ve been having one major problem. I can’t stay focused on any one thing long enough to form two cohesive paragraphs. I’ve lost track of how many posts I’ve started, deleted, and started again.

Is it possible? Could I be a distracted geezer?

I have to consider the possibility, but it’s not like I have a lots of stuff on my mind. Back when I was a psych nurse, I had a lots of stuff flying through my head. Did I sign off all the meds I passed? Why do they call them woodchucks? Don’t forget to order labs on the Clozaril patients tomorrow…  Who came up with the word kumquat? 

Maybe that’s part of the problem. I live an essentially stress free life now. I no longer have to wonder about much of anything, though I do still think about kumquats from time to time.

Seeing how I’ve been unable to focus on anything in specific, I’m reduced to trying to write about nothing in general. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I’ve been told it’s something I’m quite good at. I hope that holds true today. And probably the next time, too.

* * * *

There has been one thing that’s been on my mind, and that one thing is golf. Which, in retrospect, shows how narrow my focus of thought has become. I seem to have hit an impasse regarding improving my game. My score has been more or less stuck in the mid-fifties for several months, which is roughly twenty over par.

Twenty over par is the score of a bad golfer, and even though I know I suck at golf, I am not a bad golfer. And, yes, I’m aware of the contradictory nature of that sentence.

I watched The Masters Tournament last week. I wish I could golf as bad as Tiger Woods. One of the commentators said something about the mental aspect of golf. As Yogi Berra once said, “Half of this game is ninety percent mental.” The commentator said something very much like unto that about becoming a better golfer. The answer, it seems, lies hidden somewhere in my head.

My fundamentals are improving. I need to focus my mind. I’m still unsure about what that entails. I’m trying to remember what my dad used to tell me back when we used to play golf.

“Get your goddamn head out of your ass, McOffspring!”

Well, it’s a start…  I’m sure he said other things, too. I’ll have to think about it a bit more.

* * * *

When Phyllis and I were golfing last week, our caddy kept talking about my clubs. I’m used to having people make fun of my clubs. So I assumed he was also making fun of them, except he was doing it in Spanish, and that was something new.

Our caddy is a Mexican guy named Salvador Allende Ribiera del Lago Hernandez. He’s tall and lanky, with teeth like a mule. As with many Mexicans, his age is hard to determine. He’s somewhere between fifty and one hundred and fifty years old.

Salvador was our caddy the first time we played here. Phyllis almost killed him with one of her shots. I almost killed him twice. Despite our attempts on his life, Salvador continues to willingly caddy for us. He actually seems to like us, and I make sure I say hi to him and shake his hand every time I see him.

I get a kick out of Salvador. He tends to talk to himself a lots in broken English and fluent Spanish while he caddies. Maybe he hears voices(?). It’s possible his voices are telling him how much we suck, and he’s defending us. I’m just guessing. I know enough Spanish to know he’s talking about our shots, but not enough to understand all of the context.

At any rate, Salvador kept saying something to me about “two clubs” last week. And the next time we golfed, I found out what he meant. He had two golf clubs that had been made in the 21st Century. And he presented them to me.

“Try. Try the clubs. You like, you keep.”

I couldn’t believe it. They were beautiful clubs. Callaways. Metal woods. They weren’t brand new, but either one of them would’ve originally cost more than all of my antique clubs combined.  All of my woods are so old they’re actually made of wood. So I put the clubs in my bag and tried to figure out how to say, Thanks, but no thanks, in Spanish.

I played the first two holes using my antique clubs, then Phyllis pulled me aside and told me to try Salvador’s clubs.

“What do you have to lose? Give ’em a try. You might actually like them.”

So I grabbed the oversized driver that looks like a clown’s golf club. It’s called a Big Bertha, but I gave it a new name: The Terminator.

My drive went one hundred yards farther than I have ever hit a golf ball. I was so happy I think I might have humped Salvador’s leg. And Phyllis spent the rest of the game smiling that I Told You So smile of hers.

At the end of our round, I asked Salvador how much he wanted for his clubs.

“For you, señor, nothing. I give to you.”

What a guy! But I couldn’t let him just give me his clubs, so I gave him one thousand pesos for his caddying services. The usual and customary fee for a caddy is around one hundred and fifty pesos. 

I have no idea how or where Salvador acquired the clubs, but he seemed pretty happy with the fact that he had given me two golf clubs that I liked, and that I had given him the best tip he’s ever had caddying for gringos.

Then another unexpected thing happened. Phyllis looked at my antique clubs and said, “You know, I have another set of clubs. They’re a man’s set, and they have to be newer than yours. Five hundred pesos.”

I know that sounds like a lots of money, but it’s roughly twenty-five bucks.

My antique golf clubs were made in the early 1960’s. John F. Kennedy was President when they were new. They’re almost as old as I am. Phyllis’ other clubs are probably from the 1980’s. And like many people my age, I love the Eighties. It’s the last time we remember being young.

I now have what essentially amounts to a new set of golf clubs that are considerably younger than me for about seventy-five bucks. And none of my woods are actually made of wood anymore.

For the longest time I’ve resisted embracing any new technology. Computers. Cellphones. CD’s. DVD’s. Mobile devices. Golf clubs. And once I finally took the plunge, I’ve always ended up wondering why I fought such a pointless battle against something I actually like and seemingly makes my life easier.

It’s probably an old guy, old school thing, even though I know was doing it long before I became officially old. Resist change at all costs, even though it’s the only constant in life. Therefore, there’s no logical explanation for it. Much like life itself.

* * * *

And now, on to the random thoughts that have been occupying my mind:

If humans are the most advanced species on this planet, why are we the only ones that need toilet paper? And what would a real bear do if you gave it a roll of Charmin®?

What’s the opposite of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

Advertisers use a lots of rock and roll songs to promote their products. Maybe rock bands should start writing songs about the things we buy. Orajel is the Answer. My Mercedes. Pass the Polygrip. It’d probably make life easier for all of us.

What the hell is a kumquat? It sounds pornographic…

Do you ever make up nonsense lyrics to songs? There’s one group you can’t do that to. America. Remember A Horse With No Name? The lyrics are so inane that anything nonsensical you come up with makes more sense than the original lyrics. Go ahead, try it.

We’ve been living in the End of Times ever since the death and resurrection of Jesus. I wonder how much longer that will go on?

* * * *

I could probably ramble on for a few more hours about random thoughts in my head, but they’re too ethereal for even me to keep track of. Yesterday’s profundity is today’s mystery. It’s like unto a kiss in dream. Did that really happen? It seemed real.

Now that I’ve gotten some of my idle thoughts out of my head, maybe I can focus on something that isn’t quite so…frivolous. Maybe. Only time will tell.

How do you say kumquat in Spanish?