15 December 2009

What the Hell is Going On and Why?

I realize that an inordinate number of recent entries here have been in great part devoted to meals or food in one way or another. I am a bit sensitive about this because older folks' fixation on and fascination with food has long been a source of amusement for me. See the open mockery in the food column for example. I can only say that my recent focus on food is for very good reasons not closely related to the usual old person's obsession with the subject.

When I came to México, a big priority for me was to see whether I could actually live here on the little money available to me. Obviously, food is a big part—and an essential part—of any budget. One cannot cut food out of the budget. Consequently, it was not that long ago that I was regaling you with the virtues and nutritional benefits of beans and rice. There was good reason for that, too. That is what I was living on, supplemented with some fresh fruit and vegetables here and there.

Suddenly over the course of the last month or month and a half and through the kindness of others, I have been eating higher on the hog than I have ever before eaten in my life. I do not exaggerate. Now, I have not had any caviar, but caviar is overrated anyway. I have had jellied squid ink, for example, which is every bit as good. I am at a bit of a loss to explain how and why all this came about.

Here is an example of what I am talking about. When La Mexicana and I attended the David Sánchez jazz concert, a couple from Vancouver sat down next to us. This was not Mark and Gwen who are also from Vancouver. This couple was Arnold and Debra. Arnold is German and is still president and major stockholder in an active Canadian advertising firm in Toronto, a firm that essentially now runs itself allowing Debra and him to live the good life in Vancouver.

The extraordinary thing about this encounter, and the thing relevant to my point, is that Debra and Adriana just happened to have attended the same convent school in Vancouver. This then later led to an invitation to their condominium rental here in San Miguel on the evening of December 11 for hors d'oeuvres and conversation. . .great, great hors d'oeuvres, if I may say. A true meal substitute. When someone turns me loose on a table of fine hors d'oeuvres, they do not suffer left overs.

We were joined at Arnold and Debra's place by another gracious and very interesting couple, John and Veronica. John is a designer formerly from Los Angeles who works here now. Veronica, a woman of accomplishment in her own right, is Chilean.

So you see, as the result of a strange coincidence, there I was again chowing down on some of the best sausage, cheese, olives, bread, fruit, and whatnot that San Miguel has to offer while at the same time soaking up the company of very interesting people. In other recent entries, I have also told you about the excellent meals I have enjoyed at the homes of other people of means. That is what I cannot explain.

Debra, La Mexicana, and Veronica,
the convent school girls.

On top of that and as another example, I happened to get invited to one of the greatest dinner parties ever simply because I am managing a drinking problem.

And on top of all that still again, La Mexicana often cooks five-course Mexican meals for me that are to die for simply because I can make her laugh.

I am careful never to mislead any of these kind people into the error of believing that I have anything material. The final verse of Jimmy Buffet's Son of a Son of a Sailor Man ends with, “I'm just glad I don't live in a trailer,” as if you cannot go any lower than that. Well, I do live in a trailer, and a damned tiny one at that. I am careful to let everyone I encounter socially know that. The only thing I own, other than my beloved pickup truck and a trailer, is a smile. And yet I am on a run of the greatest meals of my life in some of the most beautiful homes in San Miguel while my own pressure cooker gathers dust.

Now of course there is a social set in San Miguel consisting of Americans of means that will never provide me with a meal. Many of them play tennis here at the tennis courts. That is just fine with me. I would consider a great meal pitiful recompense for enduring their company for even a couple of hours. However, the people I am talking about are fascinating folks of widely varied interests and wonderful personalities with whom to pass some time with. Their conversation is not limited to the state of their portfolios. And what amazes me is that they do not seem to give a shit that I have nothing.

This is going to complicate the revolution to no end for me.


Four Dinners said...

'I have had jellied squid ink'...

oh please no....;-)...urgh

You know what old bean?

It happens to you 'cause you're a decent bloke. A decent human being if you will.

Fellow human beings recognise this and regardless of whether they're heads of mega bucks corporations or just decent human beings themselves they automatically look after you.

That's one of the wonderful things about humanity - and, let's face it, there's a few downsides - we are capable of extraordinary things, not least loving and caring for a fellow human being.

Just be you old bean and the world will turn. OK?

but pleeeeease...no more jellied squid....;-)

John said...

Sharing a good meal with good people; it is a religious experience! Some folks would call it communion.

This is the ink of the squid, given for you...

I don't know what I meant by that.