Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to realize how fun and interesting and lively one’s life really is. Many friends, have posted on my facebook wall, “sounds like you’re having so much fun!” and sometimes I find myself reading these posts, exhausted at 8:30pm, ready to prepare for another day of waking at 5:00am, thinking, “oh yeah, what a blast. If they only knew…” but more and more, these posts actually do have a mind-twisting affect of, “Oh …I guess this is kinda fun!”
A couple weeks ago, a good acquaintance, someone with whom I had studied at a yoga retreat, ended his own life. That weekend I dedicated to grounding myself. I climbed a pyramid in a “magic town” and ran a race in Mexico City (stealing an extra t-shirt by accident in the process!), two acts that physically connected me to the ground and made me feel present.
I think the biggest part that I miss about San Francisco is the neighborhood I lived in and having my “ten-block radius” of entertainment. And here I am in a neighborhood where on any given Saturday I:
- Sit and have a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop where an elderly gentleman spotting my reading material says, “A NEW YORKER, HUH?” getting some coffee shop characters in my life
▪ or instead maybe pick up a muffin and a cup of coffee at the small panaderia
▪ and then feeling like I need a little something more sweet drop by the market and get some fresh ripe juicy mangoes
▪ and oh! there’s a screw loose on my bike and the tires need filling so why not go to the “bike shack” around the corner, where one of the workers is strumming on his guitar outside and the local (harmless) older, possibly drunk gentleman sits staring and possibly oggling at any pair of breasts that walk by (all part of the neighborhood charm, no?)
▪ Or, a lady, walking down the street, seemingly deep in conversation with her friend, might suddenly stop me and say, “You have a very beautiful forehead. Let me see your palm. Come on…don’t be scared. If I tell you your future, you pay me? I charge 100 pesos.”
▪ Or maybe a friend will want to take a bus to the magic town of Tepotzlan to do the short, but strenuous climb up a pyramid. And then a couple of hours later as we are in the city going home on the metro, blocks of ice known as hail, fall from the sky.
▪ And then a week later, two days after another visit to the pyramid in the same magic town, I am in the faculty lounge (not on a Saturday) eating lunch when the earthquake siren goes off. “Ohhhhh,” all the teachers moan at the table. “Not another drill!” only to find out that, we just had an earthquake the magnitude of 7.4.
Perhaps the strangeness of the events led me to have an incredible amount of patience this week, so that when a four year old child decidedly marched into my classroom as I was teaching an afternoon lesson to the children on the rug, to (what I found out a few minutes later) say hi to his sister and give her a kiss, I cooed with the rest of the class. As my student blushed, the children giggled and “oohed” and “ahhed.” Compassion and kindness were a given in this moment, but they also exuded a strange kind of maturity, a single moment of adultness, that I can’t quite put my finger on.
In my Gabriel Garcia Marquez magic realism fantasy world pyramids, foreheads,mangoes, little adults in a split second,and natural phenomenons have an inextricable link. I just haven’t figured out the story yet.
In Loving Memory of Simon Padgham