I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little — if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.
Truth be told, I have a difficult time getting to church services on Sundays. Church is not a religious event for me, it’s more like how the Saturday Night Social served the women of the American West. For five consecutive weeks now, on the nights before the mid-weekly luncheon and the Saturday women’s breakfast, I’ve schemed how I’ll trick myself into attending, yet I’ve missed both each week. Some might say this behavior is that of a depressed person, but I – like Jimmy Buffet’s line from Margaritaville, know it’s not that, but “it’s my own damn fault.”
I am positive that Coco’s sense of “a little” differs markedly from my sense of “a little,” perhaps by as much as an hour’s worth of preparation.
There’s the whole getting ready aspect. I’ve often thought of going out early – 7:30ish or so – to make photos and walk to el Centro to get a cafe con leche or a latte, but on mornings when I peek out the window and see a gray ceiling across the sky and no sun, I pull the comforter up to my nose and sleep a bit longer.
As the sun makes its presence, I make tea and put some breakfast together and think about what to wear. How do I dress to accommodate the temperature as it climbs from 2 to 24 degrees Centigrade (36 to 75 Farenheit)? Yet I don’t want to carry a heavy sweater or poncho all day. Then there are shoes – how do I go from walking shoes for the dusty dirt road to a nicer-yet-still-cobblestone-worthy pair for in-town? Do I carry those in a bag or daypack? Am I going to carry the camera around all day, adding to the weight of the bag? By now I’m mentally exhausted, ready for a nap, and I haven’t yet resolved some critical questions. Shower or no? Wash hair or not? Makeup or not?
So, you see, it’s somewhat of a chore for me to get to el Centro despite it’s being just a 20-30 minute walk.
I should – for exercise if not for any other reason – get out more than I do. There are days when I postpone going to the tienda until the next (and if I don’t truly need the milk or yogurt, then perhaps to even the next). I should – if I were really inquisitive – get out more than I do and visit the botanical garden. I have been here two months and have yet to venture into Parque Juarez, which everyone admits is a “jewel” and a “great place to walk.”
Monday I had an appointment at 4:30 p.m. to view an apartment that’s closer to el Centro and so with an external obligation, I had to get out. The apartment that I viewed has promise – it’s located on the top floor above a theater complex, so it has as nice a view as I currently have + it’s a one-minute walk across the river. Most importantly there’s a washing machine. There’s also a dining area on the roof deck so it would be easier to entertain guests than my current space. But that’s preamble to …
The Five O’clock Snack
On the walk back from the apartment I passed two boys of 9 or 10 kicking a soccer ball in a vacant lot. One boy kicked the ball high and far: it cleared the wire fence that enclosed the lot, cleared the street, then sailed over the brick wall to someone’s compound. I stopped at a tienda for apples, bananas and broccoli (24 pesos) and then at a tortilleria where the tortillas are hecho a mano, made by hand, and I ordered a half-kilo (7.5 pesos). They came directly from the grill, were wrapped in paper, and were still warm, almost hot, when I got them home. It’s hard to believe that this is the first time I’ve bought tortillas in two months, but a medio kilo, about a pound, is 14 tortillas, and I’ve thought they would go stale before I could eat them.
Sunday I had bought a log of queso ranchero de cabra, a mild goat cheese made in Perote, Veracruz. I spread that on the warm tortillas and it was a great appetizer.
Unlike France, Mexico does not have a rigorous method of protecting unique agricultural products. I understand there are two Mexican cheeses that are protected against infringement: Cotija and a Chiapan cheese, queso de bola. Protection has been sought for the queso ranchero de cabra.
The Seven P.M. Rain Shower
Monday was one of those brilliant days with no haze, no smog, low humidity. High chiaroscuro clouds. It was so gorgeous and I had gone to all that trouble of getting ready for destiny, that I thought I might see a one-person play at the Shelter Theater. Once I was home and writing, however, time rushed by and I found myself listening to thunder and a rushing wind, watching lightning behind the horizon across the way and the neighboring trees sway, being surprised by a few raindrops against the windows, hoping the young women rushing on Los Chupiros would make it back to Casa Hogar before the deluge, because it did look and sound like that was about to happen. And it did, for 20 or 30 minutes.
Maybe I need to change my personal definition of destiny.