December 31, 2011
I’ll worry about it
when I get back from Cancun.
NAH, NO I WON’T.
That was back in May. And anyway worrying’s not my thing. Full-bore balls-out depression is more my style. Why fart around with “what ifs” when you can just curl yourself into a glazed doughnut and lie around eating yourself up? Worrying leads to burying! You can quote me on that and better not pretend it’s yours.
I’LL WORRY ABOUT IT
when I get back from New York. But I didn’t. That was in September. This column has been live-streaming in my brain since April and I am posting this if it is…and it is in fact about to be…the last thing I do in 2011.
“I HAVE THIS THEORY
that money always works itself out,” someone said in a movie.
“Yeah! There’s relativity and there’s that one!”
(Actually it was on “Felicity.” I was just too embarrassed to admit it.)
I captioned this photo on flickr, “I guess tomorrow will take care of itself,” and a contact of mine commented, “Doesn’t it always?” “I certainly hope so!” was my response, “and I hope my rent pays itself as well.”
Business plan, stock, research, supplies and equipment, accounting, marketing…that’ll all work itself out. It has to, because I have three cats and a landlord to support. I’m not going to worry about it. I have thirty-six pillows forms in the closet.
I HAVE A FRIEND
who was once laid off from his job as a checker at some fancy supermarket in Lake Oswego, Oregon. It turns out he got his job back several months later—but those in-between were filled with anxiety and uncertainty. Had he known it was a temporary thing, he could have simply enjoyed his time off. Things worked out. That’s my philosophy. I’m not going to squander ectoplasm with worrying—things will work out. I bet you a dollar. That’s how confident I am.
I SHOULDN’T BE SPENDING
my dwindling funds like this, on trips to Cancun and New York. Where did that voice come from? Because that voice is wrong. It’s exactly how I should and must be and cannot not be spending my money. I have a lot of stuff, for sure, but most of my money evaporates into air in the form of experiences–traveling and live performances.
A what-the-hell 56th birthday extravaganza trip to the Yucatan is just what the doctor ordered, the doctor being Dr. Jones, the person who knows best what ails me and what cures me. Sitting around is what ails me, living in the world is what cures me. So when an appealing trip comes up and I have the Virgin credit card air miles to get me there, I figure the rest is merely cost of living, anyway.
ANYWAY I AM A CULTURAL ADVENTURER
as afar.com describes me after taking their what-kind-of-traveler-are-you? quiz.
“I ENJOY TRAVELING,” I am told
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOMEWHERE ELSE
cannot be over-emphasized for healthy balance and perspective, hence my motto When in doubt, go out, also expressed as “Leave the house.” “The house” can be a soul-sucking device to hang on to the status quo, the I’m-fine-as-I-am, the I-don’t-want-anything-for-myself, a frozen space-time continuum in which you can’t move back or forward.
I recall Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood had a lesson once on the concept of “somewhere else,” which I recall thinking was hella progressive and right-on-the-money real-world information to pass on to kids.
SOMEONE TOLD ME
he has a friend cleaning up writing for VISA. “I’d rather clean toilets,” said I. And I would. And I will, if it comes to that. It’s the only job I can think of with nothing attached to it other than getting it done. So I’m going to open up a couple of Etsy shops to peddle my wares. I’ll have to work hard, but at least it will be creating lovely things to support myself and my feline family. I hate working all day to advance someone else’s career. The birds—that’s for them.
I’M NOT LOOKING
at my bank balance anymore. I’m just priming myself for the day when the ATM nears spitting out the bottom line: insufficient funds. That day will not come. But not much longer can I enjoy the luxurious option of “I don’t feel like it.” So if scrubbing porcelain becomes the order of the day, so be it. All work is honorable, if the worker and the employer honor each other.
HEY AND YOU KNOW WHAT?
I had the opportunity to go to Cancun on the cheap and was able to do it. Did I want to do it? Yes. Because it’s just the sort of thing I do. This is what money is for. To live life with. Not to live it later with. Or die with. These are all choices. My choices. I’d rather live in the world than in the four-bedroom house, the two-bedroom cottage, the fourplex apartment building, the two-bedroom flat, all of which I sold to seat myself at this table in Punta Sum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
I HAD NO WRITING PARAPHERNALIA
with me save the Levenger mini-pen that clips to my wallet, so I wrote something clever and salient on a table napkin, which napkin stayed underfoot for weeks back at my place, except for when I wanted to transcribe it and toss it. God knows where it is now that it is most relevant.
