The present is all good, baby. My favorite road had dried out by this morning from the rain the other night and developed a nice crunchy soft layer that made me run twice as far as I had originally planned. I came in off the run feeling all powerful like King Kong.
When the road is smooth and my step is light, the run generally takes my mind to thoughtful and enjoyable places. I don’t mean happy – in the temporal sense – but mean thoughtful in the insightful sense. And insightful for me is for the most part profoundly joyful. I always like putting two and two together.
I included the prelude to offset the fact that what I am about to say may at first seem contradictory – like, how can my fully recognized feelings of dread regarding my daughter’s up and coming wedding be joyful? Well, I guess I just finally recognized this feeling of dread for what it is; and being finally able to put some words around my anxiety spells out some relief. To understand your enemy is to defeat one’s enemy. Does that make any sense? (And who cares if it doesn’t?)
On point – After all these years, I am not just going to be confronting my ex-wife at the wedding but her sister and brothers as well. That doesn’t bother me as such per se, as will those forced interactions that are going to put me in a direct confrontation with the past. And I am going to be forcibly surrounded by my ex and her family for five painfully long days. (There is a four day beach party that follows the wedding.)
I don’t live in the past. I don’t glorify the past. I don’t even loathe the past. And I certainly don’t identify with who I was in the past. And I most conclusively don’t want to talk about the past.
Note: Talking about the past is only useful if one is trying to make an experiential point in the present.
And what do I have in common with my ex and her family anyway? The past. Simply, the past. Ahh, kill me.
At every opportunity I am going to sidestep any discussion of the past to the best of my ability which of course is going to lead to an even more uncomfortable discussion of the present. I say that because I hear from my daughter what each and everyone one has been up to and quite frankly every single piece of information has already almost bored me to death by proxy.
I have nothing in common with any of these people. They have all led purposeless and uneventful lives. So what will there be to talk about? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
And the discussion I dread above all will result from the question of asking what I’ve been up to. And if I am even the slightest bit drunk or feeling even remotely bellicose from their banal meanderings then I fear I will tell them the truth.
‘I am bidding my time in Mexico waiting to be murdered by an indifferent member of the local cartel.’ But that’s the future and I’ll get to that in a moment.
The past. Really, who cares? The present – in the case of the wedding/party – is going to be partially hijacked by my doltish ex-family. I might have to exceed my strict dietary alcohol limitations just to keep reign on my internal rage. Stupid, inescapable pointless conversations have a tendency to turn me into cruel mean-spirited person.
My ex-wife I learned just a few days ago is getting remarried to a widower 10 years her senior. Does she realize in 10 years time when he turns 80 that she might become his primary caregiver? Has she really given that some serious thought? And do I really want to hear about that, trapped at some dinner table after one too many glasses of wine fidgeting anxiously with a sharp dessert fork in my hand?
Quite frankly, the only 80 year old ass I want to be wiping down the road is my own. There ain’t no second wife or long hospital stay in the future for me my friend.
Dying in a hospital is definitely a no-go zone for me. Do Not Resuscitate. Or given a prolonged illness, I have said – and will – begin that last long walk out into the deep desert. I refuse to die in a hospital.
Which brings me to the subject of the future. Dying in a hail of bullets in Mexico sounds like a pretty good way to go. I am out on a run, a car pulls up and the bad guys shoot me down. I’ve come to like that idea. And I’ve actually given it a lot of thought.
In fact, I think about my death three times a day. First, when I wake up and realize I am still alive. Second, over coffee in the morning when I read the online obituary of my hometown newspaper. Third, when I am out on my morning run.
I’ve come to realize with the escalation of violence here, in my little corner of the devil’s own playground, that my chances of getting murdered keep going up. Two sometimes three people get murdered here every single day.
Think about that for a minute. Fabulous, shiny Acapulco is ranked second in the world for violent murders. Do you like the hyperbole? I also like to use the expression ‘seriously killed.’
I digress. Acapulco experiences 113 murders per 100,000. Locally, we’re more like 70-80 murders per 100,000 which isn’t far off of St. Louis, MO., USA which comes in at svelte 60 per 100,000.
But the difference in the odds of getting oneself seriously murdered anywhere is more than just about statistics. Here simple association can get you killed.
Now I am not associated with any bad guys so I don’t have to worry about a rival gang snuffing me out.
No. If anything, a gang leader might take exception to one of my friends – something simple as a perceived slight – and they might kill the gringo as an example; for retaliation, for honor, you name it. The less the logic, the higher the probability.
The killing here has gotten so bad that the bad guys have run out of men to do the killing – as in they’ve all been killed – and so the new assassins are teenage boys, some as young as fourteen or fifteen.
Getting gunned down while I am out on one of my morning runs can’t be anymore painful than a heart attack. And the fright and pre-stress have also got to run pretty neck to neck. Knowing you’re having a heart attack and dying followed by the intense chest constricting pain can’t be any worse than facing down a bullet.
Bullets just sound scarier.
And besides, I’d like to die at the top of my game. I’ve had a great life. I’d like to see my daughter married, write a few obnoxious posts about my asshole ex-laws, other than that I am not particularly concerned about vanishing into the great unknown of eternity.
I just hope I can at least have a smile on my face when the car of assassins pulls along side. I am serious. First, I discovered when facing down the ginormous, Craig Wormell (covered in another post) that extreme fright makes me get a goofy grin on my face. Second, the legend of which would mean songs written; meaning legendary Mexican immortality status for the gringo who took some bullets with a smile on his face.
Certainly sounds better than dying in some nursing home or a hospital.