And on it goes …

Newish awning shades the dining room in the morning, which is nice.

I DON’T RECALL when we started our stay-home routine. Been a few weeks, but when you get older, you lose track of time. Time often flies incredibly fast.

Like a bullet.

The grass is growing yellow, but some plants are blooming. The bride’s bouquets and the red-hot pokers. The two datura bushes are coming back in force, and both have flowers.

Red-hot poker or, as it’s dubbed in Spanish, a cigarette.

Yesterday, I briefly dreamed of a jailbreak. Near the Bodega Aurrera supermarket on the route toward downtown you’ll find a Japanese restaurant, fairly new. We did a jailbreak a couple of weeks ago and ate lunch there in the open air. Seemed okay, and we know the owners a bit. They seem smart, health-wise.

But then I thought, just hang in there for a few weeks more. Life will return to normal, and we make good lunches here at home. Before the Kung Flu descended, we ate lunch in restaurants four days a week. The memories!

A big change happened this morning. Since we ran out of biscuits that we buy in a pastry shop on the main plaza downtown — we don’t go there these days — we’ve returned to bagels and Philly cheese for first breakfast. Been months since we did that.

I anticipated this and bought the bagels and cheese last Monday during our weekly shopping visit to the state capital. I think ahead, which is not as common a personality trait as you might believe. Only the sharp possess it.

This morning I’ll hose down the yard plants, which I do now and then, just the plants, not the grass which I want to remain dormant and dry. Lunch will be spinach-cheese ravioli that I bought in Costco. Just have to boil it and apply jarred tomato sauce.

The excitement builds. I dream of sushi.

Neighborhood rhythm

ONE ASPECT of being mostly homebound is that I’m learning a bit more about my ramshackle barrio.

My child bride mentioned this morning that the birds start singing at 6 a.m. and the roosters at 7. Of course, this has nothing to do with being homebound because we’ve always been here at dawn, but I’d never noticed the fowls’ different singing schedules.

Yesterday I mentioned to her that there seem to be a plethora of garbage pickups. She replied that it’s more noticeable because we’re here all day, unlike before. We don’t put our garbage out on the street because that’s not how it works.

Garbage trucks, some municipal and some private, pass by randomly, it appears. They all clang a cow bell to announce their presence. You grab your garbage and rush outside to hand it over and leave a tip. But I rarely use that system. Too much hurry.

It does not suit a lazy man.

When trash accumulates, I toss the bags into the Honda and drive to a spot behind a municipal market on the ring road. A dumptruck waits there from 4 till 6 p.m. It’s primarily to collect trash from the municipal market, but anyone can leave garbage.

The driver/trash collector is a fine fellow, always smiling, who doesn’t seem to mind being a garbage man. It’s an honorable profession, I think. Underappreciated.

I always tip him 20 pesos, and last Christmas I gave him 100 pesos. It occurred to me later that a bigger bonus would have been better, and if I’m alive in December, I’ll give him 200 at least, just for his smile. I detoured from that routine a few days ago, and lugged trash out to a passing truck behind the Hacienda. Another 20 pesos.

This morning was interrupted by a haircut, mine, the second homemade trim in the past few weeks. We have clippers, and I sat on the upstairs terraza while my child bride refreshed my buzzcut. Meanwhile, the full beard continues to grow.

48114538163_8630d6065d_oI’ve not sported a full beard in 30 years, just a large goatee, which a late friend told me looked pansy-ass, or something like that. I don’t care. Here’s how full coverage looked 30 years ago, a passport photo.

In my mid-40s and already turning gray.

My father had the same issue, so I inherited it.

I did some nasty business this morning. While my child bride was inside knitting, not paying mind to anything else, I was out in the yard delivering discipline to the loquat tree that has the audacity to start growing again.

It was a major trash tosser before I had it drastically wacked back last year, but like the monster bougainvillea, it’s feeling its oats again. Many of those oats now rest out back in the wheelbarrow. I’m the boss around here.

The neighborhood rhythm today will include green pozole for lunch. My child bride makes superlative pozole. Were we not in quarantine, I would offer you some.

See you down the road somewhere.

Our interesting times

May you live in interesting times.

— ancient Chinese curse

CITY HALL here on the mountaintop yesterday reported the first Kung Flu case in our quaint Colonial town, news I could have lived long without, perhaps literally.

So we have pivoted, the two of us.

Till today we had reduced our gadding about, but every afternoon, simply to get out of the house, we had gone downtown with a Thermos of café, which we filled at home, to sit a spell in the open air of the coffee shop on the sidewalk abutting the plaza.

People-watching and reading.

Well, that’s off the table, so to speak. We’re staying home.

There will be exceptions. For instance, early this morning, we drove down the mountainside to the nearby capital city to shop at Costco and Chedraui. We got there just after they opened. There were few shoppers, which was the idea.

We’ll make that jaunt every Monday.

We purchased enough vittles at the two stores to last a week since we have now eliminated restaurants from our lifestyle.

Days will consist of some light exercise on our gym set at home, plus the daily walk around the neighborhood plaza. One must keep the blood circulating.

Mexico has relatively few Kung Flu sightings, 2,143 cases and 94 fatalities as I write this, but it will worsen, of course. Government action has been somewhat spotty so far, and our demagogic, airheaded president is setting a horrible example by continuing his hugs and kisses to one and all, including relatives of a famous narco capo.

The uneducated, not surprisingly, love him, especially since he gifts money, á la Bernie Sanders, but there are even a significant number of otherwise well-educated Mexicans who also embrace him, literally if possible. Astounding.

The good news is that his popularity is slipping.

I think we have an old backgammon board in a cabinet downstairs, and we need to wash windows and do other chores that we’ve been putting off. And there is also the internet, Kindles and Netflix. Life plods on.

About that Chinese quote at the top. It’s those damn Chinamen who got us into this Kung Flu mess in the first place. Ah, the irony.

We’ll be sitting out here more often. Come join us, but sit over thataway.

Moments in Mexican time

HERE WE SIT, self-quarantining on the mountaintop this morning with time to kill. We’ll be self-quarantining for a couple hours more till we get into the Honda and head to a German-style restaurant that abuts the big lake nearby. With luck, it will be open. If not, we’ll continue down the old, curvy highway till we find an eatery that is open.

You gotta eat.

Meanwhile, for your entertainment because I know you too are self-quarantined, here are a few videos that I’ve taken over the years.

Sometimes we get hot-air balloons high in the sky.

There was also that day when we were driving the twisty two-laner with a great view of the lake near Ucazanastacua. Can you say Ucazanastacua? I know you can say Bob Dylan and Mr. Tambourine Man. There was lots of wind.

Every year during Easter Week, we get these people making tamales on one of the downtown plazas. It gets really smoky, and at night it looks spooky, the fires and all. But it won’t happen this year. It’s been canceled due to the Kung Flu hysteria. Sad.

A train passes just past dawn five years ago near the Hacienda. Trains rumble by six or seven times every 24 hours, day and night. You get used to it. Some are noisier than others. It depends on the engineers and their desire to honk the horn.

If the German restaurant is open, and I’m guessing it will be, I’ll order Bratwurst and sauerkraut. After packing it all in, we’ll return to the Hacienda to start that self-quarantine thing again with Netflix’s help. At least till tomorrow when we’ll likely drive to the nearby state capital to stock up on goods. Get some toilet paper and lettuce.

The sweet thing about self-quarantining is that you can decide when and if to do it. There’s a freedom about it, which I embrace. Stay clean.