There are less efficient ways to get to Mexico: crawling, for instance. Or you could try to train a fleet of pigeons to carry you there. But on the whole, I think I’ve chosen one of the worst. I got to Beloit, Wisconsin, on Saturday night, fully expecting to leave for Naranjos on Sunday morning. A delay occurred: Ruben’s friend Alejandro wasn’t ready to go, and the weather was too cold, and nobody knew exactly which vehicles we would be taking, and all things considered, it would be better to leave sometime Monday. More delays occurred, and the weather wouldn’t cooperate, though we did have that one day of fantastic, above-freezing weather, and more’s the pity that Alejandro still needed to buy a new truck to take all his stuff in. Yesterday we made the final preparations to leave: Alejandro and I unloaded his stuff from the big blue van into the U-Haul truck he’d just bought, and Ruben got the insurance nearly figured out and had his brother Arturo make some chicken salad for the road. This morning he came back to the house where he’s been having me sleep and told me that the weather was no good and they were going to put me on the bus. So he called up the bus companies and none of them have any buses leaving today or tomorrow, because they think the weather is bad in Texas.
Come on!! I just want to go to Mexico. It’s getting awfully hard for me to think of this time as an adventure. The closest I can come is to say that this is a learning experience: I’m discovering how much time can get frittered away, burned into ashes to float away to the jetstream, by minds that aren’t organized and make everything more complicated than it needs to be. When we loaded the van into the truck, I discovered Alejandro is a very methodical man. He would take each item – these were a highly miscellaneous assortment of junk, like wheelchairs, heat sterilizers, shoes, and Guitar Hero controllers – and consider it carefully for at least a full minute before placing it carefully somewhere in the Tetris game he had built in the U-Haul. In this way he made an hour-and-a-half job take at least five hours. We had no time left to do anything else that day. Ruben is no better: as far as I can tell, he spends his entire day driving from one side of town to another, helping family members out with rides, solving insignificant problems, and if he has time, working on the logistics of this Mexico trip. His family says he’s been planning this trip since November.
Meanwhile, I’ve been cruising along for the ride with him in his quad-cab pickup, eating at his sister Oralia’s house, sleeping on his other sister Lupe’s couch. His family is spread all across Beloit like raspberry preserves. I’ve gotten to know several of them, of various different generations, and even went sledding with a few little kids. They don’t seem to mind me taking up space in Lupe’s living room; it’s mostly empty anyhow, since Lupe herself is currently in Mexico. So I while away my days here, reading my books, waiting for Ruben to get back and tell me about the latest delay, and I slowly go insane. If I had hitchhiked myself from Cincinnati on the 16th like I was planning, I’d have been in Mexico City days ago. I have a CouchSurfing host waiting for me, who’s moving out of his apartment at the end of the month, and I have to get there soon. My time is draining away. I hate this place. I’m imprisoned, and everyone says it’s the weather and there’s nothing we can do about it. This is what I get for trying to take shortcuts, I guess. No, that makes it sound like I deserved this. This isn’t divine retribution, it’s just a roll of the dice that turned up snake-eyes. One day, when I am old and gray, I will escape Beloit and get to Mexico, and when I do, I’ll make sure to send you a message through whatever fantastic means of communications has then been invented, the holographic projector or the remote telepathy phone. For now I just have to sit and sulk.