It is time once again for me to renew my permanent resident status with the Mexican immigration authorities. I carry a little card that attests to my legal residence here. It is called an FM3. The first year that I lived here I carried an impressive little booklet that looked like a passport. Things have changed since. Now I have only this card. In 2010 I neglected to renew my immigration status on time. I was an illegal immigrant in Mexico for two or three months. I do not wish to repeat that experience. I fear above all things being deported to the north.
The first step in this process is to procure some new photos, like passport photos. I accomplished this first step today. I have these done at a shop uptown that takes little photos that the government will accept. The requirements are severe. I cannot wear glasses. I cannot smile. I must tie back my hair. I cannot wear any jewelry in my nose or otherwise on my face.
Moreover, the government requires these photo shops to use cameras especially manufactured to make the subject appear as ugly as possible in the photos that come out of them. The required manner in which the photos are processed enhances this effect to no end. I cannot tell you how horrified I am with my own appearance in these latest photos for my new FM3. I swear that I can see Death looking over my shoulder in these photos.
It has occurred to me that I do, after all, live in one of the acknowledged centers of cosmetic surgery in the entire world. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México. Old gringos and gringas come down here in droves to have their faces and other body parts surgically renovated. They then stay on for a few weeks in this beautiful place while they heal before returning north. I could have my face lifted here and not even incur travel and lodging expense to do so.
Still, I am not entirely impressed with the results of cosmetic surgery for old people insofar as I have seen those results. Old people who have had cosmetic surgery do not look like young people. They look like old people who have had cosmetic surgery. Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the museum of mummies in the state capital, Guanajuato. It is a fascinating place with a vast collection of mummies on display. Yet, as far as the truly macabre and disturbing is concerned, none of those mummies can compare with some of the mummies that I have seen walking around the streets of San Miguel de Allende.