Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chacala Version, Mexican Time

After two years in Chacala, I think I have finally figured out the up-side of "Mexican time", the phrase generally used to refer to people showing up when they feel like it, or whenever it works out.

Yesterday someone visiting in Chacala keep pressuring me to give a specific time when I would finish working up at Susana´s. And of course I had no idea because all kinds of things can happen where ever you go around town. I could see how frustrated she was as she tried to pin me down
so that we could get together later in the day. And I not only couldn´t give her a time, and realized I didn´t want to.

I have found out just taking things one minute at a time, and not making time commitments or even having a strong agenda for the day works much better for me than having "appointments" and specific detailed plans for the day. I usually wake up with some ideas about things I want to do during that day, but it´s certainly not written in stone, or even in any particular order. I might want to go up to Susana´s, find the water jug guy and ask him to bring me water, ask Esparanza to wash some beddings, ask Beto if he has a drill he or I could use to repair my new bed, hang out with Dona Lupe and with the people at Chico´s, make sure Concha remembers a guest is coming later today and get some info from Aurora about her prices for a long-term renter for June, and get some bread and tortillas and a couple plastic garbage bags for Esparanza and see if kids are living at a particular puesto, and visit with some of the visitors here that I especially enjoy and go the the correo (post office) in Las Varas because I think I have a package there (because one of the taxi drivers gave me a note from the correo sayings had a package). And wash my clothes, eat breakfasst and lunch, tidy up my camp, and probably spend some times with the neighborhood kids drawing and painting on my table. Those are the things on my mind. And by the end of the day I probably did some of those things and probably did a bunch of other stuff: take a walk with someone, help Trini with her new website, visit with somone, go to the hot springs, get a ride to La Penita, or whatever. Many things happen serendipitously here. I am walkind down the road and someone stops and offers me a ride wherever, or comes by with something I was hungry for (Marta´s apple pies), or ...รงรง

Actually, it´s hard to describe, but I call it ¨Chacala time". But really I think it´s leaving your life and your ideas about what you "need" wide open. And to not get strongly connected to a certain version of how things need to happen.

I think in my old life, pre-Chacala, I almost always had a full calendar and definite ideas about how things should happen. And that I probably missed out on lots of opportunities and adventures, and chances because I was so busy following the end of my nose (and calendar book) that I forgot to notice what was going on around me and turned down interesting opportunities because I had to keep to my schedule.

It used to really annoy me that the collectivos run whenever they want, and fiestas start hours after the announced starting time, and people rarely show up when they said they would. But in all those cases it works out fine even if at a different time. Other fun stuff happens while you are waiting, and it is okay to do stuff inpromptu (ly) because that´s what other people are doing too.

There´s plenty of time to hang around and visit and learn something new from someone, or help someone out.

I think it´s sort of connected to how nice it is to be in a camping place here. I am surrounded by big families this week. The kids are never crying, babies are happy, no one yells are kids or anyone else. People hang out all day talking and visiting and eating and cookings and enjoying themselves. Dads and moms and grandmom and dads, and aunties and cousins and brothers and sisters send the days together and I am jealous of how much people seem to like each other and the lovely sound of happy voices all day long. Maybe I am missing ugly comments and undertones etc, but I don´t think so. The families seem to like being together. I wish I had a family like that.

Yesterday morning I was helping Luis, Aurora´s uncle unload some stuff into his puesto (I was just walking by on the way to Susana´s and stopped to visit and help) .I commented that I hadn´t gotten a Chacala shirt yet and we were looking thru his shirts for an X large for me but he didn´t have one. And anyway I didn´t want to spend money on a tee shirt. Then last night I was at Chico´s hanging out and clearing tables and having a filete and making sure some new visitors I like were all set for dinner. Then Narcisa, the owner, handed me a present for Christmas, a new Chacala tee shirt in my size. And she and Luis hadn´t talked about it or anything. She had had it since the night before. I like that. When stuff you were thinking about just happens. Like my bed last week.


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