Monday, June 01, 2009

second seating

Other than going to church this morning, and taking two short walks with Jiggs, we stayed inside our gate all day Sunday.

Almost as if we were rehearsing for our own remake of 55 Days at Peking.

That is not a complaint. It turned out to be a nice day of rest.

I was going to do the laundry. I didn't. There is always Monday.

I was going to cook up an original dinner. I didn't. Instead, I ate leftover hoisin chicken.

I decided to simply sit with the dog -- and chat with him.

And I read. Nothing deep. Nothing challenging. Just another installment in Harry Turtledove's alternate history of the United States.

As I sat looking out at the ocean, I had one of those strange flashes of déjà vu.

Of course, even with its changing face, the ocean always has a patina of unwarranted familiarity. Rather like that brother-in-law, who always assumes that he knows you better than he does. In the case of the ocean, it may be because we seek it out.

The experience of the beach is a foundational childhood experience. And that may be one reason I thought I would find joy living by the seashore.

But that is the type of connection you expect to see in a psychotherapist's notebook.

The connection that struck me on Sunday was far more shallow.

And then I realized what it was.

If I had not chosen to live in Mexico, I could have spent the rest of my life on a cruise liner.

I love the cruise experience -- and not just any cruise experience. I am one of those passengers who need accommodations on the stern. I am an aft cabin sort of guy. If I cannot get one, I most likely will not sign up for the cruise.

A quick comparison between the photograph below and the photograph at the top of this post says a lot about why I decided to settle on the Pacific coast. This photograph is taken from my aft cabin on a cruise ship off the Pacific coast of Mexico.

There is something disconcerting about the comparison.

After giving the cruise ship option thorough consideration, I discarded it. It would be like having caviar for breakfast every morning.

And, as Stephen Sondheim wisely reminded us in Into the Woods:

Oh. if life were made of moments,
Even now and then a bad one!
But if life were only moments,
Then you'd never know you had one.

Those last two lines are as true as anything I have ever heard.

If we had nothing but "moments" in our lives, we would not even recognize that they had happened.

And that has got me to thinking. Am I asking too much of these moments at the beach?

I am trying to enjoy each day as it comes along -- especially these simple days with Jiggs.

Perhaps, I just need to continue to adjust to my new surroundings. Or maybe I need to realize there is much more to this journey -- and I have not arrived at a destination.


Christine said...

Retirement takes some getting used to no matter where you are. But it sounds like you are getting a touch of "island fever." Doesn't Jiggs like to ride in a car? A lot of dogs do if they can stick their head out the window. If so, I think a once weekly drive to the surrounding towns for lunch (such as La Manzanilla) could add spice. I still recommend hiring a driver. One of the nice things about Mexico is affordable assistants. You could put out the word through your maid or others that you wanted an experienced driver, not too expensive, who spoke a little English once a week for three hour outings.

Islagringo said...

I agree. Not sure if it was your intent or not, but you sound like you may have a titch of homesickness, loneliness, depression or maybe even feeling nostalgic. Understandably so with what you have been going through with Jiggs and then Darrel leaving you on your own. Go take some pictures.

Steve Cotton said...

Jiggs is unique in many ways. one of those ways: he hates riding in the truck. I literally have to wrestle him in, and then he sits sullenly with his head down. He will not put his head out the window. But we may drive over to La Manzanilla. If the vet approves, I would like to let him swim a bit.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve, glad Jiggs is doing well. I think one of the issues right now is you are missing the pleasure of conversations with friends and acquaintances. No Man is an Island. It is not too late to cruise. Remember you are in charge of your destiny. When you have had enough of this experience move on to your next. You don't have to stay for the entire summer. Honestly, no one wants to be in Mexico those hot humid summer months. You really gained your freedom when you retired but you must now follow your dreams and your passions. It took us 8 years to figure retirement out and one of the things we lost our passion for was Mexico. And that was because we were not involved enough and people came and left. Mexico is the greatest place for a 2 week visit and that is enough especially during the summer. You are in the drivers seat. When you get ready pack up Jiggs and move on or book the next cruise!! If you are not happy and content with your life nothing else really matters. We are speaking from experience. Live everyday as if it your last. Do something everyday that scares you. Don't grow roots. Grow wings. Dream big.

Steve Cotton said...

Islandgringo -- Good prescription. I actually have pictures of the house I should start posting this week.

