In the End…. Synchronicity

You may think this is a cheap play on Chester Bennington’s suicide, but let me assure you it is NOT. It is a play on a blog post I wrote over two years ago.

 https://bytheindigomoon.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/synchronicity-in-the-end/

The last time I was in my car before the news of Chester broke, this song came on. I reflected back on what this song means to me. It is the one of two songs that have ever made me cry straight away, based on substance as opposed to memory. (I’m pretty sentimental.)

I was in Dallas, Texas with my ex, up to no good. We got in a fight, a pretty bad one. At one point he was standing over me with a commercial-sized fire extinguisher, flinching me. Threatening to smash my face. I pushed his buttons, but our friend intervened and separated us. I was in the bedroom listening to the radio and this new Linkin Park song came on, In the End. I was frozen. It was like I could predict the next words because it resonated so strong.

I write about this, because symbolism is everything for me. Some would say I am ridiculous for the extent, but I am not trying to fit in a mold anymore. Time to shine. Shine my light for others, even if it means a dark topic about my ex. I was conflicted for so long, but now it is clear.

The symbolism here is that today of all days is when Chester chose to go. To him and others it is Chris Cornell’s birthday. While I loved Chris too, today is something even more significant for me. It is the 15th anniversary of the day that I chose to work one last shift at my beloved job with my bestie, then head out into uncharted waters. I drove to Mexico, to learn a whole lot of life lessons. In the coming weeks alone I would have transmission issues,  a Near-Death Experience, and ended up homeless on a beach in Cancun because I had no money for a hotel yet.

This symbolism speaks to me that I DO need to write about my ex, and anything else I feel could relate for someone somewhere. Not everyone is going to vibe with what I am doing, but that’s okay.

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The Hypocrisy of the Mexican Government

A lot is being said about the United States border and immigration policies. Not much is said about the Mexican side of things. 

I was in Mexico for five months in 2002. Yeah that is 15 years ago now, but this story is still relevant. I left the US in attempt to live life in Mexico. With the way things were I naïvely believed I could just go get a job there. I quickly learned it is a whole different country.

I first had an unexpected, extended stay in Villahermosa. I made buddies with a bartender there. Nice guy, from Brazil. He was the first to tell me. This guy was living life in Mexico, working to make money to send home to his family in Brazil. He said if he were caught working there, he would be detained until he was deported. Wait a minute… Isn’t that contradicting how Mexico feels about the US policies?

My visa was strictly tourist. Not work. As such I had an issue getting a job once I got to Cancún. Most places wouldn’t hire me. Some places have ways to help getting the proper visa. I went to Wet & Wild, a waterpark on the beach. They even had swim with dolphins so think of all the people who work there. From counter to cleanup there are probably a lot. The woman liked me, it was obvious. She said, “I would LOVE to hire you, but the Mexican government says I can only have THIRTEEN foreigners working here at any given time.” Let that sink in.

I was able to find work in a nightclub, as a shot girl. Fun times, no doubt. One day my boss came to me and the others to collect our bottles and aprons for a bit. Immigration agents were coming or were already there. My boss got us drinks and asked us to chill like tourists til they cleared. 

Basically, the Mexican position is ‘if a Mexican can do the job, a Mexican will do the job.’ But then their government at the same time was printing maps of the US border areas and where water stations are to help the migrants coming here. Hmmmmm.

Dear Mexico, I Love You.

When I returned to my hometown after being in Mexico for five months, my best friend told me I had changed. I could feel that he did not mean that in a negative way, but still it intrigued me. He is right. Mexico did change me.

In my childhood, events happened which made me so jaded for someone so young. I developed a hatred for this country. I am very smart, but I barely passed my Civics class in high school. I was so committed to not learning about a country I had no interest in living in. I took opportunity at 24 to leave the country. I drove to Cancún. Not by myself, but this part of the story is about me. I was barely out of the country 24 hours and I realized how very wrong I have been. 

The federal highway system leaves much to be desired, for one thing. The one and only time I have ever been lost in my life was in Veracruz. I had missed the signs that would have kept me on the highway skirting town. Instead I was downtown Veracruz, with no clue even which way was south to get me back to highway 180. I saw some police. With my limited Spanish at the time, I was able to communicate that I am trying to get to 180. He knew even less English, so we agreed I would just follow him. He led me to the highway and pointed the direction I needed to go.

The upkeep of the roads was also lacking. Horrible potholes in some areas. And the pinches topes, speedbumps, in all the little towns. My poor transmission had it from all the shifting up on open highway and down for the towns. Luckily it held together until we got to Villahermosa, to a Ford dealership. Again with broken Spanish, I told the guys in the service department about the problem. They took it for a drive around the block. When they got back the car needed to be pushed to the bay because the transmission had fully given out. We stayed almost three weeks in Villahermosa, mostly waiting for parts from the United States. The warranty manager was back to work our first full day there. His English was actually some of the best from a non-native that I’ve ever heard. He kinda took us under his wing and made our stay fun.

