Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Drunk On The Great Big Everything

Drunk On The Great Big Everything
Holy Smokeroonies! Saturday late afternoon I sit with a book open in my lap, my eyes in the sky, watching the play of light on the cirrus clouds. Suddenly, an apparition! Kathy and Richard stand at my door, grins splitting both faces. For a brief time I am paralyzed.

(Certifiable? Candidate for sainthood? Visions portend one or the other.)

Fast forward: hugs, babble of voices, I can’t believe it, we wanted to surprise you, what are you doing here, it was hard to keep our trip secret, more hugs.

Kathy and Richard are friends of twenty years, more or less, who live on an Island between Victoria and Vancouver (city). Kathy introduced me to Mazatlan and neither of us can figure out when we made that first trip. Ten, eleven years? They have asked me searching questions about what it is like for me to be here over a longer period of time. Several weeks ago they made the decision to begin preparations to buy a Mazatlan home for retirement. During this fishing expedition they dangle a worm on a hook into the water and wait to see if anything nibbles.

They are prepared. They have devoured realty websites, have forwarded me pictures of the homes they like. They made arrangements to see several places, to take a gander at the market, to get more information about buying a home in Mexico. Meanwhile, we three amigos grab chunks of the week together to soak up sun, fun and feasts.

With nary a pause that night we took off for dinner at the Plazuela Machado in Centro Historico. Next morning, a beach walk. Dinner near the Mercado the following evening. This week is like a big festival for me. But the sum total adds to more than being with my friends as we fill to bursting every moment.

Here I need to pause and push the arrow to run the film back a few frames. I stole the phrase “drunk on the Great Big Everything” from Kurt Vonnegut. I cannot better describe how I feel.

Remember, a mere three months ago I was in the hospital, under the knife, replacing a worn and useless hip joint. From the hospital I returned to my casa, alone, forced to take life in small increments, to squeeze small details for their inherent joy. I know how to do this. I know how to get smashed on very little. This “gift” may be all that has kept me from being “certifiable”. Fortunately, I am too human, no miracles follow me, to ever be a candidate for sainthood. Another “gift” is my ability to revel in being wrong, frequently. Together, these gifts have been great teachers. They never let me down.

While my harmless toot is about my friends who gifted me a wonderful surprise visit, it is also about selfish me playing in the Big Sandbox, playing with the Great Big Everything and a couple “ah-ha’s” the GBE showed me.

That beach walk Sunday morning (but not the last—how quickly my “now habit” is formed), was my first beach walk in over a year. Illogical as it seems, I had been scared to go alone. (What if I couldn’t do it?) I got so drunk on sand-walking that day that I walked two hours, my spirits high as the frigate birds circling above us. I said to Richard and Kathy, I can’t believe I’m doing this. Will I pay later with sore muscles?  

From the beach, we walked my neighborhood and gawked at houses for sale. We finished the day with a trip to Cerritos. At our favorite food shack we selected a red snapper for the three of us to share.

On the ride home I experienced another revelatory moment of drunken delight. I realized that little by little, word by word, I am indeed learning Espanol, to speak, to understand. To me, this is a big deal. Often I have despaired over how hard this new language is for me, an old dog with few new tricks left.

Poco a poco, as Arturo, my Physical Therapist says. A little and a little. My long beach walks increase my strength with no more muscle pain than my shorter street walks. My binge on the small details of life keeps me swizzled. A newly hatched baby bird is learning to preen in the nest outside my door. I’m more relaxed with my Spanglish vocabulary. My friends and I are imbibing life in great gulps. All is good.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

April 30, 2015

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