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5/16/04 JUST LIKE HOME by Allen McGill"I'm so disappointed," the woman whined, sipping a pink-umbrella decorated Margarita. "I came all this way to San Miguel de Allende, to see authentic colonial Mexico, but everyone I’ve met is either American or Canadian."
"Go to Guanajuato," I suggested. "Still colonial, but not as many tourists.”
"Oh, I couldn't do that," she exclaimed. "I was told they only speak Spanish there."
4/26/04 NO MORE AGEIST JOKES by Sonya Oppenheimer
Notice is hereby served to all e-mailers: From this moment and forevermore, any message with humor based upon aging diminishments, memory lapse, driving mishap, sexual collapse will be immediately deleted, unread. I do not think it funny. I do not identify. Above all, I do not know, for sure, how suggestible I might be.
No, I'm not stopping the clock. Believe me, I have earned every one of the pyrotechnical displays of candles on my birthday cake. It's that, today, I have decided to take up words and join those in combat against the negative myths of aging.
I have heard the call and am joining the positive pioneers, those whose actions, imagination and determination are carving out a new definition of croneing.
Or, perhaps, it's not really a pioneering invitation into which I'm tuning. It's the Sirens call, beckoning for remembrance of past cultures where the accumulated wisdom of elders was cherished and respected.
From now on, Grandma Moses and Marc Chagal are my muses. My mind is dedicated to being filled with new projects to accomplish, new skills to master, unfinished adventures to pursue. It is the time to quest after dreams, even impossible ones.
Of course, I want to succeed. But that's truly not the objective. If I joust with the cants of our ageist culture, if I parry with expectations of deterioration, I will grow stronger for the exercise. And, even if jokes are created by my efforts, in the process, I will become much more interesting.
4/14/04 DON'T LOOK FOR WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR by Elena Shoemaker
I live alone. I make lists. I try to be responsible, because there is no one else to blame if things aren't right.
I know that I'm a self starter. That feels better than calling myself an over-achiever that didn't quite know where to go. Or begin.
There aren't too many things that scare me. Other than finding out that I didn't put something on the MUST DO list, and then forgot to do it or check it off, and then it comes back and ha-ha's me in the face.
I'm good about paying cable and luz and telephone bills on time; most people are. There's a big empty darkness that will remind you of that, too quickly, if you have not been timely!
In shows that I've done in San Miguel, I've often poked fun at paying electric bills. Yes, the lines are long, the efficiency is questionable, but I've always had so much fun. It gives you more time to look at people, go through your fantasies. If you were on an escalator, you'd just get a glimpse. When you're in the long line, "la cola" at the electric company, you have enough time to draft a novel.
On the occasions when the automatic teller is working, I feel so good. There's a line there, too, believe me! But, if your paper bill, the green one, has not been mushed in your pocket, if the currency you are using has not been part of too many late night games, you CAN do it!
And if you want to be part of a sociological experience, just help the people near you. We all laughed so much one day when someone, paying a bill for her employer, finally got her turn at the machine. She wasn't familiar with the process, didn't know which way to feed the hungry bill-sucker, and was embarrassed that she didn't understand the digital instructions. Haven't we all been there?
I told her to put "el guapo" face up. Everyone there shared the joy of which faces were accepted or rejected on the Mexican currency. See, you can turn everything into a lottery, instead of an irritation!
A few days ago I went out in search of varnish for an exterior door. I thought it would be simple; I KNEW what I wanted.
As I pondered the colors, the stains, the sizes, the prices, a beautiful orange kitty jumped up on the counter, purred, and covered all the possibilities. I was delighted! AND the same kitty, I found out, has three gorgeous babies, all six weeks old, all ready to go to new homes. Check out Sayer Lax on Ancha de San Antonio.
I didn't come home with varnish, nor a kitten. You know why? Because I had gone for a massage a few weeks earlier, and had already come home with an adult cat that needed a home. That wasn't part of the treatment, but it wouldn't have happened unless I'd been there, taking care of business.
I knew what I was looking for, what I was going for. Didn't I!
I'm thinking about that orange tabby kitten.
Doesn't that make sense? Of course it does!
When you're looking for something specific, it will play hide and seek with you. It's only when you're NOT looking, when you're perhaps distracted by the demands of day-to-day life, by your schedule, by your "must do today" list, that the magic moments will just come to you. Gentleness helps, as does a smile.
I've loved my moments in San Miguel, with the thumbless locksmith, the shoe repairman who is an amputee, hearing of the bread delivery boy on a bicycle who becomes a movie star.
I guess I can't say that I'm not looking for things; I'm looking all the time. I test myself each day, as I walk into town, to see something different. Notice a change. Hey, you might get tested on this stuff!
Or you just might enjoy it. Most of the important things in your life will matter to no one but you. As you look, something special might just be there, waiting for someone like you to notice.
Elena Shoemaker is an observer of San Miguel for 23 years now, and is just beginning to see and share the magic in this medium. She's done a bit of it in song and theater over the years.
4/8/04 Is there a T.A. chapter here in town? submitted by Milou Montferrier
It started out innocently enough.
ALWAYS AN ADVENTURE By Sylvia Berek Rosenthal
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