Posts Tagged Bisbee

Eating (with) Crowe

It was definitely an interesting week here on Isla.  Of course, I suspect this is the kind of place where every week has some sort of strange goings-on.  Not to hack an over-used, crystal-rubber term… but a convergence zone where the odd and sublime are every day occurences.

In our case, the oddity took the form of a power outage.

Diane and I were sitting in the apartment, doing some of the things that make it possible to hang out in this lovely tropical paradise (aka work), when the lights – and even worse, the air conditioner – blinked out.

I like to think of Mexico as this quaint 3rd world country where things like consistent electrical power can’t be taken for granted.  We laughed and waited, thinking that at some point, the guy who tripped over the proverbial power cord would realize his mistake and plug the damn thing back in.  No joy.  The heat built literally and emotionally as we sat watching our computers suck down the last bits of electrons that kept us tied to the ‘real world’.  One-by-one, our electrical connections to the outside world failed.

It was a sobering thought to think of how connected we are these days – even on Isla.  At first, I was a little upset that I had woven my life into so many electrical-dependent addictions.  Then it dawned on me that it was entirely BECAUSE of these little electrical connections that we were allowed to detach and come down here for extended periods of time.  I stopped grumbling – at least about that.

We decided to walk next door to the ‘Tienda’ to see how long these outages usually took.  Don Schepe (aka, the man of the Tienda) looked puzzled when he saw us marveling over the fact that his drink coolers were on.  As it became apparent to us that our little 3rd world power outage was limited to our house, he came next door to help us track down the source of the outage.  He showed us where the power came in, the breakers on the outside and asked me if I had flipped the ones on the inside.  As he and I were trying to determine the root cause of the problem, the lady from down the street walked by, made the slicing-at-the-neck-you’re-dead motion and said something to the Don.

There are times when reality comes back at you and you realize that your prejudices and pre-conceived ideas are just wrong. This was one of those moments.  Turns out, our property manager had not paid the power bill.

Believe it or not, the tropics got a little hotter at that very moment.

As I walked back into our steamy apartment, I watched my laptop’s power supply dwindle to nothing.  My cell phone also chose that very moment to make it death noise and blink my life out of the 21st century.

The property manager went down to the CFE – the national power company – and paid the bill.  They promised him that the power would be returned within 2 hours.  They must have written it on a slip of paper and forgotten to write the 4 after the 2.

After a steamy, fanless, air condition-less, laptop-less evening, we chose to decamp to the Hotel Belmar in centro.  I am sure that the CFE wondered why they suffered a huge draw at the moment we checked in.  We plugged our world, our lives, back in.  Slowly we came back into the 21st century.  Slowly the air conditioning took a little edge of the tropical heat – inside and out.

Wait for it.. Wait for it..

This is when the magic happens.  Had it not been for our property manager forgetting to pay the power bill…  Had it not been for our breakfast with a nice woman from Canada we met the morning before… Had we not HAD to have connectivity for a conference call I had to take… Had we not… fill in the blanks with all of the coincidences that had to have happened to get us walking down Hidalgo Street at that very moment….We would not have been walking toward a man who looked like… John Crowe.  I turned to Diane and said the words, “Funny, that guy looks just.. like… John…” which was precisely the moment when John Crowe smiled and said hello.

Being from a little town in the middle of the high desert of Arizona, along the tumuluous border, out on the edge of reality, you learn to expect that Bisbee will find you.. no matter where you are.  Right there on Hidalgo Street, I realized that I could never escape Bisbee.  Bisbee will find you.

We sat and had lunch with our friend from Arizona.  The amazing nature of our coincidental meeting still boucing around in my head.  Half-way to the equator, on a little island in the tropics, we met a guy who lives down the street from us back home.

I love this world.  Truth is way stranger than ficton.


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All The World’s A Stage…

Bored in Bisbee

The little corner of the world that is Bisbee can be a great place, if you are invested in being here.  Having spent the last 5+ years in constant motion, Diane and I are just restless to get out.  The “sameness” has begun to creep into our lives in its insidious ways.  Saturday night brings the two of us together, looking at each other over the dinner table.. wondering what to do next.  Changing the scenery is a must.  The investment in settling down is just too great.  We are mortgaging our lives to the road.

This strategy leaves us with a couple of nagging problems, the ones that stare you in the face and won’t let you forget:  The Garden. It sits out the kitchen window, unkept and overgrown with the weeds of monsoon.  Every time you get a cup of coffee, the garden reminds you that you either have to be here – or not.  To the rest of the world, it looks like a 20 x 40 foot square of concrete bounded by a crumbling fence and knee-deep in weeds.  To us, it is potential.  Wasted potential that could focus our time and energy, producing bushels of tomatoes, green beans and squash… filling our lives on multiple fronts.

Get Out or Get In

Struggling to find something interesting to talk about over dinner, Diane and I realized that we just didn’t have anything.  The creeping “sameness” had festered.

In the past, when our lives were a little more sedentary, we would be tending the garden, working in the shop, cooking dinner and just generally “being here”.  Now, after these years on the road, we just can’t do it.  It isn’t that tending the garden is bad.. it just let’s you know that this is “it”. This is your life.  Here.  In Bisbee.  Nothing More.

That was acceptable then.  The phase of our lives where I had a sit-down job at Ft. Huachuca, Diane made soap… all was well.  We had it straight.  We had goats.  We had investment.  Local investment.

Global Investment

I got a job as a 100% travel consultant and all of that changed.  No longer was our investment local, it was global.  We spent years on the road in places as diverse as Oklahoma City and Dijon, France.  Nothing stayed still.  Nothing was the “same”.  Our investment was in each other and our lifestyle.  We explored and wandered.  It was a whole world open for experiences and we drank in as many as possible.  I didn’t take a day of “vacation” in 5 years because our life was a de facto vacation every day.

Rather than the garden, we had random farmer’s markets and local grocery stores.  The view out the window always changed.  Nothing reminded you of home and the investment you left to fall into disrepair.

New Phase

My job has changed.  No longer am I traveling to distant places and spending weeks working a client.  Today, my travel schedule is generally fixed only days before I am expected at a customer site.  I only fly in and out for a day… and it is generally the same place.. over and over.

This leaves Diane in Bisbee.  Bored in Bisbee.  I cut out for a day or so, but it isn’t enough to satisfy my wanderlust.  We have to go.  We have to get in or get out.  We choose to get out.

September should hold a trip to Portland to get our Jeep.  The drive back down California, through the sage… reawakening the dreams.  October and November, we have a house on Isla Mujeres rented.  The Road.  The Beach.  Our life.  Our investment that pays dividends of a wonderful marriage, fantastic memories and experiences far from the norm.

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