Train of thoughts

rail

CARNIVAL JUST ended. Bring out the ashes. My hardscrabble neighborhood, more than any other here on the mountaintop, goes bananas for Mardi Gras.

Living just a block and a half from the plaza presents problems. The worst are the monster concerts that blare for four nights straight. We sleep with silicone earplugs.

Having lived 18 years in New Orleans, I know Carnival. What passes for Carnival here pales in comparison, but I think my neighborhood excels in noise, a Mexican specialty.

Roundabouts August, I am weary of rain, every year. Roundabouts February, I am weary of cold, every year. Walking through the living room this morning, it was, I’m guessing, about 50 degrees at most.

We have no climate control in the house. Our electricity bills are constant all year long. Constantly cheap.  I have not been in the United States in seven years and was there only sporadically, briefly, the nine years before that.

Most Americans live in sealed houses, which is great where temps vary wildly, but it’s pretty even here with the exception of January and February when it can freeze at night.

There’s no playing with a dial on the wall to make life sweet. The temperature just is. Here are a couple of other things. No junk mail in my post office box. No sales calls as we sit down to supper. Is that still common in America? Bet so.

My wife is the most important thing in my life. A close second is my Kindle. Departing a restaurant yesterday alone in the state capital, I left it unseen on a chair. The waiter chased me down outside to return it. Bless him.

That was very unlike me. Long ago, I formulated what we’ll call Felipe’s First Law of Placement, which is that you never put something important out of sight in, say, a restaurant unless you literally cannot leave without it.

Car keys or an umbrella during a downpour.

I abide religiously by the law, usually. Why did I break it yesterday? No clue. Got me to thinking. While I do not have a backup wife, I need a backup Kindle, so I ordered one today, a newer version, the Paperwhite.

A backup wife has appeal, but I don’t think I could get away with it, nor should I. Too old for that anyway.

I’ll close with that. We’re going to take our exercise walk around the plaza. Wonder what we’ll see this morning. Unconscious bodies? Blood stains on the cement?

We’ve seen both in the past.

A baby’s funeral

church

AS WE ENTERED the old church, I looked at the baby on the floor by the door, and my wife noticed the other one in the small casket up by the altar. We sat down, and listened to the recitation given by a woman seated somewhere among the crowd.

We had not intended to crash a baby’s funeral. We were just on a Sunday afternoon stroll around the neighborhood plaza. We saw the church open and heard things coming through that big door.

The baby the young woman is holding in the photo was on the floor, smiling at me. The young woman was seated by the door. The toddler was nearby. The dog was inside too. We entered and sat a few moments. Then we left and sat on a plaza bench across the street.

Normally, when someone dies in the neighborhood, the church bell gongs for hours. We had heard nothing for this baby’s funeral, and I’m thinking the child died before it was Baptized, meaning all bets are off. Perhaps to Hell with it or simply Purgatory. Doesn’t seem right.

Offhand, I don’t know how Catholics handle this, but I hope the baby’s getting a less-raw deal. There was no priest in sight. It appeared that the neighborhood was winging it for the child.

Hoping for the best.

Music and bread

torture

PACHELBEL’S CANON played as we ate bagels and Philly cheese lite this morning. The dining room window to the terraza was open to enjoy the 58-degree air in almost-August under blue skies at 8 a.m.

I took the photo with my new camera yesterday. It’s a 16th-century church on the outskirts of town, little visited and usually locked. I have read that Spaniards tortured an influential Indian chief in there. Racist Latinos!*

I’ve been inching through the manual of my new Canon SX520 and, as usual, sighing and rolling my eyeballs at how much technology can be crammed into a small space these days. Whereas I am in favor of high technology, my enthusiasm wanes when I have to deal with its innards personally.

The first day after the camera’s arrival discouraged me. I only wanted a far better zoom, and simpler cameras with great zooms are available. I began to wonder why I had not purchased one of those simpler options.

I woke up for a spell in the middle of Thursday night, thinking: I’m gonna sell that thing and buy something easier.  I have pulled similar stunts.

About three years ago, I bought a Samsung Smartphone. I sold it at a significant loss within the week. Didn’t care for it. My main objection was the ringtone, which was too pissant for my tastes. Didn’t ring long enough. Yeah, I know. You can add others. Learned that later.

I returned to my previous, ancient, Nokia phone. You would laugh at it. It does two things only. It makes calls. It sends messages. Period. It does have powerful ringtones that would startle the dead.

Back to the camera. So I woke up yesterday and continued reading the Canon manual (online) while fiddling with the camera. I began to like stuff more and more. It’s pretty incredible, things it does. I stood on the upstairs terraza and took a closeup of the chimney on a house down the street, crystal clear. No wobble at all. How’s that possible?

I also removed the neck strap, which was a colossal annoyance. I went back to Amazon, the U.S. version this time, and ordered a perfect wrist strap and a beefier memory card. They are en route, no import tax due, I’m told.

Looks like I’ll keep the camera. I took it downtown yesterday afternoon for my daily coffee siesta at a sidewalk table facing the beautiful plaza with towering trees. I snapped a few shots, but nothing notable. Then I got in the Honda and drove home, passing the small church above.

* * * *

We finished the bagels and Philly cheese lite. I watered the plants on the downstairs terraza. It’s a lovely day. I wonder what kind of day it was when the Spaniards tortured the Indian chief in the church.

Maybe there are still blood stains on the stone floor. Maybe that’s why the church is usually locked. Catholic shame.

* * * *

* Don’t they know that #indianlivesmatter?

Catholic steeples and peoples

church

I LIVE AMONG steeples, and all of them are Catholic. Oh, there are other religions, usually referred to as “Christian” because most Mexicans, deep in their hearts, bizarrely do not regard Catholicism as a Christian religion.

It’s just Catholicism, period, the one accurate Voice of God.

Other religions are Christian, or cristianos  in español. Perhaps in the big cities of Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City people recognize Methodists, Baptists and so on, but here on the mountaintop we just have “the” religion of Catholicism and cristianos  who sometimes behave like Holy Rollers because they are really joyful.

Catholics are not joyful. They are somber, especially when walking on their knees over rocks to demonstrate their seriousness and love of God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

The cristianos sometimes parade in the streets, all shucking and jiving. Catholics never shuck and jive.

We also have Jehovah’s Witnesses who enjoy ringing doorbells and annoying people. My child bride’s evil stepmother and a number of her half-siblings have gone over to the dark side of Jehovah’s Witnessing.

I enjoy watching Catholicism even though I’m no believer, especially now with Pope Francis who appears to be an ignoramus. The Catholics excel at religious architecture and, as I was driving up a downtown hill today, I noticed this view. So I got out of the car and snapped it.

The Baptists, Methodists and certainly not the Jehovah’s Witnesses lack the Catholics’ architectural spirit.