I AM A FUCKING INSPIRATION
the lovely Ms. Moon (killer name with killer lunar cycle tattoos to match!) gushed to me on Facebook: “I love how deeply you live your life.” I had posted this picture of the view from Room 253 of the Hacienda Morelos, when I awoke and sat up in bed.
WHERE ARE YOU?!
she exclaimed. Send me a postcard! I will attempt to, my dear, but not only is there no post office in Puerto Morelos, Not-Sophie of Sophie’s Dress Shop (Sophie is Not-Sophie’s god-daughter) tells me, mail doesn’t go out even from Cancun unless it’s priority. Cancun? World-famous resort? Are the correo boxes trash cans? Well, it may get there, someday, eventually, but don’t bet on it. I was told the same thing in the late 80’s of Yelapa, on the west coast by Puerto Vallarta. My friend was writing post cards but giving them to friends to mail from the states. To me, however, the exotic postmark is the main point of post cards. So here’s hoping, friends!
IT TURNS OUT
I tarried too long at the tattoo parlor. Kukulkan Tattoo in Cancun, where my arm and leg were annotated with reminders from Kerouac (”The road is life”)…
Too long to make it to the post office on time to mail my postcards. ’twas closed when I got there, and I was to leave the next day so I entrusted the cards to my tattoo artist, Romeo, to mail, and if you didn’t get yours, either Cancun truly has no reliable postal system, or Romeo spent my 500 pesos on beer.
ZOOMING BACKWARDS IN THE SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM
I am now magically in my hotel room in Puerto Morelos, and even though it is 2:06 a.m. by my iPhone and MacBook and 4:06 Yucatan time, I can’t sleep for excitement of going to Cobá tomorrow, even though that was over half a year ago. And it’s a good thing I couldn’t because I now realize I set my alarm for 5:30 PDT, which would have awakened me at 7:30 Yucatan, in plenty of time to miss my 6:28 bus from the highway. Anyway, waking up in the middle of the night is fun here, because you get to go out on the patio and gaze at the ghostly white boats bobbing on the Caribbean.
FOR MY 55TH BIRTHDAY
(the BIG one in my book—born in ‘55) I climbed the Great Wall of China; I had planned for my 56th to climb Chichen Itza (hell, even Frieda Kahlo managed to do it, in the movie–I don’t believe it happened myself I mean hello she broke her spine and wore a brace) but—silly me—my friend Donna, the Earth Mother of Mother Earth, who accompanied me as far as Cancun on this trip, bothered to research it on the web (I’m too fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants) and it was closed to climbing in 2006. I was glad when I got there because I couldn’t quite manage to wake up that day. I still bought a bunch of stuff of course. It was no longer my birthday but it was a Wednesday, so, hey, celebrate good times, c’mon.
DONNA WAS IN SEARCH
of a brief snorkeling trip because she was flying home later that day, and came up with Diving Dogs in Puerto Morelos. The owner of the company, a waist-length pony-tailed leatherette case [a term the author and her sister devised to indicate high-as-you-can-go on the tanning scale; Level 0 was “milchy vicht,” or “milky white.” – Ed.], looked at me like I was beyond mentally challenged when she discovered I can’t swim. From her point of view, it is insane, but, I explained to another gal who actually said to me “What’s wrong with your mother?” my family was too busy escaping from their country to care about such things. Anyway, I had to pay a $10 fee to just ride on the boat, because the reef is a National Park. I wrote (this column) and rocked on the turquoise Caribbean. Not too shabby, eh?
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Downtown Cancun, where we decided to stay for local flavor instead of the Hotel Zone, is not an attractive city; it’s as broken and bruised as St. Petersburg, Russia, but I developed an affection for it, perhaps because of Dr. Simi the dancing pharmacist. That’s me cackling and asking him for “un otro beso” (another kiss) and then…talk to the hand!
Truly, the author is having too much fun, no? ¡Si!
I ASKED A LOCAL BUS DRIVER
in the town square how early he goes to the highway bus terminal to catch my seis y media bus to Cobá; he said they leave every five minutes or so. Can you imagine that in San Francisco? Ha! “You da man!” I told him. “Tu es el hombre!” He laughed, in spite of himself, it seemed.
