Last New Year's Eve, I took my white tie outfit out of the closet for a one-night stand at dinner in Papa Gallo's.
White tie is not the best choice for the tropics. But it was a celebration. And our winters can always benefit from a bit of dress-up.
Everything was just as it should be. Trousers. Tails. Plain-front shirt. Tie.
Well, almost as it should be. Somehow, my waistcoat (or "weskit" as my snobbier British friends would have it) had adopted a far too diverse look. Half was formally white. The other half was an odd yellowish-brown. About the shade that book pages take on as they age.
I had no idea what had happened. The waistcoat had been hanging in the closet since my last outing. And there was no local shop to pop into for a replacement. It had been made by my tailor in Mexico City.
So, I sucked up the expected ribbing at dinner. But no one seemed to notice. Low lighting and alcohol-blurred vision (and a bit of Canadian reticence) kept anyone from pointing out my calico appearance.
I tossed the waistcoat on my day bed with every intention of getting to Mexico City to have a new one made. But that just did not happen. Primarily, because of Barco.
Earlier in the week, I picked up some dry cleaning in Manzanillo. Because I am an optimist with overtones of realism, I took the waistcoat with me -- fully expecting I would still have to buy a new one before I flew off to Australia in February.
When I showed it to the woman I deal with at the cleaners, she examined it skeptically. I babbled on in Spanish that I had concluded it could not be cleaned and I needed a new one.
After examining the attached tailor tag, she started writing a receipt for me. And off it went into the back room.
When I retrieved it yesterday, she brought it out with a big smile. It was just as white as the day I put it on for my first fitting. She had worked a miracle.
One lesson I keep learning here in Mexico is that when something needs doing, there is always a worker who is positive she or he can do what needs to be done. And, most times, the result is exactly what needed to happen.
And what was the cost for avoiding a flight to Mexico City and shelling out the cost of a new white piqué waistcoat? $40 (Mx). About $1.94 (US).
Just another reason why I love living here. Even formal disasters can be remedied for pocket change.