Well, it has been quite a week for me here on the island of Cozumel. Some good, some bad, one moment where I snapped and then the realization that I should return to my roots; taking photos with my new camera and putting it all down in writing. A full circle of events that got me sitting back at the computer to put it all in perspective.
It started out by someone bringing me my favorite candy from the states by way of Tulum (they kept them in a cooler). Then she was nice enough to bring them over to the house, how selfless was that for a person on her vacation? I’ve been rationing them out daily knowing that they are more traveled than the average U.S. citizen, which, somehow, makes them taste even better (thanks, Becky).
Then, last Tuesday afternoon, the email came that told me that my book was to be put on the back burner, for now, until all requested changes were implemented. I knew it had all happened too quickly and simply. So I sent a copy to a good friend of mine who edits for a living and, to my dismay, she immediately agreed with them. So, okay, back to the drawing board, and with a bit more urgency. I do want to be published for something other than a few short stories about women’s lives.
After that I did what one should never do when upset. I went out for a day of determined fun due to my disappointment. That’s never a good combination. That, in turn, led to using my camera in creative ways, with one, or two, slightly regrettable moments while taking photos of the customers. Most were good spirited, a few were surprised, but one gentleman’s expression told me it was time to pack it in and head home. I decided he was right. But, it was what happened next that caused the snap.
First, a little back story. I take taxis about three times a week. Now, when I take a cab a long distance there is one driver that I call who is always prompt and courteous. Otherwise, I just stick to the drivers standing about. With them, on average (about once every other week) a driver tries to make a bit more profit. Unfortunately, this average changed last Tuesday. In the morning, about 10:30, I had been grocery shopping at Chedraui. I’d bought a bit more than expected so I took a cab. Forgetting the rule to barter before getting in he attempted to tell me that he didn’t have change for a hundred pesos. We’d driven six blocks and it was late morning. Since I hadn’t yet received the disappointing email I handled it well. I simply stood with the money in my hand until he found the change that I knew he had.
Then the email and my friend’s confirmation. So, out I went for that day of fun. Several hours later, as mentioned, my disappointment needed to be brought home and dealt with in private. So I stopped at the Mega and asked the driver how much he would charge me to take me home. I was remembering to barter and I was proud of myself. Now, I live in Corpus Christi across from the church, not a long drive, but too long a walk in the sun. He announced that the going rate was 100 pesos. Even though I heard him, I was sure I hadn’t and asked again. In a clear voice, and in perfect English, he repeated that the rate was 100 pesos. Now, for those who don’t live here, the going rate would have been about 20-25 pesos for a taxi on the street, and a bit more for one waiting at a place such as Mega. But, not 100 pesos and that was the moment I snapped.
Out came my camera. I took photos of him, his cab, the other drivers who were now coming closer, and their cabs. It all ended with every one of them refusing to drive me anywhere, which led to my sitting in a cab in protest. I wasn’t going to move until he took me home. Problem was, he now had me too. He then insisted on 80 pesos and, now that I was a bit nervous, and protesting in his cab without options, I reluctantly agreed before things escalated further. And, for anyone who is interested, I’ve already spoken with someone who has lived here a long time and she assured me that I should not do that again. And, since I haven’t snapped in the four years I’ve lived in Mexico, I probably won’t. But, I do miss those old protest days. I’d just forgotten, for a second, that I wasn’t on the streets of Cleveland in 1969 and the old hippie in me had arisen.
After a day of rest and reflection I realized that I needed to get back to what is so good, for me, about living on this island. The ability to write, and rewrite, in a peaceful, garden environment, and the ability to take pics of all the colors. I, usually, have simple needs. For my health I chose to focus on the wondrous flowers we have here with a camera that allows for closeups. For me, beauty heals all and that beauty is what I decided to share with you in the hopes that, when you have one of those weeks, you too can remember why we are all here on Cozumel. Salud!