I have a hectic day ahead of me today. I woke up this morning and read while under the quilt until it warmed up a bit. Not a novel. I meant it when I said that I am through with novels. I am finishing up Survivors in Mexico by Rebecca West. Rest easy. We are not going to waste time today talking about that book. I have too much to do.
I was sitting here with my coffee ready to make my checklist for today. Then I had an idea. Several times early in my acquaintance with Americans whom I have met here--Americans here for a short visit--they fix me with a serious look and ask, “Just exactly what do you do here?”
That is a difficult question to answer in twenty words or less. Therefore, I got the idea to share my thought processes in a blog entry as I put together my checklist for today. That way people can get a grasp of what a typical day for me in San Miguel involves. When somebody asks me that question in the future, I can simply refer them to this blog entry.
It also occurred to me that it would be great if I had a Winky Dink kit. Let me explain for the young people. When I was a youngster there was a television program for children called Winky Dink. Winky Dink was a little cartoon character who was always having adventures. One could send in and acquire a Winky Dink kit that would allow one to participate in Winky Dink's adventures with him.
A Winky Dink kit was comprised of a piece of plastic that would adhere to the television screen. The kit also included crayons with which one could draw on that plastic stuck to the television screen. Captain Bob, or whatever the hell his name was, would tell you what to draw while the program proceeded.
Let us say, for example, that Winky Dink was being pursued by evil creatures of some sort and as he was fleeing he encountered a river. Captain Bob would tell me to draw a bridge over that river on my television screen, which I would do. Then Winky Dink would cross the river on the bridge that I had drawn. After Winky Dink was safely across the river, Captain Bob would tell me to erase the bridge that I had drawn with the special cloth included in the kit. I would erase the bridge. Then the evil pursuers could not cross that river in pursuit of Winky Dink and would be foiled. Get it?
I was thinking that if I had a Winky Dink kit, I could stick the plastic on my laptop screen and actually check off the items listed in this blog entry with the special crayons instead of actually writing the checklist. I do not have a Winky Dink kit obviously. Moreover, I would have to carry the laptop around with me. Let us get on with it then.
When I am organizing my day, I like to take the most important thing that I must accomplish and build the rest of the day around that. Today I must walk over to Billy's automobile repair shop and ask him when he would have time to look at the brakes on my truck. Billy is an expatriate who has lived here and operated an automobile repair shop for years. I met him because he stores a couple of vintage automobiles at the tennis courts.
Billy is originally from Denver, I think. He capitalizes on the fact that some Americans here never learn any Spanish and others are uncomfortable experimenting with their Spanish when discussing needed repairs to their automobiles. More importantly, he is a good guy. A philosopher actually. We will have to chat about the meaning of life for twenty or thirty minutes before we get to the subject of the brakes on my truck.
Every morning this week I have awakened with the firm intention in mind to walk over and discuss the truck's brakes with Billy. Now it is Friday morning. I am resolved to get this done. I have decided to place this task in the 2:00 p.m. time slot. That will be the heat of the day—it is projected to be 75° F. (24° C.) and sunny. So then, now I am going to strategically place my other tasks in the checklist around this centerpiece, if you will.
Breakfast. I am multitasking right now, eating a banana as I write this checklist. As soon as I am finished with the checklist I will have some cereal, Corn Flakes I think. I will have some grapefruit juice, too. No restaurant breakfast for me this morning because restaurant breakfasts seem to take forever and slow me down.
For example, yesterday I had Mexican scrambled eggs, that is, scrambled eggs that have various unidentifiable Mexican things mixed in with them. That is why they call them Mexican scrambled eggs. Along with the Mexican scrambled eggs, I had refried beans, bread, a bowl of banana slices and melon chunks with honey on top, grapefruit juice, and coffee with honey in it, too. It took me between an hour and a half and two hours for that breakfast sitting outside in the morning sun at Los Bisquets. I cannot afford that kind of time for breakfast today.
I am going to get some thinking done while I eat these Corn Flakes. Hojuelos de Maíz, it says here. A couple of days ago La Mexicana informed me that the Mexicans here think that I am a hippie. She was not chiding me or anything. She was just passing along an interesting piece of information. I got the impression that the Mexicans were more amused than anything. Therein lies a lesson. Many times the picture that we have of ourselves does not at all correspond with the picture that others have of us.
