I would be a total dick to say the trip was a waste. Honestly I cant say it per say as the keyboard I am writing forom is missing most of the keys to string together a cohesive sentance, and it was not a waste. There are all the makings of a slap stick comedy about two gringas who get dumped in the dessert in a village of poor farmworkers with nothing to do but breed, eat and make babies. Consequently I dont understand the baby making part as most everyone shares a bed and or a room with the children they have already made. Twin beds - catholic birth control. Who in this century that wasnt in mexico to convert the indians to one religion or another can say they spent 12 days in mexico having imbibed but 3 beers. Total, and not at the same time? I can say as much, and whoever says it ´s the booze not the food that rumbles your tummy, well, we should talk, over beers.
Now that we are gone, I can see beauty and humor in the situation, but smack dab in the 100 degree dust cloud that was our daily life it was not so picturesque.
Passive aggression is a dance I am left footed at at best. It might very well might be the national dance of mexican mothers. It starts out slow and lovely, a backward compliment a little tug for attention- You like to eat don´t you? Oh you dont like the food, my food must be bad, you think you are sick from my food. You shuffle along because the beat is familiar and you want to keep up. you have no desire to dissapoint so early in the game. - you finish your plate you ask for more you lie and say it is the best ground beef with large chunks of cartilage jalapenos and raw onion enchiladas you have ever had. You offer to cook as well so that she might have a break and you are not insulted when she laughs and says you probably cant cook mexican food because you are from america and their poor little village wouldnt have the ingredients you require to cook like a Chef.
With each question and bassackward remark about your clothes or your lack of makeup or why you have chosen not to make yourself beautiful for the men by putting on the pretty shoes for walking you stumble a little more, as one might stumble on the pocked dusty road and the thatched pavement is said pretty shoes for the ´men´ . The dance quickens you fumble your waord and suddenly you wake to an empty house, with food from hours ago sitting on the counter that you must now eat or be guilty of wasting your breakfast. YOu try to do the dishes to pull your weight only to see her rewashing them and commenting on how the sink might be clogged with food now because someone was messing with the dishes.
Soon you are floundering, breathless, sweating and totally off beat. The ground beneath you is moving at a quick pace and it is all you can do to keep a smile on your face. YOu overhear her on th ephone talking about how much you hate it here and how much you hate the food, how tatoos are ugly and sinful and when she sees you out of the corner of her eye she whispers into the phone and turns so you can´t hear. Only after she has nearly melted the plastic casing talking up a bluestreak of ridiculousness you hear her from across the house like nails on a chalkboard ¨Camila give me a cigarette eh? Are you hungry? What are you doing are you bored?´ And you give her a cigarette and talk about the weather because you hope that you are wrong and it is just that mom way, of doubting for the sake of someone else objecting and reassuring and continuing that dance that you have surely failed to keep pace with.
By the time the music winds down, you have spent days having done nothing, having little communication besides huge plates of food and even the idea of leaving a couple days early has ended in a flattened accusation of your dislike for your accomodations you are broken.
And at the end of the week the final act of attrition you put on the fancy dress and the high heeled shoes you make up your face and feel horrible overdressed for the frogs and the pigs just out side the door. And she parrades oyu through town and sits you at the biggest table at someone elses party and smiles as the men gawk and the little ladies turn thier heads and the young ladies pierce you with daggers. For they have squeezed a life time of tortillas into the wrong size jeans and smashed their feet into platform shoes displaying their toes like shrimp cocktail hanging from the glass. They sacraficed an evening of telenovelas in favor of using a curling iron and a half gallon of hair spray and they were not gonna let a couple of gringas spoil the one night a year they could get their husbands drunk enough to dance with them.
Oh and they danced. Sweaty and slippery skinned they pull each other around the dance floor to the overly prnounced beat of a tuba and accordian, tugging at each others back pockets. The men mount their ladies over one knee and bounce them around so much that the ladies cease to touch the ground.
Our little dance is not so suggestive, she watches us watch them. My companion cannot dance with any one as she is taken and he is por el norte. So are most of the women at the dance, as you scann the perimieter of the dance floor the women with husbands far from home look longingly into the drowd and imaginge they are being bounced on one knee with their cowboy in matching boots and fake gucci belt. That they are smelling the tacate on their breath and going home to make love faster than a ranchera ballad on a twin sized bed. But they are here growing old and picking up wired money at the farmacia surviving on little more than memories and convicing themselves that their husbands are faithful in the states when they have most likely taken up with some gringo whore like the one sitting at the table front and center and it is not even her party.
It has been made poerfectly clear that I am available to dance with any soltero I fancy. I should find myself a good man here in bufalo, as it is I am old and single and tragically with out a sixpack of niños clipping my heels. It has all but bee implied that my ovaries might dry up this very evening if I do not find myself a vacero and learn to make tortillas. But the affor mentioned daggers keep me glued to my seat. And while I actually enjoy dancing Ill be dambed if I fuel either fire by playing the make the gringa dance ranchera game. My feet though are reging an all out rebellion, tapping aeay like morse code begging to be pulled out on the dancefloor. I must all but sit on my hansd and fein complete musical dyslexia. I am a traitor to soul and my soles.
In the end it was the uncle of our keeper that caught me off gaurd in the plaza, family was supposed to be safe ground. He stolled up rosy from cerveza, and I wa simmediatly jelous of his enebraited state. To add insult to injury, women were not encouraged to partake in the drinking of such refreshing beverages as beer. Not even a Zima and I would have drank it if offered. In the minute it took me to realize he was not asking my if I liked the party but was asking if I liked him, I saw no escape, stumbbling over himself and his english the words ¨I like and beautiful´ slipped back and forth across the border of english and spanish like a well fed coyote and a hole in the 2000 mile fence. My dissapointment and frustration lay cloaked under a patient smile and my seach for an exit stragedy, and the cold cool realization that while our keeper was spinning tales about our dislike of pretty much everything her brother was trying to convince me that his wife was not at his house if I wanted to come have a beer. Not even a beer in harsh climate could make me want anything less.
The next morning the dance picked up where it left off but with days to go we stopped trying to keep up. We dissapointed her tremendoulsy by not repeating our little game of dress up and diplay the gringas at the school graduation.
But, by now we had started our own dance, the we have had such a great time and we will miss this place forever as it has carved a place in our hearts dance. Our last evening in town we made our rounds to every ferril child and every house we had sat on it´s stoop and took pictures of families larger than their pocketbooks can afford. And in the plaze tienda where throughout the day the owner calls oever a loud speaker ¨señora gonzolez you have a phone call you son is trying to call and you phone is unplugged!¨ or ¨maria lupita is here with her rico tamales for 2 pesos!¨ upon our request before we strolled the plaza for the last time an anouncement went out ¨to everyone in Bufalo the two gringos thank you for your hospitality and wish everyone a pleasant life Thank you again!!!¨ And with an empty smile our matroly host played along, we passed along gifts for the kids and pictures for her. Packed up presents headed north toward families not seen in ages, and while I might argue that we all simultatiously had dust in our eyes as we parted ways at the omnibus station, we passed out kleenex and boarded the bus slightly heavy hearted and wondered how different things would be the next time we passed through.