Monday, August 1, 2011

Woman vs. Machines and Other Highlights (Mexico City, Mexico)

Highlights of the last week (July 21 or thereabouts):

The Good Stuff:
Evening talks with Ingrid, who's in the lobby when I return from dancing. She´s a great listener, is always interesting, and has a great sense of humor.

Museum of Memory and Tolerance, another new museum, in its second year. Exhibits cover the Holocaust, as well as the genocides in Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Guatemala, and elsewhere in the world. Five stories (include an attractive restaurant/cafe and gift store, from which proceeds go to pay for the entry fees of children who can't afford to attend the museum)

Strong design and use of colors in a temporary exchibition of posters around the corner from my hotel.

The owner of Cafe Rex is keeping his distance.

The Bad Stuff:
The TV in my room refuses to cooperate. I turn it on; it turns itself off. I want to watch something; it thinks the time isn't right. We are constantly arguing. My hotel room safe is so safe that I can't open it. I have to make multiple attempts before it (grudgingly) allows me access. The housing of the soap dispenser in the lobby restroom falls into my hand. I want soap; it gives me plastic. Then the paper towel dispenser's front falls off, hitting me in the head. The worst is yet to come....

The ATM teases me. I enter my PIN, indicate the account from which I want to withdraw money, tap in the amount, confirm the amount, confirm the fee I'll be charged for the process, request a receipt for the transaction, refuse to donate money to a scholarship fund for bankers' children (Sorry!!!), confirm my refusal, and confirm my confirmations. The ATM then refuses to gurgitate my money.

I am down to my last 100 pesos -- three days of eating one meal a day, nothing to pay for my hotel room, museum entrance fees, or other amusements. Concerned, I send messages to family, assuring my son that I am not attempting to "friend" him on Facebook, but that this is an emergency.

In the meantime, I contemplate how I'll spend my years in a Mexican prison cell and ponder what I can do to earn money. Start charging for the free English lessons I'm offering a friend's friend? No, too tacky. Sell my back-up roll of toilet paper and my convenient plastic case of soap leaves? They would buy me a subway ticket. How much can I get for my clothes? Not much. The (very) little black dress might bring in something -- even more, if I wear it. No. Much too tacky.

I spend the night trying to remember what the acronym ATM stands for: Another Tawdry Monkey? Autocratic Tsar Matures? Ain't Tellin' Mommy? After Tonight, Methadone? Asteroid Targets Me? After Tonsillectomy, Medication? Angling Towards Mecca? Agitated Teacher Monitored? Alternative Treatments Mentioned? Aren't Twins Magical? Aspiring Tomato Mutates? Arthritis Topples Matador? I come up with thousands of possibilities and no ZZZ's.

The Happy Ending:
Turns out I was asking for more than the ATM could give. The next day, I ask for less and the machine cooperates. Thank you, Automatic Teller Machine -- or something like that.

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