Years I had been from home,
And now, before the door
I dared not open, lest a face
I never saw before
Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.
My business, – just a life I left,
Was such still dwelling there?
Emily Dickinson, Home
Mary came into the cafe at the Biblioteca this morning. She had a stroke some years ago and looks as if she needs help when she walks. She often wears a notice suspended on a chain, a necklace of sorts, and it reads: “don’t help me! I don’t need help.” She didn’t wear it this morning and as Mary tried to squeeze between the bar/counter and the crowd of Americans unable to wait at their tables for service, three well-intentioned American woman tried to assist her. Mary can be quite fierce in protecting her independence and she snapped, somewhat loudly, “don’t ever touch me!” The three women, suddenly ashamed and timid, scattered slightly, laughed awkwardly, and were, within a few moments, suddenly mad (in a defensive and very civilized way, as a result of having been embarrassed). Mary is a regular in the cafe; after she found a table she liked, the staff stopped to say hello to her as they passed her table. Somehow Mary gets served quickly, ahead of the impatient newbies, and she stays for hours. She sits happily in the leaf-dappled sunlight, keeping time to the Ottmar Liebert recorded music that plays so frequently he might be entitled to call the cafe his home.
A friend arranged a meeting for me with the owner of a bed and breakfast in town. My friend thinks the owner needs help and she thinks I need money. Money would be nice, but not at the price of being responsible for a bed and breakfast. Mercifully there was confusion on behalf of the staff at the b and b as to my identity and our morning meeting was avoided.
Summer is a’comin
Tonight the first true sign of summer appeared: the late afternoon shower. For several days it’s been warm (30s) and there’s been wind to drive the jacaranda blossoms from tree to earth, to kick up dust from the school yard and deposit it on the patio. Despite our sweepings (Dolores on Friday, Jesus on Saturday, Dale on Sunday and me today) the patio is lavender-freckled with blossoms. Then the coolness came and the rain, quickly, splattered.
I have one or perhaps two forthcoming trips. One to California (where I lived for many years) and then on to Oregon where my son now lives. There is likely a second trip, to Connecticut where I grew up. Planning these have been extremely complicated and hinged around one question to which I’ve finally learned the answer: would I see my son and his family or would business or other matters interfere?
My flight to the SF Bay area was booked months ago and is the return portion of that booking. That left me with decisions such as: would I continue to Portland to see my son and his family? That would determine whether my return to Mexico would be via Portland or the Bay Area. Because I am in Mexico on 180-day tourist visas, I need to book my return to the U.S. about six months later – so which would be my destination? and in which month (November or December) would be my return? That decision would be driven by whether I went to the New York area; a trip to the reunion would push my return to Mexico into June and I would then need to leave Mexico in December (when my tourist visa would expire). There is another option, which is much easier traveling: San Miguel to Portland is a long trip because it goes via Houston where a connection is made and the immigration and custom lines are exceeding long; I could book everything through San Francisco which is a non-stop flight, visit friends in the Bay Area, then book a second flight to Portland and return to Mexico via San Francisco.
Would I fly to New York from Portland, the Bay Area or Mexico?
How long in each locale?
Where would I stay in Portland? My son’s house is a possibility, as is an apartment, as is a friend’s house. There are some unresolved family tensions that could drive this.
I feel like I need some new clothes for the reunion, which I’d like to have delivered in the US. My billing address for my plastic card is Mexico, which makes delivery in the United States difficult. If the clothes are shipped to Mexico there is no free shipping (as there is in the US) and I would have to pay import duties as well as 16% tax. How do I get around this obstacle?
Where do I have the clothes delivered? Oregon is optimal as there is no sales tax; California has a significant sales tax. Oregon is a possibility depending on who is living in my son’s house.
The reunion & New York: where do I stay in Connecticut? Hotel? Air bnb? old friends? cousins? It’s expensive but I haven’t seen friends and family in many decades. How many days in Greenwich? then how much time with my friend in New York? and when do I see my friend from Massachusetts who has a friend in New York? How much time do we spend together? Is New York before or after the reunion?
I’m left with those questions after having the key issue resolved.
Comin’ Home Baby
I remember some odd things. In the days before recorded music was everywhere, in the days when vinyl was important, I owned an album of Herbie Mann’s music; it was the first music that I owned that melted and warped in the sun. I have no recollection of how: I remember the shape of the disc, a wave on one side, from whose crest the needle and arm of the player would leap.