The costs of leaving

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun—
My dream.

Langston Hughes, from As I Grew Older

IMGP0634Today (Saturday) at 3/14/15 at 9:26 a.m. and 53 seconds, you would have been able to celebrate pi to nine places: (3.141592653).  I hope my pie-loving grandsons are aware that today is pi(e) day.

Seventy years ago (sometime during early March), Anne Frank and her sister died in the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp.

I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.

Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

Moving things and me

During my two and a half years in Mexico I’ve brought clothes and bedding and bath towels from the U.S. as part of my comings and goings.

Getting them back to the U.S. will require traveling with four suitcases and shipping three large boxes.  Or three and four.  Shipping a box is $80 (US) (for up to 20 kg) )while a third suitcase on the airplane is $40 and a fourth costs $130 – a total of either $410 or $360, almost the equivalent of another round-trip flight. I have rid myself of some things and could probably give away more, but it’s unlikely to make a significant change to the space I need.

While in the Portland area I’ll be staying at my son’s and he doesn’t have space to store any more of my things: he already has several of my carry-ons (so I haven’t needed to carry clothes and toiletries back and forth from Portland to Mexico).  If I travel to the Bay Area to apply for a French visa, I can take the three boxes worth of items and put them in my Bay Area storage, which would make my son happy.

I could leave three suitcases of clothing in San Miguel (if I knew what I should take to Europe) and continue on to Mexico from San Francisco, pick up the luggage and then leave for Europe from Mexico City.  That would eliminate the cost of a return SF-Portland flight as well as the cost of shipping boxes.  It introduces a new SF-Mexico flight cost and another round-trip bus fare to/from Mexico City-San Miguel.  The matrix of travel options is:
itinI woke up Saturday morning at 3 a.m. as my dreams kept returning to these machinations with their related travel costs for buses, taxis, and trains and such. My sleeplessness wasn’t entirely due to the accumulating baggage fees.  I was to have shown the casita to someone yesterday and that also kept me awake as I went through withdrawal and panic anxieties.  As a friend recently pointed out, I seem to be the female man without a country. Do I really want to become – if only for a short while – again without an address, looking for the next place, the next apartment?

No need to snap.  Just a question.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (the movie)

Then there’s the weather report

Rumors are there’s snow on the ground from Puebla to Mexico City, 5 centimeters or so.  We have had rain in San Miguel off and on for the past week, gray days are back and people are complaining about a second winter after having put their winter clothes away.  Saturday there was enough rain for us to cancel our meeting to view the casita.  I watched water build up in the patio as drains couldn’t handle the persistent downpour.

Construction detours

The Ancha de San Antonio (one of the main thoroughfares in San Miguel) has been undergoing construction  for some time (it looks like new electrical and water services are being installed).  At times there is a detour route through Colonia San Antonio.
Slide1When there is no construction the two-lane, bidirectional Ancha is by far the faster route to and from El Centro; the route through the San Antonio neighborhood is painfully slow as it’s narrow and busy.  On the Ancha there are gaps in the construction which has allowed a driver to think that by ignoring the detour sign and the policeman directing traffic, one might find breaks in the oncoming traffic; if necessary, one might duck into the gaps in construction to avoid that oncoming traffic.  The one inbound lane was often backed up for at least a kilometer, especially when a jay-driving driver (gold arrow) seeking to escape El Centro encountered an inward bound driver (black arrow).  Yet any number of drivers chose to avoid the slower detour route in favor of the far-slower route of dodge-car traffic.

Pet passion

There’s a terrifically funny article (IMO) by Patricia Marx titled Pets Allowed in the 20/10/2014 issue of The New Yorker.  Her article begins

What a wonderful time it is for the scammer, the conniver, and the cheater:  the underage drinkers who flash fake I.D.s, the able-bodied adults who drive cars with handicapped license plates, the parents who use a phony address so that their child can attend a more desirable public school, the customers with eleven items who stand in the express lane.  The latest group to bend the law is pet owners.

She continues

Take a look around. See the St. Bernard slobbering over the shallots at Whole Foods? Isn’t that a Rottweiler sitting third row, mezzanine, at Carnegie Hall?

She goes on to excoriate those who attach harnesses and other paraphernalia with E.S.A. (Emotional Support Animal) tags.  Emotional Support Animals have no legal standing (unlike service animals), but there is an entire industry supporting humans who are unable (unwilling?) to leave their animals at home.  In fact, the humans seem willing to put their animals [as well as nearby humans] in distress to satisfy their own need to avoid pet-sitters, kennel fees, costs of dog-walkers and the like.

Ms. Marx took a range of animals (including a snake, a turtle and a turkey) around New York City to gauge peoples’ and institutions’ reactions and behaviors to her claims that they were Emotional Support Animals and necessary to her psychological well-being. Because most people in security, retail and other services do not know the difference between an ESA animal and a service animal and because they fear lawsuits and fines for prohibiting access to people with true disabilities, they tend to cave to browbeating from the ESA tag bullies and their sometimes ill-behaved pets.

I loved the article, wished terribly that I could have accompanied her on her travels, am envious of her audacity and so jealous of her creativity and article concept.

Leaving My Old Life Behind

Puce Moment

The video portion of the above was taken from a six-minute film made in 1949 by Kenneth Anger. The film’s score was originally Verdi, but during the 1960s Anger re-released the film with a folk-psychedelic soundtrack that included Jonathan Halper’s song (lyrics below). The actress is Anger’s cousin, Yvonne Marquis, who later married the president of Mexico, Lázaro Cárdenas.

I learned quite a lot
Shooting through my mind
Things I never guessed at before

And so I decided
To leave my old life behind
I don’t need it anymore

I’m gonna learn to climb the clouds
I’m gonna learn to climb the wind
I wont stop ’til I’ve understood the dark

I’m gonna learn to fly the clouds
I’m gonna understand the air
My mind will listen to the stars

To everyone else I appear quite the same
And I help them as much as I can

But they’ll never know that my mind is in the air
O how could they ever understand

I’m gonna learn to climb the clouds
I’m gonna pull upon the rain
I’ll learn what lies beneath the earth

I’m gonna learn to climb the clouds
I’m gonna understand the space
I’ll even go back beyond birth


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