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Our 3-Legged Race to Mexico

by Pam Walters

September 2016

Seriously, if Trump wins, John and I are moving to Mexico. We've been tossing the idea around for almost a year. Although we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Carmel, California is very expensive. And now that we're both living on fixed incomes, it's tough to make ends meet. We're trying to hang in, but if Trump actually pulls this off, we know what's in store for folks like us. So, we'll leave picturesque Carmel and head for San Miguel de Allende, I reckon.

The truth is that I can relate to Trump. I wish I didn't have fearful, bigoted, racist thoughts, but I do. I make myself sick when I sink to some of the selfish, hateful, kneejerk reactions I have to challenges facing America, but that's how I was raised. I grew up in the Midwest. My father – when he was in one of his more evolved states of mind – chalked up fear and bigotry to the fact that we're all basically a bunch of farmers. Don't come on our land. Don't steal our horses. Don't sleep with our women.

I think I loathe other people's ignorance because I know how ignorant I can be. I don't act out on my deep-rooted reactions, but they're still my default defense. As it says in every self-help book, I want to be rid of all of my unhealthy, limiting thoughts. Trump glorifies my small-mindedness. I don't want a President who cheers on our most malicious traits.

*****

September 2018

Well, here we are in San Miguel de Allende – the fun side of the wall. It's only been three weeks, but we feel better. It's liberating not to be on a CNN intravenous drip.

John likes it here more than I do because he's fluent, and, basically because he's content to do nothing. I, on the other hand, hanker for some action I can relate to. I'm not religious so the religious processions feel pagan. But I have to be careful not to show my disdain. I need to smile more. I know my time will come. I'll find my crowd. I'll make solid writing connections, for example.

But will I become a different – a better – person here? Will the kindness I see rub off on me or rub against me? Will I become good-natured about the language barrier? I feel like I should pin John's handicapped vehicle placard onto my blouse.

Worst of all, I wonder if my deep-rooted bigotry is rearing its ugly head. For example, John says I don't give way enough when I walk down the narrow sidewalks. I wasn't aware of it. So now, I plaster myself against the wall and mumble "Perdoname" constantly. John says what little Spanish I know comes off as insulting, patronizing. Good Lord, I don't want to be an ugly American. I want to embrace this country, its people, its traditions.

In time I guess, I'll calm down and learn the pace. I'll do better at curbing my instincts at least in situations where I'm clearly not calling the shots. What I need is humility. A virtue that's vastly underrated in America.

**************

Pam Walters is a new resident of San Miguel de Allende. Her poetry and prose have been published in The Southampton Review, Chicago Literati, Switchback, Cutthroat, Cutbank literary reviews and Round-Up Writer's Zine. Seven of the chapters from her memoir, "I Hope Prince Charming Drinks," have been published in literary journals. She's won writing competitions for memoir and humor. Two of the chapters from her book were performed live. She recently won for non-fiction at the San Miguel International Writer's Conference. She and her husband reside in Centro.

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