Tuesday, October 14, 2014
slipping into the routine
We expatriates love living our fantasies.
Just read a few messages, comments, or blog posts, and you will hear all about how we are gypsies or adventurers or non-conformists. You would think we had all attended finishing school on a pirate ship.
But it is all a lie. Or, at least, a lot of posturing.
Certainly expatriates are a bit different than a lot of their stay-in-the-old-country neighbors. But it is a difference of degree; not of kind.
All you need to do is read a little further in the writings of these self-proclaimed Marco Polos to discover that their new life is about as routine as if they had never left Windsor or Sioux Falls. And I am not talking about "them." I am talking about me.
Here I am. Back in Melaque for two days and I have already reverted to behaviors that have been developed over the past six years.
Now, there is nothing wrong with routines, even though you hear people railing against them. Routines are how we fool ourselves into believing that the world is an orderly place -- and our very beings are what cause the crystal spheres to sing. It is a bit like slipping into a pair of twenty year old underwear. They may not be very utilitarian, but they are comfortable.
My routine begins with the early morning. Because of the night heat, I usually do not even bother with sleep attempts until about 2 AM or so. That means that my morning ablutions are not complete until 9.
Washed and shined, I head out the door for brunch at Rooster's. Along the way, I stop to talk with Olga, the owner-cook of La Rana (The Frog), about her family and her day. To Lucy and her daughter Jennifer at the Red Lobster about the summer season. To Ben and Alexa (of La Taza Negra), and their young children Ayden and Willow, who always brighten my day each time I talk with them. To the guys at the post office about soccer and mail delivery in the rain. To Dan of MexEco Tours about town happenings during the past six weeks. To the new girl at the Telcel counter to introduce myself. To the cleaning woman at the bank about her day.
All of that before I even get to brunch at Rooster's. The cast changes on each visit. But there are regulars. Just like a well-produced situation comedy. And I guess that is a better description of my life than "great adventure." But, at least, I do not need the crutch of a laugh track.
When I was deciding where to live in Mexico, one of my prime considerations was a place where I could "live outside of a car." Yesterday was a reminder that I need to get back on the sidewalk and leave my car keys at home.
The heat of summer is dissipating. There is too much joy to be celebrated with people living their daily lives. Even if it takes on the characteristics of a dog following his routine from hydrant to hydrant.
One reason I decided to buy a house here, even though it is far from a perfect place, is the relationships I have established. Of course, new relationships could be created wherever I decided to go. I knew no one when I moved to Melaque, after all. But I cherish the relationships I now have here.
I started wandering down this sentimental cul-de-sac when thinking about the new house. When I returned home from dinner last night, my neighbors were in front of their home soaking up the last rays of the day. They each greeted me. I went over and greeted them by name.
That is about to come to an end. But there will be new neighbors to meet. And there will always be the revolving cast of Mexpatriate to keep all of us critiquing the routine that is my life.
And I am happy to share it with you all.