I feel that I have steered myself through life using my own thoughts, instead of the divine guidance of a deity. Probably why I never became a monk, even though I’ve considered it with regularity. I think if there had been a few simple changes in my early life I would be living in a monastery right now, never experiencing the world, never learning about the great and glorious cultures that have risen and fallen and continue to grow, never setting foot on new continents, never eating grasshoppers or good French baguettes. And I get the hideous feeling in the back of my mind that were I a monk, I would be utterly and perfectly content.
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.
Things that are actually impossible are far and few between, you know? It’s up to you to live a remarkable life. If you’re whining and whinging about how you can’t or why you daren’t, then your main issue is a tragic lack of imagination. You can do anything. You can go anywhere.
I sat in the courtyard with my churros, a bottle of tequila, and a bag of cat treats. Patron and Little Chiffon were laying beside me and then the church bell tolled midnight. I took a shot of that deliciously cheap tequila and petted the kittens and then all of a sudden I was 28.
This turned out to be yet another divine concoction thanks to that wonderful grocery store. Honestly, reader, who would I be without ALDI? Where would I be with ALDI? I don’t want to think of it.
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.
The beginning was simple enough, just a staircase, but after the first major tiered level, the steps became increasingly steep and people were huffing and puffing. I am blessed to be in fairly good shape for doing absolutely nothing to maintain my fitness, so I wasn’t too poor off, but I must admit that after two-thirds of the climb, my beautiful thighs were aching. I mused about how attractive I might be if I climbed a pyramid every day. I think that would be a tremendously amusing fitness regimen. But how many people have access to a pyramid in reality? Very few I suppose.
In tiny, packed hallways, shoppers crowded around small vendors. Each vendor sold a variation on a similar theme: witchcraft. Santa Muerte glowered down from every surface, that wonderfully evocative patroness of the lost and downtrodden. Since I booked my flight to Mexico, I have been deeply intrigued by this heretical icon. She is revered by many people in Mexico, but the Catholic Church has condemned her worship. She’s skeletal and terrifying and considerably menacing to some. Legend says she will appear in your dreams, answer your prayers with the right gifts, and bring death to your enemies. She’s charming. Santa Muerte is not a truly Catholic image, obviously, instead she is the perpetuation of ancient Aztec religious belief.
We lost so much this year…the Obamas, pride in our nation, my long and beautiful hair (for which many are still in mourning)… but whilst the world melted down and we became closer and closer to nuclear annihilation, I found ways to stay entertained, delighted, and discovered ways to bring joy back into to my life. (Lolz, I sound like Oprah.)
I thanked whatever god might be out there that I had the opportunity to see this sight and that my thighs were going to look great after that climb. The golden dome of the old basilica glinted in bright sunshine, the green roof of the new basilica reinforced my comparison to Disney’s Space Mountain, and all over, as far as the eye could see, stretched buildings and homes, boulevards and streets. It was utterly beautiful and my breath was swept away. What a charming nation, what a rich culture, and how lucky I was to be here in this moment to experience it.