Last week, there was a good day. Started off with an unexpected delight: the new Starbucks cups have finally hit Mexico. I like the new, simpler design. It’s nice. Plus it meant I had something to briefly talk about with the pretty, young girl who works there who’s waaaaaaaaay out of my league. What I mean, really, is that I am, gulp, actually old enough to be her father. Depressing thought, that.
But mostly it was a good day because tickets for the Opening Day of the Liga Mexicana Béisbol season went on sale. For reasons I’ve gone into before, going and seeing American baseball isn’t really an option right now, so apart from visiting Toronto, the best I can see is Triple-A class baseball in Mexico. (Triple-A is the second tier of quality behind the major leagues.)
I could’ve just bought them on a website that sells tickets, but I wanted to take the Metro just so I could know the route for when the season starts. The only previous time I’ve been to Foro Sol, (the home stadium of the city’s baseball team, Diablos Rojos del México) I went in a taxi because I was here on vacation, but this season I’ll be going regularly, so figured it’s better to take the subway. And it’s about 30 minutes from my place to the ballpark.
I’d prepared, translated, and knew what I wanted to say. But still, my English mouth could not be understood by the woman in the ticket booth. A kindly gentleman behind me helped me be understood. It’s one of the weird things about foreign languages. I often wonder if in native English speaking countries, we are spoiled. We get to hear so many people speaking bad English when they are tourists in London, that our understanding is exercised and we can hear what they say, even if they say it badly. I’ve found that here, and in Berlin, sometimes people would not understand my Spanish or German even if I knew the words were correct. Or maybe I’m just very, very bad at talking.
Tickets bought from the box office. For advance tickets, I had to go to the sports centre next door to buy them, as the ballpark seems not to have one when there’s no game on. So I had a wander down to the park. It is the first baseball stadium I’ve been to where I’ve walked by a pile of dead chickens in an open manhole. But dead fowl aside, I’m idiotically excited that I’ll be at a live baseball game this Saturday afternoon.
I’ve finally started Spanish lessons. All this time I’d given my trust over to the Michel Thomas’ eight-hour course on my iPod. I was getting somewhere, but not very quickly at all. At a party a couple of weeks back, I was introduced to a friend of a friend who is a language teacher, so I asked, she said yes, we organised, and I’ve been getting a couple of two-hour lessons a week. Feels good to be learning all that tedious yo estoy, ella esta, el esta, blah de blah stuff. Feels good to be exercising my brain a little bit. I never really got to grips completely with German. I could make myself understood, but I couldn’t, for example, tell a joke. Hopefully, that will be different with Spanish, because I really do want to live in a country that has live baseball for the rest of my life, and if it’s gonna continue to be difficult to get into the United States, then my best option really is a Latin American country.
It’s been a year since I was at the US Embassy in Berlin being denied a travel visa to visit the United States. That day is one of the clearest days in my memory. I can remember so many details about it. I remember having to give up my lighter to go through security, and after being denied the visa, reaching into my pocket for cigarettes, searching for the lighter and it not being there. I remember that my stomach was churning, that my head churned too. No real thoughts, just fuck, fuck, fuck over and over again. Since then, I have obviously accepted the situation. I guess I’ll be able to visit again one day—it’s not like I’m a heroin dealer—but the joy of the United States has soured a bit for me. That I can spend time in the countries either side of the U.S., yet not cross an imaginary line that birds can fly over, a line across which tree roots spread, and a boundary which I could’ve easily stayed within if I’d actually have wanted to live there illegally. I’m still annoyed that I probably got bad legal advice when I left the States. But that doesn’t help anyone, being annoyed at the past. And I know nobody apart from me cares, but the thing that makes me saddest of all (apart from stuff I’m not gonna write about) is the thought of not seeing Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera playing in Yankee Stadium again before they retire.
I get to and from my Spanish lessons on the Metro. It’s super cheap here, just three pesos per journey. My local station smelled of butter the other day. A couple of nights ago I had a dream that I was on the Metro, squeezing a pimple on a school friend’s face. A school friend that I’ve lost touch with. It was just to the side of his eye; between the eye and sideburn. He was angry that I’d done it. After waking, I went out to get coffee, and walked past a shoe store. In the entrance to the shoe store, and this is the absolute truth, I saw two young men in their twenties. One of them was squeezing a pimple on the side of the other guy’s face.
On my way back, I saw a guy sitting in one of those coin-operated massage chairs in a mall. I wish I had that amount of comfort in myself, that I could do something so personal in a public place. It’s just such an alien concept to me, to sit there, eyes closed, totally exposed, as people walk by. There’s something ridiculous in being alive only once, but knowing that I will never, ever, ever sit in a massage chair in a mall. It’s not something I particularly want to do, but for my brain to close off the option. I dunno. I just wish I could relax. Smile more often. I’m a fucking idiot. A fucking idiot that, today, got shat on by a bird for the second time in three weeks.