We can't avoid them forever and we know it.
And yet... ugh... they feel so sticky and terrible.
I remember when I was much younger, feeling as though as would actually DIE if I dared to enter into one of these. Die. Really.
It has taken me many years and much work to know how to lower the inflammation on these "big human moments."
Years ago, I took what I learned and turned it into a weekend course.
Since not everyone is going to want to meet me in Mexico this weekend (it is getting hot!), I decided to teach it online.
If you ever get sweaty or squirmy at the idea of a Difficult Conversation, if you ever feel that you would rather re-organize the fridge or pretend that "it's not that big a deal after all," I invite you to join me.
It is this Saturday and the next on Zoom - and I will record the class in case you can't be there with us.
10:30 am to noon Puerto Vallarta time.
You can sign up HERE and I will send you the link as well as the coupon code to access The Lizard course for free, since we will talk about that too.
The Two Señoras at My Gate
Back less than three minutes from an overnight camping trip, I wanted nothing more than to have the bathroom to myself.
I stepped in, closed the door to my oversized pink sanctuary, and sighed with pleasure. YES. I would emerge - in due time - clean, refreshed, and recharged.
Before I could peel even one dusty layer of clothing, a knock on the door.
What the f***?
"Some ladies are at the gate and they want to talk with you."
I sensed that it was going to be easier to go tell them myself - whomever they were - that I was not interested - in whatever they were offering - than to send a message over a wooden door and two languages.
"Hola, buenas tardes!" they said cheerfully. They were dressed identically, both wearing a green sweater (a sweater??) and white pants, clipboards in hand. They looked oddly fresh as though they had been dropped at my gate, which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere - from the sky as opposed to walking through three riverbeds and a dusty road.
"We are here from the health department, and wanted to ask you a few questions."
The health department.
Nearly a decade of running a bakery had my Lizard opening both of his tiny eyes at the mention of the health department.
A quick inside check reminded me that I did not have a bakery. My Lizard closed one eye.
"We are here for the census," they added.
I was not thrilled. Barely home, I wanted a shower. I wanted privacy, I wanted me-time a whole lot more than I wanted to participate in a census. Also, how the heck did they get here?
How was I going to get out of this?
Then one of them said: "Once we are done you will have free health care."
Deciding that the shower could wait, I invited them in. One of the señoras was worried about Lila and I had to promise her twice that Lila would not bite her. I offered them a glass of water and we all sat down at the dining room table where they asked me 5-6 questions. Then I was told that in two months I would get a phone call from the village hospital to set up a time to go pick up my card. But that as of the next day, I would be covered for any visit, medication, exam, or ... wait for it: surgery. I just had to give my name and would be covered for any government hospital in the state.
That was it. I escorted them to the gate, thanked them, feeling a little embarrassed by my initial lack of hospitality.
As they walked away, I shook my head in disbelief. These ladies had walked up to my home - no small feat - on a hot Sunday afternoon, to register me for free health care.
I have shaken my head a lot, these past two and a half years.
Just Trying to get a Ride
Back from a weekend in the city, I needed a way to get from the bus to my car, which I had parked in front of a friend's restaurant about a mile from the bus station.
Having noticed over the last couple of years that there were many cabs circulating in the small town where the bus left me, I had no doubt that it would be very easy to catch a ride to my car.
But surprisingly, it was not the case.
Three different taxi drivers turned me down with an odd look on their faces when I asked them, in my best Spanish if they could give me a ride. "Puede darme un ride, por favor?" I asked my head halfway inside their car.
A pause. A look. A shake of the head, a swift departure.
I could not figure it out.
When a fourth cab pulled up and I asked my question once more and got the same "no" answer once more, I wanted to understand what was going on.
"But, why?" I asked.
"Because this is my work," came the answer.
This left me even more puzzled.
Noticing my confusion, the man was kind enough to gesture for me to get in, which I quickly did.
"You want me to take you somewhere, right?" he turned to me and asked.
"Yes, por favor," I responded. "Just a little bit up the road, to get my car."
"And you are going to pay me for this, right?"
"Of course," I replied.
"Very good," he said, starting his car. "Let's go."
"But why did you say no at first?" I asked.
"Did you ask other cab drivers the same question?" came the response. "I sure did," was my answer.
"And what happened?" asked my new friend, with a strangely big smile on his face." "They ran away," I admitted, feeling as though there was some common joke I was not aware of, some kind of taxi code I was yet to learn, even though I can now speak Construction, Car Repair and a bit of Legalese.
Stopped at a red light, I get my answer.
I had heard the word "un ride," a casual/slang take on the English word "ride" many times. When a friend and I wanted to get in another friend's car to make it to the next town, we asked her for "un ride." When one of the guys working on my house wanted me to take them to town to buy lunch, they asked me for "un ride." I had caught on and had now asked four taxi drivers for "un ride." Three had refused and peeled away, while the fourth one had enough curiosity to let me in and find out what the heck it was that I wanted - besides A FREE RIDE.
"Un ride," you see, it is a free ride. A favor, NOT something you ask a cab to give you.
Once I understood the distinction, I understood the confusion. And I was able to laugh along with the guy driving the cab. Lesson learned.
Of course, being in Mexico, the cab driver asked me if I was married, and suggested that since I wasn't and neither was he, we could always make some new arrangement and indeed, get me "mi ride."
As I walked out, I made sure to include the price of the important Spanish lesson in the tip.