Ahhh, gossip. Rampant here in San Miguel!! As a person with well over 10 years of relatively large public persona, I have been "noticed" by many people who never even met me, by some who have have actually met me but hardly know me at all, and by a very few people who actually took the time to get to know me. All have opinions, and many have spoken them.
I have noticed that in my years here, since 1993, some people do not need facts to commence talking about other people. In truth, I suspect that I've done the same thing from time to time (although I do, in fact, try not to do that very often). I have heard things about almost everyone that I personally know and yet know these so-called "facts" about them to be untrue, although probably believed by the speaker. I have heard things that are malicious and others that are innocently spoken, but possibly hurtful to the reputation of someone nonetheless. Here I will try to dispel things ABOUT ME that I've heard were spoken about me.
Some untrue gossip that I've heard about me, ...
and these are my responses (which I can swear on my life are the true facts):
I am wanted by the authorities in the USA - that's why I "can't go back"
My reply is in three parts (two public replies and a previously private reply to Helen Dunham and Anya Grange). I had heard this "can't go back" story for years and just ignored it but when someone, on the public "coollist", actually said this (and it might have been read by so many that I possibly did not know personally), I thought it was time to reply. I was more concerned for the beneficiaries of my foundation and my credibility to perform my promises made on the foundation's web-site. So I replied on the coollist in 2005:
"Why don't you take me up on the opportunity to turn
me in to the (rumor has it) authorities who are supposed to be looking for me.
The address I give below was where I lived for the entire 27 years prior to my
appearance in San Miguel. And anyone looking for me prior to 1965 (13
years here now and 27 years at 345 East 52nd Street, NYC 10022), I guess
will just be out of luck.
The private response to Helen and Anya follows:
"As to Anya's "pots of money" thought, it is actually being enriched by pieces of paper that lists the securities hidden at brokerages in the USA and other pieces of paper that allow me to write checks against the first pieces of paper. Pots of gold indeed!!!??? You'd think I sat down every night and counted my coins. Actually, I miss doing just that, something I did do as a child, when all I had were a few pennies.
"I don't usually relate the REAL REASON that I don't go back to the USA, but you both have been so kind in the past, I thought I would tell YOU.
"I never loved traveling with my parents when I was a child. We traveled around locally (from NJ to other places in NJ, NY, Conn, and RI) in a series of old beat-up cars (many times breaking down on the way) with my mother and father bickering and me fighting with my brother. These were not fun trips.
"When I grew up and went out on my own, I traveled extensively on business (at first) and did not enjoy the trips (I hated packing, unpacking, and waiting for planes, etc.), although I did enjoy being at the places I traveled to - all over the USA and this hemisphere, as far south and east as Rio de Janeiro). Later on, I married a woman who did not like traveling any more than I did and we therefore did not travel other than around New York's various beaches each summer
"Still later, when divorced, and with a thriving professional practice that allowed me to take ten separate one-week vacations every year, I did the simple traveling repeatedly to various Club Meds and other similar places. Tiring finally of Club Med, I tried a place called San MIGWELL (I heard it had a college atmosphere - I thought of Princeton - and an art colony - I thought of Greenwich Village). Discovering that it was neither Princeton nor Greenwich Village, I still fell in love with it. It was a fast (door to door took 13 hours and I stayed here - in my 4 pre-permanent trips - for one week, one month, two weeks, and six months respectively). Nonetheless, I got the trips down to a science and after the first (one-week) trip, each time I was here I left most of my "stuff" behind so that each of the succeeding trips required less packing and unpacking. Finally, coincidentally 7 days after the Oklahoma City bombing - the truth is that my trip was planned prior to that event, I came down here for what was supposed to be an FM3 allowance of one whole year.
"Then, I just decided each time the question came up, why bother to go back to the USA when anyone I would miss there, could and would come here. And the FM3 just got renewed and renewed and renewed and my continuous stay just lengthened.
"Next came 9/11 and the problems I had with packing, unpacking and hanging out at airports that previously kept me from traveling, now became MORE AGGRAVATED. So I just settled in and no longer even considered leaving.
"As a matter of final fact, I just (on March 19, 2006) become eligible for the status of Imigrado and after filing certain papers (that I have already completed), my 5th FM2 (I switched from FM3 some time ago) will be converted to Permanent Resident and I won't even have to travel to "the Imigracion oficinas any longer.
"Goodbye and fuck you, George W. Bush, and all of your well-wishers. I am here to stay."
A further thought occurred to me in 2010 when I realized that since I was 74 years old, I had spent a combined total of 50 years of my life in midtown Manhattan and San Miguel de Allende, two places that so many of the world's population was trying to travel TO. Well, how about that? I am here already, why travel anywhere else now?
I questioned the gossip that "I am gay AND I am a heterosexual rapist??"
Coincidentally, I heard about BOTH of these rumors in the same week. Wow, what a confused life I must lead. Can I really be both at the same time? To state the obvious (at least to me), no, I am not gay and I am certainly not a rapist of any sort. Let's see if I can add something to the story.