I was surprised that the Mexicans regard me as a hippie. I am going to give some thought to whether I ought to adjust my manner of dress or my demeanor or something to bring the image that I project more closely in line with the image that I have of myself. I regard myself as a focused, purpose-driven kind of guy. Hippies do not make checklists, among other things.
After that I am going outside to sit in the sun and read some more Rebecca West while I wait for it to warm up some more. The sun is well up over the mountain now. Every once in a while, I can take a break, turn my head to the right, and watch some investment bankers play tennis. Maybe one will sprain an ankle this morning or injure himself in some other more interesting way. Like maybe pull a groin muscle.
I am not going to shower today. I showered on Tuesday. That need not go on this checklist. Nor do I think that I will put in my contact lenses. I will use my prescription sunglasses even though they look a little weird. I might change my mind on that. Let me put a question mark there. I will need to brush my teeth however, but I am going to do that after reading and watching the tennis players and before I depart. I am putting departure time at about two hours or two and a half hours down the road.
On the way to Billy's shop, I need to stop at Frank's house. He is building some cabinets for someone. I want to look a them. I suspect that he will have some pastry or something to offer me. Frank lives near the plaza in front of San Antonio Church up the street.
Workers there have been totally replacing the stone surface. Part of this process involves installing brick laid in a fairly intricate pattern around the fountain. Also, a circular pattern of brick work is being laid right out in the middle in front of the church. I need to watch this work for a few minutes. I can sit on the steps of the church. It is fascinating to see how they do that. So there are another couple of items that I need to get done.
Next, I need to get over to the intersection of Ancha San Antonio, the main drag through the neighborhood, and Cardo. This will be right on my way to Billy's. There is an island in the middle of that tee intersection. There is some work being done in the middle of Ancha San Antonio right where that island is.
The traffic heading up town is being diverted onto Cardo and around the island. People driving on Cardo toward that island are faced with unanticipated oncoming traffic that is turning in front of them to get around that island. This makes for some entertaining confusion.
There is a little store right there where I can get a soda to drink while I watch this for awhile. Which reminds me. I need to remember to pee at Frank's place before leaving there because there are no public restrooms anywhere near that intersection. One would have to walk clear up to the Pemex station.
Which would not be a problem because by that time, I will probably be ready for a mid-day snack. Maybe a crêpe with chocolate on it and coffee at Café del Sol near the Pemex stattion. The coffee is killer there. This will cost something like $1.50 American, which is high, but still . . . By that time the sun will be on the outside tables. Café del Sol is on the other side of the street from Los Biquets. If I tie back my hair, I can brighten up the tan on my forehead a bit and multitask there, too. That all could take some serious time, however. I need to keep an eye on my watch.
I am going to put that on my checklist here. “Look at your watch while at Café del Sol.”
Then I will go back down the street to that intersection and turn on Cardo to walk toward Billy's place. There is an interesting construction project down a way that one can watch through the fence. Across from the pharmacy.
Somewhere amid all this, I would like to get over to La Mexicana's courtyard and sit there and pet the dog for awhile. That is not a must for today though. I am putting a question mark behind that.
The more I think about this the more apparent it becomes that my visit with Billy about the brakes on my truck could wait until Monday. I am not planning any big trips. But then, Fred and I were talking about driving to Pozos to look at the abandoned Spanish mines there on Monday. However, there is no way Billy could look at those brakes before Monday anyway. Therefore, it would work just as well if I spoke with Billy about those brakes next Tuesday.
Assuming that I do not drive the truck into an open mine shaft at Pozos when the brakes fail.
It now occurs to me--things are occurring to me right and left--that this has been a useful drill in an additional sense. Americans tend to over schedule themselves. As a result, they are always saying things like, “I have a lot on my plate right now.” Another popular food metaphor among Americans. I am American. Therefore, I need to be ever so careful not to put too many things on my plate. That is another reason that a checklist is so important. And it is another reason why my visit to Billy's shop can wait until Tuesday.
I am taking out the question mark after that entry about petting the dog.
After I upload this, I will save it to a disk, go out to the paper and copy shop near the front gate, and have it printed off. Since I have neither a Winky Dink kit nor a printer. My handwriting has deteriorated badly. That will cost a peso, but it will be money well spent.