Changing times

cine
Well, lookee here! We’ve joined the Big Time.

IN SEPTEMBER 2000, when I drove to the mountaintop in a rental car, there was a shortage of stuff like stoplights, chain stores, Gringos and the like. That has changed.

Now we have stoplights, and most people heed them. We also have chain stores like Walmart’s Bodega Aurrera, Soriana, Oxxo and Coppel, one of which is a sizable department store. We also have lots more Gringos.

When I arrived after living eight months in the nearby state capital, there were about 40 Gringos hereabouts, many of whom were oddballs and lunatics. Now there are 10 times that number. Some are oddballs, but most are normal folks, it seems.

Though I intuit that many vote in the wrong direction, a sort of lunacy.

Way back then, we had a funky movie theater. It had two screens. One showed porno, and the other showed regular fare long after it had debuted at theaters in the nearby capital city. Our theater was old and fun to visit, but it closed about 18 years ago.

The town made a big step forward last week when a movie theater opened that’s part of the Mexican Cinépolis chain, which I hear now has theaters in the United States.

First-run flicks at last. It’s like we’re not in the boonies anymore. The five-screen theater is in a large, new retail area, and other buildings are under construction. The grapevine says that one is a Domino’s Pizza. Just what we need, more pizza.

Mexicans love pizza almost as much as they love tacos, cheese and salsa, especially pizza with weenie and pineapple chunks. This is not Paris.

I’m praying for a Costco, Sears, or perhaps they’ll resurrect Bonwit Teller.

Music and whiskey

TWO HOURS after shooting the video above from the upstairs terraza, I was sitting on the Jesus Patio eating seedless green grapes and listening to the hog next door expressing displeasure with her situation, which she does often.

This is being written yesterday, Saturday. The previous night had seen a heavy downpour that lasted I don’t know how long because I went back to sleep after waking briefly to notice it.

Some things don’t change much in these parts, and the sounds of sunrise are one of those things. Roosters, tractor-trailer trucks on the highway up the mountain behind us, crickets, the loudspeakers of the house-delivery propane trucks.

However, some things do change, and they’re generally for the better. We got some great news recently. An international chain of movie theaters, Cinépolis, is opening here in our mountaintop town. Hooray! Now we won’t have to drive to the state capital for first-run flicks.

The changes that have occurred over the past 17 years that I’ve been here are considerable. There were no major supermarkets. Now there are two. There were no stoplights. Now there are many. There were few Gringos. Now there are way too many!

I wonder how they’ll react to the Cinépolis chain. Over a decade ago, the Mexican convenience store chain Oxxo opened its first store here, and the Gringos, many of whom are aging hippies, went bananas. Egad! Modernization!

We have numerous Oxxos now, including one directly on the major plaza. Another sits on the nearby smaller plaza. Their signs are subdued, not intrusive.

I’m praying for a full-blown Walmart and Costco.

Convenient shopping is a good thing, and it does not detract from the morning views I get from the upstairs terraza, something I love and that never changes.

* * * *

An old friend emailed me this week. I rarely hear from people above the border, so it was a welcomed event.

He and I worked together on newspapers for decades both in New Orleans and Houston. Like me, he is divorced more than once. Unlike me, he is not currently married. He’s three years older than I am, and he lives alone in a home he bought in Colorado after he retired from the Houston Chronicle.

I had sent him a note after seeing him briefly on a Netflix documentary of Janis Joplin who was a close friend of his in high school in Port Arthur, Texas, and later in her early years of fame and drug-addled degeneracy.

My friend is a much-published poet, but not in recent years. He said his life now is mostly whiskey and music. And that all his major life decisions were wrong ones. That last resonated with me because all my major decisions were wrong ones too. Till 1996 when my major life decisions did a 180.

What happened in 1996? I stopped drinking. My friend is 76 years old, and I doubt he will do that.

I didn’t even mention it.

Here’s to music and whiskey! And staying the course.