The "gay" part probably comes from the fact that I am not seen publicly jumping on every new woman I meet. I am attracted to soft-spoken and more sophisticated women than I usually encounter. I love a sense of humor that is quick and less ribald. And, (I am afraid that this IS superficial), I am attracted to very slender women. As a result, I am seen with fewer women than the "gossipers" would judge adequate to release me from their "gay" gossip. Actually, I love women much more than I even like men and prefer the company of women. What I like about women is their ability to actually carry on interesting conversations and not spend our time together passing competitive comments, jibes, and other mostly male attempts at what they seem to think is "just fun", something I think I stopped doing when I got out of college. During my 17 years here (it is now 2009), I have had serious (albeit mostly short term) one-to-one relationships with 13 different women.
As to the "rape", without mentioning names, there is one woman in town with whom I had a drink when I first met her. I am not a drinker and the "2 for 1" margaritas that I had made me very loose and tipsy. So I asked her to go home with me so we could have sex. She (perhaps even understandably) declined. Many years later, when the "rape" story started spreading around town, I was very disturbed by the fact that some people actually believed it. I came across the above mentioned woman (with whom I had the drink many years earlier) and told her about the story. She replied something to the effect of "Rape? C'mon, you did not even ask me a second time to go home with you". Yes, that is a true story and anyone who knows me knows that I don't like it when people say "no" to me, so much so that I give very few people any reason to say "no" twice. Rape??? Assuming any women that I am even interested in having sex with knows how to say "no" once, it would be physically and emotionally impossible for rape to take place.
More general than ME is this story about our beloved Mexico (reprinted from http://mexicomike.com/blogmexico/?p=67)
The Rumor (the "gossip")
In case you were one of the ten people in the world who did not get the Internet “Warning” involving the “Cartel Credit Card Extortion” here it is condensed. Someone made up a story that happened to “close friends of theirs.” Anybody ever heard of Snopes.com? I don’t know all that many people but three told me that the incident happened to someone they knew. Oddly enough, the “victim” was three different people, not the same person known by three people. It must have been a busy day for the cartel.
In the false rumor, supposedly because Garcia’s was closed, these “close friends” went to another restaurant to eat. (I am not naming the other restaurant because there is no need to libel it any more). They were presented with a bill for hundreds (or maybe thousands) of dollars. When they questioned this the waiter pointed to two tough-looking hombres by the door and said that they were cartel people who had taken over the restaurant. If the gringos did not sign the credit card voucher, they would not leave the restaurant alive.
Now, any rational person could see the holes in this story. But, those who just want to believe the worst about Mexico latched onto it and spread it around. Many of them added more made-up stuff “proving” how unsafe Mexico (the whole country, mind you) is. Most of those people never went to Mexico in the first place.
Only You Can Prevent Negativity Fires
I know this won’t happen, but if there are any people with negative opinions of Nuevo Progreso (or Mexico) but with open minds, I urge you to form a posse for your protection (unarmed, please) and go across to Nuevo Progreso to see for yourself what it is really like. Look into the eyes of the businesspeople who are trying hard to smile and be friendly, but who are struggling to keep their doors open. Walk down the main street and chat with a couple of vendors (most speak English). Get to know the real people your libel is hurting. Maybe the next time you get a chance to say something bad, you will think before spread negativity and you hurt people. Maybe.
Finally, see more on this gossip subject at a defense which applies more to the MPWCFoundation than it does to me personally (although it IS very personal).
I ask you, the reader (or the receiver of such gossip), to always think that there is a possibility of some bias from any person telling you only one side of any such gossip.
Michael Wein asks "Am I a "bad landlord"?
An additional thing came up recently. I heard that I am a "bad landlord". Well, while I contest that conclusion, I at least understand the bias that may cause it. As anyone who has either rented to, or from, someone knows, this relationship is often one where the two parties can be somewhat at odds with each other. Over the course of my life, I have been on both sides of rentals so I understand that. As a result, in 1996, when I found that I had two tenants living in a house I had just purchased primarily to live in, I decided that I did not want to be very involved in a landlord-tenant relationship, I decided that ALL of the profits from the apartments would go to charity, and not to me. Therefore, a little while later, I founded the MPWCFoundation at which time I formalized this annual donation into an ongoing and legally-binding practice of mine. However, even then, I found that some few tenants abused their tenancy. So, I amended the written lease and from time to time added clauses that were always intended to get both parties to the lease to fulfill the written obligations that they agreed to with each other, known and understood clearly by both, prior to the signing and commencement of the lease. The ONLY problems that I have ever had since 1996 with ANY tenant had to do with them not doing what they agreed to do (see rental discussion). Those people in this town who know me, KNOW that I always keep my word. And I certainly do exactly that when that word is both written and signed for. As a consequence, anytime a tenant abuses the lease, I first remind them of their written promise, and only after they do it repeatedly, I act in accordance with the lease. The gossip about "bad landlord" is quite one-sided and the persons who have started it never could admit even to themselves to having played any part in the problem (their written and signed lease, of course, was ignored).
One last thing
One last thing, please read Sareda Milosz' 7/24/04 article in the SMA Online Newsmagazine on the anti-gossip page. It is just below the 7/20/04 article on "Socratic Philosophy - from the SMA coollist", one of the most worthwhile postings to the ORIGINAL SMA COOLLIST (way back when). See also the table and listing at the bottom of the lifetime achievement page for more on Sareda's contributions to this city. Doing good works in this city creates a high profile for the doer. They should not have to pay for their own good works by being the focal point of gossip. People, learn from Sareda's, my, and other's experiences. DO NOT GOSSIP. It devastates too many innocent parties and ultimately comes back to haunt the gossiper.