Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mexico unplugged

Clay says not to worry about me because I seem to be spending most of my time in Internet cafes. I wanted to tell him this was an unfair allegation. I have a laptop computer, so I’m actually spending most of my time at sidewalk cafes.

I went to a great one yesterday, Caffe Toscano, on the southern edge of Parque Mexico. From a small table on the sidewalk, I looked out onto the tall trees, bushes and leisurely traffic of students, musicians and dog-walkers. To my right, a group of young men played dominoes. To my left, people sat reading the paper. And it helped that the orange juice was so fresh there was actually a seed in my glass.

It felt about as close to a perfect moment as I’ve had since I arrived here two weeks ago. (This is Spalding Gray’s influence on me: While I don’t dedicate my life to the pursuit of perfect moments, as he did, I try to recognize them and hold onto them when they come.)

After sitting a couple of hours at the cafĂ© (between interviews), reading Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love, I took a walk through the park. I still have not gotten over the sheer abundance of dogs here; there were dozens of them in the park, on- and off-leash, running, playing, splashing and lying in the shade.

Later, after my afternoon interview, it poured rain as I walked back to my hotel. I felt violated somehow. This does not happen in Mexico! Certainly not on my day of perfect moments! I was soaked to the skin, and my backpack, containing my laptop, was drenched.

The contents inside seemed dry enough, but now whenever I try to connect to the Internet, using Wifi, my computer crashes. There is no Apple store here, so I called the Apple support line, where I found Rob. He told me I had not purchased Apple’s extended warranty, so it would cost me $49 to get phone help. While I pondered this, I described the problem to him and he said the shut-down screen I was getting was a “kernel panic,” for which there could be many reasons. Meanwhile, the idea of my computer panicking is deeply unsettling to me. For this relationship to work, one of us must remain calm.

Anyway, it seemed unlikely Rob would be able to help me. His best, free advice was to take the laptop to the Apple store in Baltimore when I return. Some kind of total overhaul, involving re-install discs I don’t have with me, is probably in order.

Sigh. This all means Clay may turn out to be right after all. It also means e-mail and blogging will be much more difficult and expensive. But just think of the fun we’ve had.


Airhen said...

If I were out of the country (or anywhere, for that matter), I, too would be spending all of my time in cafes. Internet or otherwise, so really just anywhere that serves coffee.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm pleased beyond words to be mentioned in the blog. At least I think I'm the referenced "Clay," though I don't specifically remember saying you would spend all your time in internet cafes. Though I kind of think that is true. I'm also pleased to know I was right. And once again not surprised.
Please come back alive.