Anonymous -- I have learned the first lesson: be flexible. I will be where I am until at least mid-December. Who knows where I will go next? But growing wings seems to be some of the best advice I have heard in a long time. And, you are correct, I am starved for conversation.

Charley said...

thanks for sharing the internal dialog

Mic said...

Sounds like you and the Prof. had a very enjoyable Sunday.

"Listening to your heart, finding out who you are, is not simple. It takes time for the chatter to quiet down. In the silence of 'not doing' we begin to know what we feel.

If we listen and hear what is being offered, then anything in life can be our guide.


Anonymous said...

memory fade with time!
Nothing ever stay the same.
find love in your heart.
Take care,Steve

TenekTech said...

Hi Steve,
I also recommend you to make visits to small towns close by. There is a music and food festival coming up this weekend in Ajijic / Chapala Mexico call "Noches de Ajijic". The site is in Spanish, maybe you are interested in attending this one.

Anonymous said...

You made me think with that post. I always envied people who were so decisive and definite about their retirement choice. For the most part, my blog on San Miguel was an examination of the choices others had made and I hadn't. I have reached no conclusions. I have been retired ten years and it has been a series of moments tied together rather loosely with nothing really cohesive. When you called the post second seating I knew exactly what you were talking about.

Nancy said...

One thing Paul and I noticed when we went to Mérida was how moderate the traffic was...then we came to find out that the traffic was light because it was semana santa and everyone was out of town. Can you imagine if someone had decided to move there with light traffic being one of their must-haves?

My point being that you never really know a place until you've been there a while.

Mazatlan is pretty quiet right now (well except for Calderón and the Dia de la Marina) but it sure isn't like this most of the year. Successful year-rounders here like the way the city ebbs and flows.

So what I'm saying is give it time, give yourself time. What might be too quiet one week will change the next.

Part of the fun of your adventure is paying attention to what you love (and don't) whereever you go.


glorv1 said...

I agree with everyone, but hey, you have just arrived and have been taking care of the business at hand (Jiggs) and really haven't had time to "do your thing." I think everything will fall into its place once you are in full acceptance of your new life. December will be here before you know it. Call up your friends, your brother, your mother, and have some conversations. Tell them you miss them which I'm sure you do. You'll feel a little better. You are your own person and I think a great person. Just relax, take it easy, and thank God for this day of breathing. My hugs to Jiggy. :D

Steve Cotton said...

Charley -- Nothing like externalising the internal for pop therapy.

Mic -- Ah, yes. Similar to: "Be still and know I am God."

Anonymous -- I shall take care.

TenekTech -- Here is the current problem. I am restricted to driving about an hour away from the house. There will be many more adventures on the list -- just not now. Unless I can find a sitter for Jiggs.

Richland -- I decided "second helping" was not going to be helpful to my weight loss program.

Nancy -- You are correct that staying somewhere for at least a year is the best way to decide if it is The Spot. You and Paul were unusually lucky finding a match with Mazatlan.

Gloria -- More than company, I need an audience. But I would settle for simple chats.

Nancy said...

Just so you don't think we are unusually lucky I just want to say that we sometimes have our issues with Mazatlan, too. Sometimes we are loving it and sometimes not. One thing that frustrates us is how easy it is to speak English. Another is the litter and lack of pride in the city. And for example, Merida was extremely clean, no graffiti to speak of and everyone was very proud of the city...but it didn't make us want to move there....because at least for now the access to the beach balances things out.

We'll probably move on someday, but for now we are enjoying it, really enjoying it every day.

Cheers again!

Anonymous said...

I also think a dog sitter is a great idea. Maybe Sparks could hook you up with someone who could come to your house for Jiggs to get to know and you would be comfortable with Jiggs. Who knows, you might want to do a little surf fishing and I bet you would be wonderful with Cisco's Amigos and meet all those wonderful people. I think I know the down times where just meeting up with a friend/aquaintance changes everything. How about a walk in the morning for coffee at Banana's,Felix's, Ramon's, or Mikes Place (grandmothers) quite a few single expats in the A.M. Wishing you two all the best. Joan

Steve Cotton said...

Joan -- I do need to get plugged into a social network.

John said...

My first lazy days in Mexico were bliss. Then loneliness and boredom set in. In the end, I took on a three-year volunteer stint teaching English to young adults. At the end of that time, I found my life so full of other things that I had to give up the teaching job.

Best wishes, Steve, for an easy adjustment to retired life.