I write from Blanco Y Cafe in San Pedro. Coffee shop cum art gallery cum artists studio cum internet cafe. It’s a shame the United States won the revolution or we’d still use the word cum. And what a beautiful word it is. I wonder who’s jack-assed idea it was to get rid of it. Musta been Jefferson … damn yank. You travel anywhere else in the former United Kingdom and you’ll see cum all over the place. Book store cum map shop. Bakery cum deli. This cum that.
Point being, this place has become my main haunt. And recently – gracias a dios – I’ve been seeing fewer and fewer gossip slinging fresas and more laptop slinging hipster kids in PanAms.
This is a pleasant change not only because fresas give me anxiety, but also, now when I open up my iTunes, there’s almost always three or four other computers on the network. Which sometimes adds up to nearly 200 gigabytes of music to explore. And no one puts passwords on their music collections. I ♥ my generation.
Unfortunately, we mostly have the same taste in music, which is more ego-inflation and back patting than auditory discovery, but if you’re looking for some new tunes, I direct you to The Chingonest who has put together an amazing compilation of tracks with some pretty clever descriptions. Waylon Jennings is the gringo Vincente Fernandez – kills me.
Speaking of music. Each of my classes – no matter their level – are given a CD with 18 songs in English. The idea is that when class starts to get a tad monotonous or the students are losing concentration, you pull it out and interpret the lyrics. By now I’ve had to help “interpret” the lyrics of at least half the songs about six times. The contents of the CD you ask …
- Beatles – Yesterday
- Rod Stewart – For the First Time
- Backstreet Boys – Quit Playing Games With My Heart
- Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
- Beatles – Let It Be
- Air Supply – Lost in Love
- Air Supply – The One That You Love
- Air Supply – Even The Nights Are Better
- Air Supply – Chances
- Air Supply – Every Woman In The World
- Air Supply – Making Love Out of Nothing At All
- Air Supply – All Out of Love
- Air Supply – Here I Am
- Robbie Williams – Feel
- U2 – Electrical Storm
- Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles
- Avril Lavigne – Complicated
- Jennifer Lopez – Jenny From the Block
You can understand the pain I’ve endured. Of course when I was first shown the CD I couldn’t stop laughing … then I saw they were serious about it and I soiled my favorite boxers. I asked if the company I work for had some sort of licensing agreement with Air Supply. No they said, Australian soft rock just happens to be real big around here. And they’re right! My students nearly start touching themselves when they learn they’ll finally find out what the hell these Aussies are crooning about.
But here’s what’s incredible. I always leave it up to my students which song(s) they’d like to listen to first. The same two songs are always chosen. 100% of the time. For The First Time by Rod Stewart and then Complicated by Avril Lavigne – who I was told yesterday afternoon, by a middle aged industrial engineer, is probably the most talented songwriter today. It’s all too much for me too handle. But my students appear to be more than content with the lines:
Uh huh, life’s like this Uh huh, uh huh, that’s the way it is
And if my students are content, I’m content.
My apologies, but a brief respite from our normal programming to bring you part of a gem of a conversation taking place at the table next to mine. I know, not polite to eaves-drop, whatever. Only a few of you will appreciate this, but there’s a certain stereotypical fat, balding, gold chain and sunglass wearing, hair sticking out of his buttoned down shirt, type of guy here in Mexico who’s got the foulest mouth you could ever imagine. And one of them happens to be sitting right next to me. You never see this sort of thing in the US, not even in New York. Maybe I’ll try to translate. Here’s what he’s saying at this very moment, verbatim:
Que chigados, vas a verle cabrón? No mames, no mames guey. Toda mi puta vida he conocida perras como esa puta pendeja Carlos. No se vale cabrón, no se vale. Por favor cabrón, te esta echando mentiras de mierda. Una perra Carlitos. Y tu eres un pendejo. A la verga cabrón.
What in the fuck, you’re gonna see her you dumb shit? No shit, no fucking shit man. All of my god damned life I’ve known bitches like this dumbshit slut Charly. It’s not worth it you dumb fuck. Come on you shit head, she’s throwing bullshit lies at you. A bitch Charly. And you’re a dumbshit. Don’t do it you dumn fuck.
Not quite the conversation you hear at most coffee shop/art galleries outside Mexico. As an aside, telling someone off in Spanish – especially the Mexican variant – is much more fun and rewarding than English.
I think I’ve finally found the solution to my problem of productivity and procrastination. Now I’ll never ever have to do anything meaningful again. I recently opened up an account on 43 things which supposedly helps me accomplish my goals and realize my dreams with the support of a wide network of fellow go-getters. I don’t quite have it figured out, but I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to make a list of 43 things and then do them.
No wait. That’s not it. I’m supposed to make a list of 43 things I want to do and then I’m supposed to talk about those things. And I’m supposed to talk about the things of others. And I’m supposed to compare my things with their things. And essentially, through all of this, I’m supposed to prove to myself that I’m a better person than everyone else.
But the real point being, now that I can spend so much time talking about what I want to do, there’s one more excuse to not doing them. So each day now I plan on spending about two hours telling the three people who have so far looked at my profile what I would be doing with my life if I were not talking about what I would like to be doing with my life. Then I will read the unrealistic day dreams of others and feel comforted by our shared self-deception.
Then I will come here and repeat myself, because face it, you guys just can be counted on when it comes to clicking links. And besides, some idiot put 24 hours into one day. Still feeling the need to convince myself of some sort of accomplishment, I will add another book to my All Consuming list. (of course, one of the most popular books on all consuming is Getting Things Done)
The reading alone is sure to keep me impoverished. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll spend my evenings reading Lifehacker and 43 Folders to stay up to date on the very latest in productivity technology just in case some decade I’d actually like to produce something
And of course I’ll be bringing my laptop into the bathroom with me. No reason to lose five minutes which could be simultaneously spent blogging our updating my gravatar. If any of you need help on becoming more effecient while doing nothing, just let me know.