Sunday, September 04, 2016

Across The Border

My wife has spoken longingly at times for a chance to take our family south of the border, returning to some of the sights and sounds of our collective youth. When I was young, my family made two separate trips to Mexico, where we visited Mayan and Aztec ruins and traveled extensively through the coasts and into the capital and experienced the culture and flavors of our neighbors near the equator. My wife spent many of her formative years down there, as the daughter of a Peace Corps member and later as a part of a student exchange program. Later, when we met up in high school, it was her father that taught all of us in marching band how to order water without ice and other important phrases in Spanish to make our trip to Mexico City and Acapulco more safe and culturally responsible. Is it any wonder that one of our stops on our honeymoon cruise was the clear waters off the coast of Tulum?
Then there was that sad lethargy on my part. The part that says, "been there, done that" as an excuse not to stretch my limits. Why not just go back to Disneyland, after all? Even though I've been there and done that to the point that sometimes I worry about having traces of Mouse DNA spliced into my genetic makeup. And yet, I do wonder if my son would have gotten more value out of his high school Spanish classes if he had more practice than ordering his burrito at our local tacqueria. I am a bad and lazy parent for not figuring out a way to enliven his world view by taking him anyplace where the Coca Cola isn't sweetened with corn syrup.
Which is why I feel shame for not making it back to Mexico before Donald T. Rump. Now that the Sunset Don has made his appearance down there to present the Art of The Wall to officials of the Mexican government, I wonder just how welcome Americans as a group will be. If there were trust issues before, I suspect that things may not be getting better anytime soon. Murderers and rapists on both sides of the border will look at the site of the potential wall and wonder what will keep bad people out. Or in.
Suddenly I recalled a bit from Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slapstick. At one point in the story, after spending years behind closed borders, an emissary from China reappears. The diplomat is only a few inches tall and he has only shown up long enough to tell the rest of the world that his country is fine and they should all go about their business and not worry about what is happening to all those miniaturized Chinese. Eventually, they become so small that they can be inhaled which starts a plague that destroys the world. Making China the world power in ways they never fully intended. The future is a creepy place.

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