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Scarecrow, with straw for brains, on the road in Mexico


November 14, 2013

Me and my big mouth, blathering away about creating a new life without constraints of old beliefs and cultures and language and familiar surroundings. Oh, didn’t I sound so rosey-posey. Pollyanna on Big Gulp Valium. Would you like fries with that?

Did I ever get my comeuppance. Let me begin at the beginning. First, getting through customs at the border into Mexico was a huge let-down. I had done my research. I had heard all the stories about people who had had to empty their vehicle, open every container. They stood on the tarmac surrounded by all their belongings like laundry flapping in the wind while the line of cars behind piled up waiting to enter.

I wasn’t about to be caught in the lurch. I had my van filled with personal and household items, all neatly boxed and labeled, with a packing list in English and Spanish. I had my Mexican car insurance, my vehicle registration and title and passport in hand. The guards looked in the back door, yawned and waved me through without even looking at my passport. All my hard work for naught. At the least I thought I deserved a gold star.

After that minor disappointment I located the bus station in Sonoyta, just blocks from the border crossing. My friend Lupe’s bus was late. I had expected that. There is never too much time for reading, so I settled in with a book.

When the bus arrived, Lupe had two large duffels and a stuffed backpack. Since Mazatlan is an easy two-day drive from Sonoyta, I asked, “Why all the luggage?”

His exact words are lost to me, but they were something like “How would you like to go to Cabo and check it out?”

“No, I want to go to Mazatlan,” I said while wondering how long it would take me to skin his hide and make a wallet.

Understand that our only communication in the last few weeks had been by text message. The wonderful thing about texting is that it is impossible to go into any depth. That is a good thing to know if you’d like to keep communication shallow.

That was not the case here, not what we wanted. Our constraints were more of a geographic distance and $10 a minute for voice phone. Lupe explained that he would like to work a few weeks in Cabo San Lucas and then return to Mazatlan. Maybe a month or two.

Hey, my heart was set on Mazatlan. My plans laid far in advance. But the next words out of my mouth were “Let me get to a quiet place and meditate on this.” The word “prayer” works here, too.

After a time of silence, I asked Lupe what he felt. “I can do what you want. We can go to Mazatlan. I brought the extra bags for if you wanted to go to Cabo. I understand. In the States you plan things out like a list (here he made hand motions of setting things one after the other). We don’t do that so much here. We take it more as each day brings its own plans with it. But you tell me what you want. That’s what we will do.”

Immediately, I could see an image of the article I had written just the day before; adventure, create new life, leave behind old concepts, each day a new page. Ick. Yuck. Did I really say those things? Did I lie to myself?

I suggested a half-measure. “We could drive to Mazatlan, find a place to stow the stuff in my van and then either fly or take the ferry to Cabo.” Truthfully, all I wanted to do was get settled in my new home in Mazatlan.

“If that is your decision, then that is what we will do.”

Rats and drats and fighting cats. I could not get the words about leaving behind familiar comforts and by now Mazatlan is a familiar comfort.

I sat in silence for another moment, knowing half measures avail me nothing. The next suggestion to put in an appearance was a rag-tag motley outfit that reminded me that there is no right or wrong, good or bad decision. For me, each decision comes with its own package of consequences, not to be judged but to be experienced.

I remembered that nothing is cast in concrete. If a few steps in this direction feels uncomfortable, I can turn in another direction. It all fit together in my mind. I imagined a huge “Detour” sign and turned the key in the ignition. “OK, Cabo, here we come.”

(Sondra Ashton graduated from Harlem High School in 1963 and left for good. She found, upon her return, that things are a little different. Now, she's headed on a new journey. She's moving to Mexico. Keep in touch with her at http://montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com.)


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