Guanajuato: There Goes My Principles

We just got back from the Mall.

It is so hot here in Guanajuato, Mexico; I was having serious doubts whether we would survive the blazing and unrelenting heat frying our very brain cells. Houses here have no air conditioning. We are at an elevation of 6700 feet (supposed to be cool) and yet even that wasn’t enough to prevent us from feeling certain death creeping at us from the inferno.

We needed relief.

We have exactly two choices when it gets so hot we begin answering our phone,

“Heatstroke Central, may I help you?”

“House of Hotter-than-hell, how can I serve you?”

“This is Doug. I’m near death, how about you?”

We can go to this department store that has air conditioning but the security people always look at the customers as if they are there to steal the merchandise when all they want to do is just hang out in the cool. I mean, how many times can one finger the underwear and towels before the security people think something’s up?

Once, I went into this store during the summer heat. I sat on the toilet in the men’s room for an hour just for a bit of relief. But, they have this in-house security staff that follows you around while they pretend to be invisible-while dressed entirely in black-and look like The Terminator. They look very threatening and I didn’t want to tempt fate. They carry sticks.

The other choice is the new, very grand, and evil instrument of the gentrification devil-the Mall. I ranted and raved about the advent of this tool of the heritage-destroying capitalistic-host of-demons a few columns ago and got quite a few nasty emails telling me I should be slapped for what I said about a mall in a colonial Mexican town. In theory, I still believe what I said then, but am feeling like a traitor to my anti-gentrification principles now.

I walked into the mall and something came over me. It was like I had suddenly and unexpectedly become possessed. I suddenly felt a twinge of excitement, I tingled, and I was positively giddy. An urgency washed over me. My wife said it was because I hadn’t moved my bowels yet that day, but I was sure that wasn’t it. My heart rate pitter-pattered faster at the sight of everything. Everything sparkled and shone as though I had never stepped foot in a modern mall before. I was absolutely out of my mind and didn’t care. It had to be the heat, but I felt like I was in mall heaven.

I walked by store after store having to resist the urge of skipping into them like a lunatic, sending the hired help shrieking, and trying everything on. I suddenly had the desire to try on men’s (and women’s) clothing; I wanted to plunge my face into the cakes in the bakery. There was a Mexican woman acting like Vanna White, complete with the same goofy but inviting smile, gesturing and pointing to the icing-laden cakes like she knew exactly what I had in mind when I spotted the cakes. I wanted to wallow on furniture, bounce on mattresses, and open every oven and refrigerator door.

I think I was near death.

And, when I saw the multiplex movie theater, I all but shouted hallelujah and sang and danced. I immediately wanted to see every movie while wallowing in those theater seats that you know must be like top-of-the-line La-Z-Boy recliners and eating theater popcorn until I hurled.

I didn’t care how it all violated my anti-gentrification ethics. I didn’t care if it contradicted what I had previously written about malls, superstores, and colonial Mexican heritage. All I wanted, all I cried for at that point was a McDonald’s hamburger. I wanted American-style food soaked in grease.

And so I had it.

I went to the McDonald’s and ordered the greasiest food they had. I luxuriated in the enjoyment of every artery-corroding bite of the fake McMeat, the grease-laden McFries, and a G…R…A…N…D…E McCoke. Everything was Mc this and Mc that. There were even McPatatas and-note this-there was a McNifica. I have no idea what that is but didn’t care because I wanted to eat one of everything!

I am ashamed.

Then we shopped in the store of Evil, MEGA-a kind of Super Wal-Mart-and enjoyed it immensely. We plan to repeat this entire experience this weekend, but this time we’ll see a movie after the McHamburger McExtravaganza.

I am evil.

I have become possessed by the Mall-Mega Store demons.

I am sure it is the heat. Surely I will come to my senses once again (maybe) once the cool weather hits.

But, until then, I am living at the Mall in Guanajuato. I am eating everything at the food court and I don’t care one bit.

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