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Bump, Bump, Bump

April 30, 2023

by Dr. David Fialk, Editor / Publisher

My flight out of New Orleans was delayed 20 minutes, rendering it impossible, by my calculations, for me to make my connecting flight in Dallas. The gate attendant, agreeing, offered to put me up in a hotel in Dallas and fly me to Leon the next day. I elected to stay another day in New Orleans with my daughter, Sefira.

Sefira and I didn't spend all of my 12-day visit at her house, but when we were there, I played handyman: painting, planting, disassembling, tightening things up. On my last, extra morning, before my 2pm flight, I turned my attention to storage.

Like father, like daughter; our similarity is often uncanny. When she was two and I was getting divorced from her mother, I warned my soon-to-be ex, "If you don't like me, you're in trouble, because this kid doesn't just look like me." I also can tolerate a lot of messiness. My bodega (storage area) isn't pretty, but beneath the superficial clutter, it is orderly.

Sefira's clutter collects in her back room, formerly a back porch, and in the adjacent laundry room. On the porch, a large, mostly empty chest received stray items, and milk crates, with some shifting of their contents, stacked nicely.

In the laundry room, on the far side of the dryer, several built-in shelves overflowed with Mardi Gras costumes. I folded these, mostly tutus and wigs, into a large bag. Then I moved several smaller boxes from the floor, up onto the empty, top, difficult-to-reach shelf.

Sefira made piles of things to sell, give or throw away. I brought the garbage barrel around to the back door.

A Chinese doctor once told me that the energy of your house, the feng-shui, is affected by the state of your closets. Sefira's house is healthier.

On the drive to the airport, I announced that fate had delayed my departure so that I could assist in straightening out her storage system. My daughter laughed, itemizing the 4-5 other things I had accomplished in that last 24 hours. But she had confessed, earlier in our visit, that she needed help getting her stuff in order, and I'm glad that she got it.

It strikes me that there is a metaphor in all this. We all have things, mental-emotional attitudes, that we don't keep up front in polite society. But it's good to be familiar with what lurks in our psychological "closet." We have to pay our devils their due, keep things in order, give away what no longer works, take out the garbage.

I got back to San Miguel, uneventfully, at midnight that evening. The flights I took were not nearly full, and no one said anything about the oversized computer monitor I was carrying with me.

The next morning, just yesterday, inspired by my successes in New Orleans, I got to work putting my house in order, literally and figuratively.

I set up my new computer and monitor, tended to my patio garden (lovingly cared for, in my absence, by my friend Ed), dealt with the disorder of my departure and arrival, and cleared away the dust that accumulated during my absence. Then I bicycled over to the verduraria (vegetable market).

When people ask me if I go back to the States, I say, "Well, I go back to visit my daughter in New Orleans. But that really isn't 'the States.' It was French."

French or not, it is impressive how efficiently things work up there. As a cyclist, after San Miguel's cobblestones, it's impossible not to envy their smooth pavement.

It was great to visit my daughter, to see how far we have advanced (it's been a few years), to not have to finish my sentences, to have her shake up my political perspectives, to enjoy her excellent cooking and baking. (How long do cookies last in the freezer?)

But setting out, yesterday morning, on my bike, on my first outing since returning, the sun's fierceness screened just right by the lightest, filmy clouds, even the bump, bump, bump of the cobblestones, especially the bump, bump, bump of the cobblestones, made me smile.

(The price and quality of the food at the verduraria, was another reason to celebrate being back below the border.)

New Orleans has a lot of soul, but in many regards, America has turned into a theme-park, polished, but inauthentic. Except for family, I'll take the vibrant, artisanal bump, bump, bump of San Miguel any day. ¡Viva Mexico!


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