She was beautiful.
Red hair. A smile that would make men weak at the knees.
I fell in love with her the first time I saw her.
And she was nuts.
I, of course, could not see it. I was in love.
My friends would pull me aside and tell me, in Cassius-conspiratorial whispers: "You do know she's crazy, don't you?"
And I would respond: "She's so pretty."
Of course, like all love stories that start with those elements, it did not end happily. I did not marry her.
There were parting telephone calls where she alternated between Doris Day and the Mouth of Sauron. There were more bad days than good days.
And then nothing. As if the moment had never happened.
I thought of her on Sunday. As I was walking into town from church, a woman came running across the street.
She could have been from central casting -- wearing her hat emblazoned with the name of a Mexican resort town, shorts, and what looked like either a table cloth or a rug wrapped around her shoulders. For a moment, I thought one of Richard's gangs had escaped from San Miguel de Allende.
I was wrong. She was a new resident in town. And she wanted to now: "American? Canadian?"
I was not certain what to make of her question. It was her accent. It did not sound Mexican. French? Central European? I could not tell.
And it was not for want of sampling. In the next five minutes I was to hear all about her personal life. And her dislikes. Apparently, they are legion.
- She cannot stand the heat in Melaque. It is literally killing her -- causing her blood pressure to zoom to levels that would kill a mortal being.
- She cannot abide the local health clinic. They are stupid because they would not give her medications she had demanded. And she has played a doctor on the stage.
- Mexicans do not know how to cook Mexican food. Every place she has eaten, she needs to show the cook how Mexicans should cook.
- She dislikes all of the Mexican people in town because they are stupid. They cannot discuss Sartre and other interesting existentialists with her.
When I asked her why she was in Mexico if she disliked the place so much, she responded -- "for love." She came here to live with a man, but he was trouble.
One can only imagine. And I left it to my imagination. There are things I do not need to know.
What I needed to know was how to get away. I did not need my friends to warn me what was going on.
She stopped at a shop; I went on my way.
I did start wondering, though. We all have things that we do not like about Mexico -- or wherever it is we live. My little encounter was obviously extreme. But do we come off as being simply unbalanced in our observations?
Now, I have something else to watch out for on the streets of Melaque: Glenn Close in a serape. I hope she has not seen A Fistful of Dollars.