Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The cabbie’s life: One night in Toronto

Back in the day — before Uber & Lyft, before Google street maps, before the Internet — there was a thing known as The Thomas Guide. It was a spiral-bound book of maps and street indexes for many of the major West Coast cities in the U.S.

It was a godsend for journalists and taxicab drivers alike.

Toronto had a similar book, as I discovered one night when I arrived to cover the Toronto Film Festival for my California newspaper.

“Where to, eh?

“Sutton Place,please.”

“Good, good. Is that cab in front of us going there, too?”

“No, they’re going to another hotel.”

“Good, good. OK. Sutton Place. That’s not far. Do you know where it is?”

“No. Don’t you?”

“Yeah. Well, no. Well, sort of. I usually work the West End. Don’t get up here that much.”

“Um … Bay Street. I think it is on Bay Street.”

“Bay Street? Good. Good. Bay Street. Bay Street. Right you are.”

“I think it is a main thoroughfare here. North and south.Turn here on University. You’re bound to cross it.”

“OK. Yeah. Right you are. Here, look in this book, page four. Got to be on page four or near it. Look on four.”

“There’s no map on four.”

“What do you mean? No! Index. Look at the index. You read; I’ll drive.”

“I can’t find a map. Look here, there’s Bay Street! If you turn here, we ought to find Sutton Place.”

“I can’t turn. See the sign? It says ‘No left turn.’ You really ought to learn how to read that book. You can get anywhere with in this city with that book, you can. Ah, I’ll turn anyway.”

“Why do I need to read this book? I’ll be leaving Toronto in two days. You live here. You learn it.”

“Sure, but what if you come back? You really ought to learn.”

You ought to learn. You live here, you drive the cab!”

“Right you are!”

“Look, there’s the Sutton. Just drop me off behind that car.”

“Right! The old Sutton! There you are! I got you here, didn’t I? You really ought to get one of these books. Invaluable! Fare’s $4.25. Told you I’d get you here. Well, have a good evening then.”

“Right. Keep the change.”

True story.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

A lesson from the butterfly’s second life

Butterflies are one of the “two sweetest passions known to man.”

So says Vladimir Nabokov. The other is literature.

A day watching butterflies flutter amid the flower boughs

Never feels misspent.

Nor does a day with a good book.

Literature lasts forever. No so, the butterfly.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Mama Mia makes a move and it is spectacular

Rose and I happened to walk by the new Mama Mia’s restaurant today.

That’s right, the NEW one.

One of San Miguel de Allende’s most popular restaurants has moved from the heart of Centro to Dr. Hernández Macías # 91.

Really, just around the corner, but worlds away a huge improvement.

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

Evil counts on the public to stop trying

It is government that built the highways and bridges, managed the airwaves, created law enforcement to keep the peace, raised military to protect the nation, educated the workers and business people, created order out of chaos, kept the air and water clean — without which the selfish bastards who cling to their cash and say “Nobody tells me what to do with MY hard-earned money!” would not have any cash.

Newsbreak: Without government, you would not have “hard-earned cash” because business and labor can not function without government support — just as government can not function without the support of the people.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

In the garden: A meditation

I have so many pictures of the flowers and plants that fill our courtyard that I want to share with you. This oasis. This sanctuary. This place where we find peace and solitude during the global crisis.

This home in Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Flowers speak for themselves. They don’t need words to make themselves more beautiful. Unless the words are contained in a song.

Flowers and songs work well togther.

And no song is better than Van Morrison’s “In the Garden.”

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Schultzie’s transistor radio started a revolt

Pocket-sized transistor radios were probably one of the first great subversive technologies. And smuggling one into a culturally hermetic community could spark a revolution.

That’s what happened when rock ‘n’ roll invaded the cloistered walls of my seminary.

Thank God.

As an eighth-grader I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. Two years later I realized that he had dialed a wrong number and I had, regrettably, answered.

I went all in: a missionary order whose Latin name translated to Society of the Divine Word (SVD).  The order had a very gothic looking building about 20 miles south of Erie, Pa., where they educated their high school recruits.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

No rhyme, no reason: Randomly curated photos from the Pandemic-era

Yeah, this is how I feel every day when I open up my computer and begin reading the news. I want to scream, lash out, run for cover, then hide in the bushes for the rest of the day.

+ + + + +

I know “curated” does not mean “stuff left over.”

A curator searches through his or her museum’s basements, files, archives, vaults, hallways, and subterranean sanctorums in search of pieces that support an important theme or idea.

The hope is that, as a whole, a curated show will tell a story or bolster an idea. A curated show is more than a theme — say for example, pictures with something red in them.

There is no doubt that during self-isolation, we have changed. As our lives slowed down, our perception has improved. I dare say that we are all seeing, feeling, hearing, loving, fearing in ways our previously busy, noisy, distracting, and demanding lives would not permit.

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Crossword clue: ‘It might send you to the moon’ and your answer is …

In a crossword puzzle today:

“It might send you to the moon”

Horizontal. Four letters.

So obvious. I wrote in 

LOVE

+ + + + +

But LOVE is thwarted by insensitive vertical clues

That have nothing to do with love:

“Some shortcuts for ships” CANALS

“Body position in yoga” ASANA

“Great ___ National Park” BASIN

“Brand of figure-shaping underwear” SPANX

+ + + + +

For a flight to the moon,

The crossword’s answer

Is pretty pedestrian. (Especially after

Spanx and asana which, come to think of it,

May have something to do with love.)

Perhaps songwriters and poets should create

Our nation’s crossword puzzle clues.

+ + + + +

Love, of course, is all you need.

Love will send you to the moon.

But romantic metaphors, apparently,

Have no place in a Wednesday

New York Times Crossword Puzzle.

+ + + + +

Although, the clue for 57 down,

“Middle of many metaphors,”

Suggests somebody knows something

About figures of speech.

If not love.

+ + + + +

That answer, to 57 down, sadly,

Is not LOVE, either.

It is only three letters: ISA

Really, only two words, “IS A” 

+ + + + +

ISA, as in …

He is a car wreck waiting to happen.

Her love is a one-way trip to the moon.

He is a puddle of mush when she walks into the room.

Their love is a three-ring circus.

+ + + + +

ISA is an “ugh …”

(Also three letters, but not an answer.)

I don’t want and ugh. I want a hug.

I want better. I want more.

I want LOVE to send us to the moon.

Even in a Wednesday crossword puzzle.

+ + + + +

But if LOVE doesn’t, or can’t,

Send us to the moon

Because things get in the way, like,

Canals, yoga, tight underwear and national parks

What will?

+ + + + +

A very important question

These days:

What sends you to the moon?

What keeps you from taking a trip to the moon?

Use as many letters and metaphors as you wish.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The rainy season turns San Miguel hillside neighborhood into a vernal wonderland

The rainy season has begun in San Miguel de Allende and brings with it an abundance of lush and impossibly green vegetation. There is a freshness to everything — the streets, the air, the flowers now blooming everywhere in mad bursts of color.

Walking though older parts of San Miguel feel like you have been transported to dense tropical forests in an era far removed from the present.

The perfect getaway for the homebound in the Age of Pandemic.

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