We’ve only been in Ajijic since Tuesday afternoon. Yet already I feel more relaxed and distant from the madness of 45 and his demented minions. The village of Ajijic is a mixture of cutting edge modern culture and grim reminders of the absence of adequate education and the presence of abject poverty. Yet poverty here is a part of everyday life. I don’t think poverty here is viewed with such judgmental derision as it is in the USA.
The subdivision (fraction enter) in which my brother and his wife live is one of both relative and real wealth. About seventy-five percent of residents are Mexican, the remainder ex-pats from the USA, Canada, and a smattering of Asians and others. The homes in the central part of the village are, by and large, small and rather ramshackle places, though pockets of relative wealth are visible in renovated apartments and stand alone houses. The village readily mixes residential and commercial, so it’s easy to walk to get groceries, visit restaurants, pay electric bills, etc. Having been here such a short time, my observations are mostly speculations for now. But they are my first impressions.
Yesterday, we had lunch in a brewpub, after spending part of the morning at the tiangus (Wednesday weekly market). The two experiences were like viewing the world from two opposite poles. Both were truly enjoyable experiences, but they offered glimpses into the contrasts between poverty and wealth, possibilities and certainties, and hopes and expectations. I may try to explain what I mean by that one day after I come to grips with it myself. I the afternoon, I had a two-hour massage by a woman who explained that she was realigning my muscles to their proper orientations to one another. My career sitting behind a desk, she explained, had done unhappy things to me. She offered that, after her therapy, I might want to abandon the planned treatment of getting injections in my neck. She suggested I seek out a Bowen method therapist to work on my bone spur issues, rather than a chiropractor. We’ll see.
I had a disturbing dream last night. In part of it, I was in a meeting in which I had a bitter disagreement with a man I found intensely irritating. Somehow, that morphed into a situation in which I discovered it was 10:00 p.m. and I had failed to do anything about organizing a work-related party that was supposed to have started at 9:00 p.m. at a hotel. I fumbled around and gathered up three or four bottles of wine and a few boxes of crackers and took them to my car, where I had to wait for other cars to move before I could get out. I made my way to the hotel, where I found a sparsely attended event in which the guests were understandably upset that there was food or wine. The hotel staff then went into high gear to produce food and wine, but the catering manager admonished me for planning an event that involved me sneaking into the venue with food and wine. I apologized profusely to the catering manager and the guests for completely dropping the ball. Everyone seemed satisfied and sympathetic, save for the one guy with whom I had an earlier disagreement. He said, repeatedly and with a demonic smile, “I’m going to get you fired for this!” I knew he would. I deserved it. I had no excuse for forgetting to make arrangements for an important event. Several times during the latter part of the dream, I thought I must be having a dream, but then slipped back into fearing for my job and reputation. Finally, at 5:30, a loud boom, like a gunshot, woke me. I’ve heard several similar explosive booms since. But I’m fortified with coffee now. The booms don’t scare me!