Mexican life

Coco and the Day of the Dead

day

WE SAW COCO, the new movie from Disney and Pixar, yesterday evening right here on the mountaintop, in an old, renovated and lovely theater, once owned by my child bride’s uncle, on the small plaza.

Disney and Pixar Studies have hit the ball out of the soccer field with this one. It is wonderful, and you should not miss it.

The movie’s world debut was at our nearby state capital last month, and it opened across Mexico the following week. It became the highest-grossing movie in Mexican history, and it opened in the United States just a few days ago. The Mexican version is spoken in Spanish, of course, and I’m sure the American version is English for the Gringos.

The story is set around the Day of the Dead and the family of a boy of 12 who loves music. From what I have read, much research was done in Mexico to make the scenes architecturally realistic, and they succeeded in spades.

Coco does a beautiful job of reflecting elements of the Mexican culture, especially the almost obsessive fixation on family. And it’s a visual wonder.

It is not just for kids. Actually, I believe it’s more for grownups than for children. Head to the movie theater. It’s worth every peso you pay.

We both got weepy in a good way.

Mexican life

Shields and loquats

escudos

AMBLING ALONG the plaza two days ago, I was waiting for my child bride.

She, her sister and a nephew had walked to the mercado with a big bag of loquats, fruit from a tree in the Hacienda yard. The loquats were for the young widow of our nephew who died of cancer last winter.

The widow, about 32 years old, as was our nephew when he died, recently opened a small business in the mercado where she sells women stuff, mostly makeup. A sister of hers shares the space with a hairstyling business.

Alma is the widow’s name. It means soul in English. Why does no one name a baby Soul in English? I guess for the same reason no one names a baby Jesus either, and that’s fairly common in Spanish. We have a nephew named Jesús.

Alma is a very beautiful woman, and we hope that will help her snare another husband before long because she could use some support — financial, emotional and otherwise.

But she comes with two kids, a deal-breaker for some fellows.

Before selling her car to obtain the funds to open her mercado business, she had worked years for a television cable company, signing up new customers. The pay, however, was inadequate for her new role of single mother.

She does get occasional financial help from relatives, including my child bride.

The kids — Candra and Jaime, age 7 and 11, respectively — are very fond of loquats. They are very nice children, too young to lose their father.

After my wife, her sister and the nephew whom I used to call The Little Vaquero (the Little Cowboy), but he’s almost 15 now, returned from the mercado, we connected in the plaza and drove home. That would be my child bride. We left the other two downtown where they live.

You may be wondering, What’s up with Shields in the headline? Shield is escudo in Spanish, and the photo is the entrance to the Hotel Los Escudos. I walked past as I was waiting for the family. It looked nice, so I shot a photo.

Many years ago, we spent a night in the Hotel Los Escudos on a lark. We enjoyed it, and maybe we’ll do it again one day.

Mexican life

Retirement is the cat’s pajamas

gent
No, this ole gent is not me. He’s not reading a Kindle.

I HAVEN’T worked one day for pay since Dec.19, 1999.*

It’s not rare that people, almost always men, drop dead not long after retirement due to having lost their life’s purpose. I did not suffer that issue.

I’ve never known what my life purpose is,** which simplifies things.

catBut it’s been almost 18 years now, the best 18 years of my life. Another world, another life, another wife, another language. I done good.

There’s something strange about living days, weeks, months and years without a job and you still have cash in your wallet. We have money due to Social Security (thanks, Uncle Sam), a small corporate pension (thanks, Hearst Corp.) and investments (thanks to wise me). Let’s hear it for capitalism!

Though I have no paying job, I do have work, almost daily. Why, just this morning, I swept the sidewalk and adjoining strip of street out front. I dumped the dirt, and it was all dirt, into a bucket, and I tossed it into the ravine.

This sort of thing does not provide life with meaning, but it does keep the sidewalk clean. That has societal value, I think.

* * * *

* A date as tattooed on my brain as is my birthday and my Air Force serial number.

** My fallback meaning-giver is Emily Dickinson whose quote elsewhere on this page does the trick for me. Were I a Christian or a Jew, which I am not, that would replace Emily Dickinson, one supposes.

Mexican life

My smartphone’s not too swift

I TOTE a smartphone, but it’s not the brightest bulb in the pack.

It’s the only one I’ve owned, and I’ve had it about four years. I bought it “pre-owned” on MercadoLibre for 1,000 pesos, which is about $53 U.S. today, but it was a bit more when I bought it.

It’s a Sony Xperia, and it’s so small that when I use my bank app to get a 12-digit code to use at an ATM when I don’t have my debit card, the phone cuts off the final digit of the code, making it useless. If only the screen were wider.

My phone is never connected to the internet except in my house where it uses my WiFi, and the only thing I do online is check balances at my two banks. I don’t do email or Google or anything of that sort. The primary reason is that my fingers are large, and the phone’s keyboard is small.

I use it 98 percent to send text messages to my wife and, occasionally, call someone, usually my wife. It’s a phone, fer crissakes.

I’m not averse to technology, but phones are too small for me. My child bride has a larger Samsung Galaxy, but I still find the keyboard annoying. I don’t like to be annoyed.

Some people type fast on a phone, and they do it with their thumbs, which is my biggest finger. Anyway, I don’t want to learn that because it would confuse my typing on my Hewlitt Packard All-in-One desktop machine.

I type 100 words per minute on that baby, something I learned in typing class in high school where I was the sole boy in a sea of girls.

Not only is my Sony keyboard small, the phone has limited storage. Usually, if I want to add a new app, it tells me that I first have to delete some other apps, just not enough room for a new one.

I don’t use many apps. I have the obligatory call blocker, a flashlight, a bluetooth skimmer to use around ATMs. You know about that? That pretty much sums up my phone apps. I’m a simple fellow. The Hacienda has no landline.

One might think, hey, he’s an old guy, so he cannot grasp high technology, but lots of people my age, probably most, carry high-tech phones. But not me.

Maybe one day, and I prefer “pre-owned.”