Finally we made it to Cancún. We got an apartment and attempted to live life, but all of our start up money got ate up by our delay in Villahermosa. My job didn’t help much in low season. Lucky we had a temporary support in the US, and Western Union was easy. Our neighbor José said like so many people do, “if you need something, ask.” 

One day I nervously knocked on their door. José’s wife answered and said he was taking a nap. I asked if we can borrow 50 pesos. At the time that was about $5.00 USD. We needed more sandwich supplies. I never ate so much PB&J as I did in Mexico. About 45 minutes later, she came to our door. She had 50 more pesos for us. She told me José said 50 pesos was not sufficient, so take this other 50 pesos and don’t worry about paying us back. 

My job was at a nightclub, and I made some friends in the area. After work we would often gather for food and drinks and the sunrise. My friend Jorge had a wife and baby at home. He was out with myself and other friends, although he had only made $17 at his job. What got me isn’t that he was out, but that he wouldn’t let me help with the bill. He said they make so much in high season that it will be okay.

The everyday life in Mexico amazes me. They have such strong faith that they will be provided for in the future, so why not enjoy the moment now. I am still trying to grasp that concept and apply it to my life. Here in the United States we get caught up in our lives and maybe push others away. 

So yes, I have changed. For that I say thank you, Mexico. 💚

Left for Dead

I had lived in Cancún for four months. I have so much I could write. For now, this is what happened my last night there.

Christmas Eve 2002 

Mike and I had our tickets bought. The next night we were to board a car ferry in Puerto Morelos to return to the United States. Along with our friend Alfredo, we set out to live up our last night. We cruised down Zona Hotelera in our Mustang 5.0 as the sun set, stopping for some pictures at some of our favorite places.

Once it was dark we headed to Wet Willie’s, a slushie bar that my friend Josh worked at. We met with my friend Zac. Zac and I had conversations about weed in the past, but never smoked together. We decided to change that on my last night and we all headed back to where we stayed in Centro.

And then…. 

Alcohol and weed should not be enjoyed together, but that’s what we did that night. Alfredo stayed behind, not feeling up for Round Two. We could easily have taken the bus back into the Hotel Zone, but Mike was insistent we take the Mustang. Problem was, neither he nor I felt sober enough to drive. Zac said he could.

I was in the back seat, fighting the urge to just pass out. At one point I looked around, trying to gain my bearings. I remember thinking to myself, “Why are we on Bonampak (Avenue)?” I also quickly realized we were not slowing down fast enough. Zac rear-ended a taxi. Suddenly I felt pretty sober.

The damage to both cars was so superficial. Barely scratches. A cop came to the scene. Mike made a verbal agreement that if we paid the taxi driver $50 USD that would be sufficient to cover his damages. The cop seemed satisfied with that so he left. Now the taxi guy wants $200. We didn’t have that, and with it being now 1:00 AM Christmas morning, a Western Union seemed unlikely. The taxi guy said follow me, we could work this out.

I stayed in the back seat. Mike chose to drive this time. We followed the taxi into an area I knew was bad news. Just a feeling. The taxi pulled over and stopped in this neighborhood on a dead end street. As it was Christmas Eve, it was like a block party going on in the neighborhood. Another taxi quickly pulled up behind us, and a third along side of us. Guys came on both sides of the car yelling. Mike and Zac both stayed in place. The guys outside got real hostile and started punching Mike. They ripped off his watch and tore his shirt. Zac ran away. At least I hope he got away.

The guys tried to get the keys from the ignition, but luckily the Mustang has an ignition lock under the steering wheel. Mike got bold. He put the car in drive and pushed the car in front of us some. He then put it in reverse to push that car some. Back and forth, until we could squeeze out between the taxis. We squealed away, but of course had to double back because of the dead end. It was enough time for the guys to gather cinder blocks, which they threw at the car as fast and furious as possible. The windshield was smashed but we pushed through and got out of the neighborhood. 

We had lost the taxis. We approached a stoplight, in the left turn lane. I don’t remember if it were the cop or the ambulance first, but someone had noticed our broken windshield. I remember them trying to convince Mike to get medical attention, as he was obviously a little battered. They had called a tow truck, which was parked in front of us ready to load up. Mike got into the passenger seat, and I instinctively hopped into the drivers seat… Just in time for the taxi to show up. The taxi driver had a little conversation with the cop. The cop called off both the ambulance and the tow truck. And then he left.  The cop left us for dead in the hands of these taxi drivers.

As soon as the tow truck driver was pulling away from us, I floored it. I didn’t care that this light was red. It was a race for my life, and I won.