Tuesday, June 13, 2006


When thinking about Mexico City you can't just envision Bogota or Lima or some other dusty godforsaken place and think it's another pit of Latin America. Many people consider Mexico to not be a rich country, but realistically there is still a lot of money in Mexico, it's just not spread out very well.

One thing that is prevalent is branding. Billboards all seem to be larger and more prolific, and all of the familiar sights of commercialism are available to be seen on the roadside. People wear their logos and colors with pride, and outright materialism seems to be the new God of the New World. Most of this commercial paganism is either American or European copies of American products. America owns the world through cultural hegemony, everyone just hasn't woken up to the idea yet.

Benito Jaurez International airport is way across the city from San Angel and I spent an hour in the Volkswagen deathtrap listening to my driver sing a Madonna medley with tremendous energy and verve, but with utterly imperfect pitch. There are a few expressways that dart across the city, and although we took the most direct route as it was a flat rate we agreed on, it felt like I came off one freeway and got on another too many times to count.

While singing along to "Like a Prayer" or "La Isla Bonita", my driver gunned the car up to 45 miles an hour and straddled two lanes. He used the gaps between cars to dart in and out in front of those he wanted to pass. He was an expert at staying in third gear, maintaining speed, steering with one hand, messing with his CD player, and craning over the gap where the front passenger seat was and telling me things in some sort of Spanglish. For the record, I loved this experience, all the way up to point where he seemed to take interest in my shoes, bending over to take a closer look while still managing to change lanes.

There was no seat belt and there was a good chance I was going to die, at least that was the rush I was feeling. This human creature did the drive torture every day of his working life. Even if I didn't appreciate it, he was the living expert in driving around Mexico City and staying alive. I'd be one hundred times more likely to die in a collision had I rented my own car. Just as we get on a roller coaster and trust that the tracks and the engineer that built the thing knew how to keep us alive, we can revel in our fear of death and just enjoy it.

True to my pact with the worst Madonna impersonator on the planet, I was delivered to Estella's apartment through the smog and high altitude oxygen. The driver even got out of the cab and shook my hand. His English seemed to break down at the mid point of our journey. I figured in the end he probably had seen me on a re-run or I looked like someone famous, but he was probably enthusiastic about everything and it was just my vanity making me believe he was genuinely proud to serve me that day.

Not quite out of place in the neighborhood was Estella's apartment building. It was a glass and cement mid-rise amongst a modest display of landscaping and was complete with a set of parking bays to the side displaying an assortment of BMWs and Benz's that would not be out of place in Beverly Hills. It wasn't an isolated compound either, there was another fancy building on either side, and across the street. There was a decent looking shopping complex nearby, some sort of PF Changs ripoff with valet parking, a Starbucks or something like it on a busy corner with people sipping lattes in sunglasses, and to top it all off the streets were clean. I could have been in LA, the suspension of belief held tight despite the cleaner streets before me in the moment.

The doorman was handsome, tall, and wore a clean well fitted suit. Once he acknowledged that I was the guest that Estella expected he turned his command presence, or policeman-like demeanor into a more welcoming and smiling stance. He informed me that just as she had told me, that Miss Estella was at work and would not be home until later in the afternoon. He then handed me a white envelope containing a key and directed me to the elevator where I was to go and let myself into her apartment.

Some women make me feel I'm back in my mid-teens standing at my date's doorstep on a Friday night. Back then the hormone levels were sky rocketing and everything about girls was the freshest and the newest most exciting chemistry to experience. Estella was one of those women who just completely turn me on in my own head without really having to do anything. She wasn't even home, but while I walked down the corridor to her door I felt an erection coming on and endorphins flood into my system, I was actually excited to see her place for the first time.

My mind raced with images of the way she cocked her head to the side when acknowledging my bullshit stories. The way her lips retract from her teeth when she smiled. The way her nipples become erect with the slightest whisper of a touch, and that small of her back the way her perfect butt ends and the way she wears a thong. Then I'm hearing her laugh at me, in my own head, at how sometimes I'm just dumb and screw up the simplest things and she's laughing at me and I don't care because in those moments this amazing women's attention is wholly on me, and that's like being in the sun.

So it's probably understandable that approaching her front door alone was one of the few times, as I held the key in my hand, that my palms were sweaty and I was nervous.

As I turned the key, the door opened, and I stepped inside.


Blogger WDKY said...

Ha! That old writers trick, eh?

Nice scene-setting. What time did you say she's due home?

1:16 AM  
Blogger Charlie Brown said...

Those are past stories, right? Your stories are like train station romance novels. Personnally I'm in a more politically incorrect mood these days, even if I make an effort to keep the romance in my relation for Catwoman's sake. She really deserves it all. I trash talk often with my friends.

9:23 AM  
Blogger J said...

All of this happened in the summer of 2001 after that pilot season convinced me that I was old news...

What's this about politically incorrect moods?

10:28 AM  
Blogger Charlie Brown said...

Nothing important. I’m constantly re-evaluating my beliefs and my opinions on the world and it sometimes makes my speeches chaotic. I’ll post my ramblings soon enough. As for your stories, I’m just jealous. You rock the Cazbah.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Blondie said...

Oooo, I absolutely love this.

Increadible details, J... I'm hoping that you post the rest of the story.

"Then I'm hearing her laugh at me, in my own head, at how sometimes I'm just dumb and screw up the simplest things and she's laughing at me and I don't care because in those moments this amazing women's attention is wholly on me, and that's like being in the sun."

I love that paragraph!

2:20 PM  
Blogger robmcj said...

Good story. Your myspace description says you're "obnoxious and superficial and judging and complicated." Can I use that on my blog? It's me to a T. Is there a support group?

6:44 PM  

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