A few things happened in the last week, or so, that have caused me to pause, think, and then remain silent. It has taken years for me to realize that a knee jerk response should not be vocalized. And, unfortunately, although the lesson has been heard, it still isn’t always heeded. Maybe that’s why I love the written word. Overzealous reactions can be edited out later when the head is cooler and I think I’m calm enough now. But, before I get to the situation I’m, obviously, still avoiding let me give you a few examples of how my vocal skills have created problems in the past.
To start with, I’m short. The reason I mention this is that there was a very tall gentleman that had become interested in me some years back. We had friends in common in our little academic environment and I often would run into him at functions on campus. His rather intense stare across rooms would be coupled with a shy hesitancy and obvious nervousness when in close proximity and, frankly speaking, I should have been flattered. However, and I apologize for my lack of metric abilities, my 5’3″ to his 6’6″ height was, to me, laughable. I love to dance and all I could think of was that there would never be a step stool around when necessary. But, I soon eliminated any possibility of this becoming an issue on the day he finally approached. He walked across a conference room, loomed over me and said, “I wanted to tell you that I’ve been admiring you from a distance.” To which I replied, “well, isn’t that the only way you could?” Problem solved, his crush was over.
This lack of communication between my mouth and my brain has been with me a long time now. I’m a survivor of an all girls boarding school. So I speak from experience when I say that girls should never be cloistered in the hills of Pennsylvania, USA, with nothing but a farm and nuns; they’ll get bored. And nothing is worse than a pack of bored, adolescent girls when rules are expected to be followed. My personal favorite was smoking. This was the seventies and it didn’t make folks the pariah it does now. In fact, it was still “cool” then. Anyway, I’d promised the principal, Sr. Rose, that I’d not smoke on campus anymore. Needless to say, I was caught not two weeks later. When she asked me what had happened to my promise I replied, “I guess it went up in smoke.” Yea, I know you could probably see that one coming, but, if it makes you feel any better, I swear my left ear still hurts from her tugging on it the whole way to her office.
So, here I am, decades later, living on the island of Cozumel. Retired, nesting, and generally enjoying life with my, now, two dogs, my hammock, a few new friends, and this laptop; life is good. In between my typically loner style bike rides, coffee stops, and beach time there is a small group of folks I have become acquainted with and I enjoy their company. Although their numbers swell and dip, they’ve been on this island for years and have established a sort of quiet routine and have thrived as a result. But, there’s trouble in paradise.
Now, I like to think that change can be good, but if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it, yes? Apparently not. A few new folks on the island have decided that things will work more efficiently with a stricter set of “guidelines.” This bothers me, a lot, and I can’t quite determine why since what is being suggested might well be a good thing for all. Still, I just can’t get the image out of my head of missionaries and their “good intentions.” You know what I mean. “It’s our duty to show these savages the right path.” Not sure who I’m paraphrasing there, but my intent is clear, I hope.
Bottom line, for me, is that I’m a guest on the island of Cozumel. I don’t feel that I have the right, or the knowledge, to try and “improve” the lives of others. I’m not here to “show you the way.” I will happily volunteer when necessary, will always be available to help when asked, and have no problem picking up any garbage accumulated on my block, but I will do it without my verbal input. Who knows? Down the road, after years of living on the island, I might think differently, but it will take many years. Until then I will happily abide by the island ways and just be grateful that I can live here at all. Salud!
p.s. I took these pictures at Hacienda Chichen where the Maya still practice their rituals………seemed appropriate for the topic somehow