Since I left the airport last year, my soul has been aching to return. And finally I’m back and I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it is. Nothing has changed, if anything, Mexico is better. But I’m jumping ahead. I need to start at the very beginning. Hopefully — and I just learned in one of my university courses that that’s not an acceptable word but I don’t give a hoot — you’ve missed my lengthy reminisces of travel. As one of my long-dead heroines, Lady Lucie Duff-Gordon, an Englishwomen who gave herself completely to Egypt and died in Luxor, once said, “I long to bore you with traveler’s tales.” Let’s get started.
I couldn’t believe how fast time had flown by, how two weeks were gone and how I was about to go back to a place that I’d be fine never returning to. In the modern world we don’t always need proximity to our loved ones, we can just text or Facetime. Technology is a blessing, but I could never send Little Chiffon a text. I don’t know if she can read. And I doubt she has her own phone.
As soon as the sun set, I was on my way to that wonderland on the Avenida Insurgentes. It was dreamier than ever, but I suppose my nearness to departure caused me to romanticize every step of the way. Walmart was a wonder, reader. I stared lovingly at the laundry mat inside and the fast food options and the little cart that sold elote as soon as you came in from the parking garage.
I rounded the corner and there she was before me, the green light of the Olive Garden sign washed over me and I felt as if I were a pilgrim arriving in the holiest spot in all the world. I was giddy with excitement reader, and I veritably rushed for the escalator that would lead up to the doors of the blessed restaurant.
One life is hardly enough. I have no fear of death, but I really am irked that I only have a century here. And that is if I’m lucky. For a lot of people, more than I ever expected, a hundred years is plenty. People are tired and worn down and disinterested in life. I think there’s nothing more thrilling than being alive, seeing what’s around and learning about what has happened in the recent and distant past, so I will never understand this attitude. If I could live forever, I would pay whatever price. I’d make a deal with the Devil if that were a real thing.
I woke up gasping for air, wondering if the Grim Reaper had finally come. I didn’t really feel like dying, but I quickly rationalized that I’d led a life worth remembering, and I was fairly certain several people would host a funereal roast for me. So I accepted my mortal end. It was chic enough to die in Mexico City.
The point of travel is to learn about the world, not perpetuate your provincial and ethnocentric point of view around the world. You can do yourself no greater disservice than fail to attempt to appreciate the glorious world around us.
Anyway, I learned how to say ‘sack.’
Reader, I am so excited to tell you about all the wonders I found in Mexico, the delicious foods I had, the tequilas I drank, the gorgeous kittens I met, the kindly strangers who welcomed me into their nation, the cobblestone streets, the crumbling buildings, the hot nights, the pyramids, the ruins, the atmosphere of being somewhere so vibrant and alive. I have very rarely loved a place more, and it feels odd to not be there. Mexico City felt completely like home. In fact…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Still I dared to dream. I didn’t dare tell Jessica that we were almost assuredly not getting tickets because she would have had a meltdown and gone into a psychotic and depressive episode that she might never emerge from. So, when I was bizarrely lucky enough to get a code the night before, I was extra nervous. So many didn’t get codes. I did, though. Then the morning came. Ten o’clock came. Reader, I have rarely been more afraid.
I don’t mind aging so much. I joke about it frequently, but I feel as if I was “eighty before I was eighteen.” I was a grumpy old man for the majority of my life. I didn’t do anything terribly exciting or socialize or have a dozen boyfriends or wake up on a riverbank with no memory of getting there. Honestly, I can’t say that I regret that, but there are times when I wonder what I missed out on during the course of my tame youth. I feel younger now than I did back then. I still haven’t woken up on a riverbank, but that’s just fine. I have woken up in five star hotels, so that’s better.