MY NEXT-DOOR HOTEL MATE ANNE,
here from Boston with her daughter, told me Cobá, as of next year, will also be closed to climbing. On the spot, I said, I’ve got to go! I’m climbing a goddamned ruin if it kills me! Which it could. “Someone fell and died,” Donna had said of Chichen Itza. “Oh, someone fell!” I laughed. “I guess they’ll be banning sidewalks next.” Of course there are no goddamn guardrails on Mayan temples. Of course you climb them at your own risk. There’s even a sign that says, “Mexico is not responsible for your damn-fool insistence upon climbing an ancient pyramid while you rain dollars upon our lovely country.” Here it is:
I AM NOW SOMEONE
who has climbed the Great Wall of China and the pyramid at Cobá.
COMO SE DICE
“c’mon motherfuck” in Spanish? I had two hours to spare before my return trip to Puerto Morelos at 15:15, but the proprietor at La Fuera where I stopped with my boyfriend Emiliano for a yummy quesadilla told me there was a bus leaving any minute.
That meant two hours more on the Caribbean beach instead of a bus stop. I paid up and ran towards the bus where someone was talking to the driver, but then the bus started to move. I yelled Hold that bus please would you hold that bus but it was just parking. Other travelers waiting for the bus tell me it’s a while yet.
I EXPLAIN TO THE TICKET SELLER
that my ticket is for the 15:15 (ADO) bus and was that okay, he said sure, just tell the driver. In the meantime I position myself at this cinder block wall to survey the scene. When I place my hands on the top of it, a bizarre rattling sound like perhaps a dry faucet opening and gurgling to life comes out of it. I think there must be some kind of irrigation pipe in there, but I look inside the blocks and see this:
THAT LITTLE LIZARD
has it in for me. He is not pleased with my intrusion and my curiosity and my picture taking, not at all. He continues emitting a curdling growling objection to my presence—a lizard!—and every time I check he’s staring up and positioned to leap at me if need be. I show the picture to one of the waiting travelers, all of whom are too exhausted to be conversational. “ ‘How’d that bitch find me in here?’ it’s saying. ‘Tourists! Can’t get away from them, can’t kill them.’ ”
PEOPLE LINE UP FOR THE BUS
and I point to the time on my ticket and ask “Bueno?” He growls just like the lizard and turns me away. No. No doing. This is the 13:30 bus. I KNOW it’s the 13:30 bus. It’s still an ADO bus and I still paid for my ticket. No. This is the 13:30 bus. Your ticket is for the 15:15 bus. I KNOW this is the 13:30 bus. It’s still a paid ticket for an ADO bus going to Playa del Carmen and that’s where I’m going. No. Your ticket is for 15:15. I KNOW—then I offer to the “facilitator” to buy another ticket for this bus and it seems he doesn’t even want to let me do that. I’m boiling mad. He wants me to sit in a plastic chair by the roadside while his air-conditioned bus drives off into the horizon? “DOS HORAS AQUI?!” I spout. “NAH! NO! UH-UH! NO!” Finally El Jerko gets off his power trip, grudgingly tears my ticket and lets me ride on his precious bus, which, when I board, I find is three-quarters empty. There are at least thirty seats free.
COMO SE DICE
“mean people suck” in Spanish?
WHEN I GOT BACK FROM CANCUN
I wondered if it was indeed time to worry about it. But that was back in May and I still haven’t worried about it. It? How to pay for the rest of my life. I trust myself to figure it out. And then I got an unexpected tax rebate from money my Page St. TIC partners and I put in escrow lest the building be reassessed and we’d owe more taxes, but guess what? I bought in 2003 and sold in 2008 and hah! They still hadn’t gotten around to reassessing it, so the statute of limitations ran out and we got all our money back, three years in a row.
SO I DECIDE TO WORRY ABOUT IT
when I get back from New York.
I CANNOT WAIT
to shoot on the streets of New York! I just hope I don’t get shot on the streets of New York! I usually go back east at Christmas, but the weather sucks too bad to want to go anywhere and the holiday pressure sucks my soul dry. So I’ll get it over with in September and get down to business upon my return. Because this is what money is for, to do the things you want to do. Until it runs out. Then what?
STAY TUNED IN 2012
to find out!
I’ll worry about it
Epilogue: It's New Year's Eve in the city. Still not worried.
copyright Alexandra Jones 2011