As I mentioned a week ago, it was my birthday. It was, as birthdays go, a fairly shit birthday. The blog post about turning forty was written a couple of days before the day itself, I just scheduled it to go online on the day itself. What I didn’t know back then was that I’d have a shit-kickin’ cold (I always hesitate to call it flu). Started feeling a bit crap on Tuesday, went to bed and watched some baseball, fell asleep before the game ended, and woke up at least once an hour between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. Although one time, I woke up feeling rather pleased with the notion that Pennsylvania could be drawn as three objects: pencil, (weather) vane, ear.
I got up to go down to get some breakfast, took two cold tablets, choking on the second of them, spitting it across the room, leaving a chalky little circle on the carpet. Dressed. Put polo shirt on back-to-front. So this is what life is like after forty, is it? Rather than a fun-packed day exploring, eating, and drinking, I had a day that was mostly spent in bed. I did nothing other than watch baseball and Woody Allen films on my laptop. Not ideal. Not what I imagined my 40th birthday would be about. I ate some Oreos, drank Gatorade, took some useless cold tablets, and wondered why the hell Woody Allen didn’t tell Kenneth Branagh to tone down the Woody Allen impression in “Celebrity.”
In my hotel, a couple of rooms away, there was a British guy. I’ve heard him speaking decent Spanish to the receptionist, but he’s British. How do I know? Well, for one thing, its really easy to tell British people in Latin America. It’s not just a skin colour thing. There’s something about us that gives it away. Can’t really put my finger on it, but I guess Germans, French, whoever can also tell their compatriots. And, he gave me that look. The look I’ve not seen for a couple of years, since I was last in Latin America. It’s the look of, you are destroying my adventure, my adventure with the natives of this country, by being here.
Last week was pretty much a washout. And by the end of the week, I was glad to get out of the hotel room. Starting to feel better on Monday, I moved into what will be my home for the next three months. I replied to a few ads on Craig’s List during my first week here, and long story short, I’m now in a nice room in a nice apartment in a nice part of town. It’s pretty close to the two hotels I’ve stayed, in an area I’ve got to know quite well in the short time I’ve been here. For any of you who’ve been here before, I’m living in Colonia Roma Norte. Avenida Reforma is ten minutes away, and it’s only a little bit further to the lovely and enormous Chapultepec park.
It is, of course, weird living with people who one has only just met. But I seem to have done okay. Well, half-okay. It’s a three room apartment. A gay couple are the people renting out the other two rooms. Both of them are lovely fellows. Friendly, and offering help with any Mexican-ness or Spanish language stuff if needed. They have a splendid cat called Ceviche. He’s named after a wonderful seafood dish that I’d not eaten until Wednesday, which was absolutely delicious. The other room is rented out by a lesbian couple who, well, I’ve only ever seen one of them for about two seconds in the hallway. She didn’t say hello or anything. I’ve heard them moving around, but they mostly seem to open the front door, go to their room, and stay there all night. But they’re moving out in a couple of weeks, so hopefully whoever replaces them will be a tad more outgoing.
The other day I saw a man in a denim suit. A suit. Made of denim. It was utterly awesome in its terribleness.
Names that have been written on the side of paper cups in Starbucks when they’ve asked for my name, and I’ve replied, “Craig”:
Wednesday night was an odd one. Met up with my friend Naomi and a bunch of her pals. Stood outside the bar, one of them, visiting from L.A., took off my cap to see what my hair was like underneath. She told me I had great hair, and that I shouldn’t wear a cap; that I have the sort of hair she loves cutting, and that she should cut my hair. I said yes in that polite, maybe-one-day kinda way. A couple of minutes later, she returned with a fresh beer and a pair of scissors and started chopping away at my hair. This was at gone midnight. On a not overly well-lit street. It was clearly one of the strangest experiences of my life. But, oddly, I wasn’t that worried. She seemed to know what she was doing, and I’ve got a shit-ton of baseball caps that could cover up any horrors. As it was, she gave me a good haircut. And it was a pleasant change after my last haircut, not to listen to anti-Semetic comments while it was being done.