JUST BITCHING – September 2009


By M.A. Porter


just_bitchingNot to embarrass you too much, but entering full-blown menopause during the hot season in Ajijic is a cruel fate. My New England grandmother would be horrified that I even mentioned my condition, and no less than in print, but there it is, Granny. Deal. Salt water is oozing from every pore while odd bits of me are swelling, and I’m feeling put-upon to be stuck for the better part of the year in this blankety-blank paradise.

My fellow citizens in the USA are preternaturally given to complaint and so, in reality, I’m just being a proud American and following suit. Expats from the Big 50 complain about what’s going on back home, but having been hypnotized by Mexico, we don’t do a whole much about anything but forward emails of our particular political stripe and growl over the U.S. nightly news that digitizes itself in our satellite systems.

The problems seem too far away to have any practical impact, but the local political parties do try. However, who wants to join one of those groups of gadflies? Republicans are mean bastards and Democrats are blind fools.

So, I must do my part and share all of my grievances at this moment in time; I can’t help it as I have a hormonal tormenta that is boiling up in me like the hopeful clouds in the southern sky:

Number One: The new jingle used by Z-Gas makes rap music seem like a classical composition. Whatever happened to the plain ol’ “Zeta ga-a-a-a-a-z-z-z” mournful call, which created in the human heart the feeling that all was possible because cooking gas was humbly and dutifully drawing nigh? I became a loyal Z-Gas customer only because the other company’s jingle caused migraines. Ah, and so you tell me, where might one lay her loyalties now?

Second: If an expat has lived here for more than 10 years and still doesn’t speak Spanish with some fluidity, I believe it ought to be legal to slap them silly on behalf of the Mexicans, who would so like to do it but, not thusly acculturated, cannot.

And Then There’s: When will the Lakeside natives and Tapatios stop tossing litter on the streets? It isn’t this way in other places in Mexico because a well-versed gentleman from Monterrey offered that only in Jalisco do people believe that their mothers will walk behind them and pick up their sticky ice cream papers and taco plates. We both wondered why.

Oh, And: Those who allow contractors who build or renovate houses to use labor from Guadalajara just because it’s cheaper ought to revisit the “do unto others” credo. There are plenty of local masons, carpenters, painters, electricians and plumbers who need work. You are allowed to insist that your contractor employ local people. Catch a clue—wouldn’t you do the same back home if things were tight with your neighbors’ food budget?

Wait, I forgot: The 15-year-old girls sans husbands who stroll with their twins in strollers while their toddler trails, wailing, behind them—well, they’re getting to me. I know, I know, it’s the culture. I get it. But when she appears at my door with the fake prescription in-hand, asking for 500 pesos, I just tell the mother to please do whatever she can to stop producing children because, if so, the three of them will have a better life. Then I kiss toddler, wipe his snotty nose on the hem of my t-shirt, and hand Mom a frosty bottle of water.

Why I’m About to Scream Right Now: These flies in my office are driving me over the edge. They’re of the genus called facius-flius—they love my face and sometimes, when I consider how rude life feels and so nothing really matters, I just let them rest there and kiss me with god knows what sort of bacterial-laden probosces, until I hit myself in the face with an old Guadalajara Reporter. Which I just did. And now to my bath, which has every possibility of making all bliss return, though it be undeserved.

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

Ojo Del Lago
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