Tuesday, March 06, 2018

sentimental irony

“The tone of your writing certainly has changed since you moved down here.”

So Darrel announced on our walk to the Barra de Navidad ATM (a mission that, as it has on so many occasions, resulted in a dry hole). We had been discussing the possibility of having dinner at Lora Loka’s in La Manzanilla. He loves her baked shrimp enchiladas with salsa verde.

In anticipation, he had searched my blog for references to her restaurant and found one of my first posts after moving to Mexico. The families of two other fellow bloggers were in La Manzanilla and wanted to know if we could all get together for an informal blogger conference. I thought it was a great idea (having just had dinner with two other bloggers in Guaymas).

I suggested Lora’s because I knew her from my stay in La Manzanilla in 2007. It was all going perfectly.

Until the Mexican government declared a health crisis due to the swine flu. People were prohibited from gathering in large groups. Theaters were closed. Shopping malls were closed. And, most importantly for our group, restaurants were closed.

I had not yet been exposed to the ingenuity of Mexicans. A blogger who lived in La Manzanilla talked with Lora. The next thing I knew, we were dining as a group -- on the beach.

She had complied with the closure. We were not in the restaurant.

Darrel pointed out that the more cynical Steve of today would have led with that hook. Instead, I did not even mention it. If I recall correctly, I was still concerned Lora might get in trouble, and I did not want to be the vessel of retribution. I now know the likelihood of that happening was about as likely as Donald Trump signing a rational order on free trade.

But, he said, there was more. Back then, I wrote like a wide-eyed, slack-jawed visitor from Chippewa Falls. Everything was new. And amazing. And enthralling. I write about a place that could exist only in the mind of someone new to an area. There was a good reason for that. I was.

And now, I asked. What is my tone now?

”Ironic with an overlay of world-weariness,” he responded.

”Do you mean sophisticated and mature?”

“Nope. I already told you. Ironic with an overlay of world-weariness.”

I am content with that. Even though it does make me sound a lot like Doctor Ottensclag in Grand Hotel. It could be worse.

And I think he is only half correct. There is no doubt that I love an ironic tone. And my writing often sounds as if I am typing through long sighs.

But I still have that sense of adventure that animated my writing style nine years ago. I still wake up every morning not knowing how I am going to get through the day. And I still search for experiences in which I have never dabbled.

Today is one of those days. Mexpatriate welcomed a new cast member this morning: my niece, Kaitlyn. She will be with us for about a week. She will be a good mix to our older set.

Her arrival presented a minor problem. All of my bedrooms are full. To make room for her, I decamped to the hotel just down the street from my house for the duration. 

While I was in bed last night, I started musing about adventure. The next thing I knew, Nancy Walker was singing in my ear from Do Re Mi. One of those older musicals that had a plot, believable characters, and a heavy slathering of philosophical musing.

While I sit by the hotel pool, I will let you chuckle at a woman trying to justify her rather frustrating life with a husband who cannot find satisfaction in the moment.

I may have a love for irony, but I am also a sucker for sentiment.

No comments: