My Mexican Moments: Chapter 22

Hola Señor Fox

Late June begins with a deja vu moment. I get a call on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. that our Hospice brochure will be on press and to “come.” As in right now. During our 20 years, Soren and I have been to maybe 400 press runs together or separately, and it was always, always last minute. Nothing to do with Mazatlan time, or Toronto time, that’s just the way press runs are. The press guys tinker, they do the make ready and everyone expects you to be there in an hour. I’ve worked on huge ad campaigns for Microsoft, Chrysler, FedEx, TD, ING and Bank of Montreal – printing millions of pieces, and there’s still no respect for your time. Now is now.

In Centro, we have time to walk to the small printing shop, but the humidity is high, so we hail a pulmonia. Way easier than driving on a congested highway that could take two hours to a printing plant in the ‘burbs. While we wait for the make ready, the printing press to register the four colours, Soren went shopping at the market. Suddenly I was in the front office of a firm filled with nothing but women. I’ve been asking this question for one year now; does anyone know a female gynecologist? Mama, the owner of the family business came up with a male doctor, “But he has the hands of a woman.” Gracias, but no gracias. Then a silent estimator slipped me a name. I found La Doctora in the yellow pages. Yes, the yellow pages here are very important, it’s prestigious, in fact — a business must have a colour ad. We don’t wait long and the press sheet is ready. We scan it for all the usual things, sign off and walk home. Our entire landscape has changed because we had Pepe install a mini split air conditioner in our/his living room. Cash in advance, of course. Now we know we can cool off. We are not returning to four plastic fans twirling hot air about.

In May, I had another mini meltdown. Not due to the heat, but due to fact I had been thinking about organizing, packing, storing, unpacking, moving into our condo and then unpacking our storage unit, with all our paintings from Toronto that are somewhere in Mexico City. One night I whined to Soren, “I can’t do it. Let’s drop the whole San Miguel trip, put in a mini split and stay here. Look at all the stuff we’ve accumulated in a year, (like six chairs). We have to pack all this up, store it, come home in October, move the stuff to the condo, order a mattress, and who’s going to supervise our furniture building while we are in San Miguel?”

Soren calmly said, “I get it, we aren’t going.” I cancelled our apartment in San Miguel – that cost the full non refundable deposit, of $800 (US). Returning home from the press run to a cool apartment is pure bliss. I had promised Cheryl delivery of the Hospice brochures “sometime next week.” I’m in Mexico; I have no idea of what could happen. What I hadn’t imagined, because I’ve never experienced it, is that it took six days for the press sheets to dry before they could be folded. Lucky this wasn’t an urgent job.

I had begun my Vicente Fox campaign in late March. I was determined to meet this man at Centro Fox, which is an hour away from San Miguel de Allende. I started with his publisher and got an immediate response with Fox’s personal assistant. I outlined my request; it was to be a good news story about retiring in Mexico. My request was a little far fetched, but the last paragraph in Fox’s book, Revolution of Hope invites you to come to Centro Fox and work miracles together. I know he wasn’t inviting me personally, but I felt he might be open to an interview from a Canadian journalist retired in Mexico. The next person I heard from was Cristina Gomez, publicity director for Centro Fox. She asked me to submit my questions, the publications it would run in and my background. The questions I already had mapped out. The media the interview would run in — well, I had nothing lined up, as I didn’t have an interview. I can’t sell a “what if” interview in Canada or in the U.S. I explained how I was confident it would sell, but I could guarantee an online exposure on, which has 8 million hits a year. April zips by, no response for Centro Fox. I send a gentle “Hola, que pasa?” e mail. Crisy, as she now is calling herself, sends me an apologetic e mail; she’s sure I will be granted an interview, just be patient. And I wait for another month. As our mini split is being installed I send an e mail to my new best friend, Crisy, “Please, take me off your to-do list; we are not going to San Miguel, after all.”

I receive a response the next day, saying President Fox has agreed to an interview. “Oh.”

Soren and I discuss it — if Señor Fox is willing to give me an hour, we are willing to take a 12- hour bus ride. I enthusiastically reply to the last e mail, “Please give me a date, and tell me how much time will President Fox allow me and I’ll be there.” Four days later, with no reason provided, my interview was cancelled. “Oh.” I was expecting a no first, but to get a yes, then a no, is not sitting well. I’m not shedding any tears; it’s a disappointment, though. To be fair, Crisy offered me another option. To gather a group of Canadians and Americans together and come to Centro Fox for a five- minute photo op. No thanks. That was not the interview I had playing in my mind.

Perhaps I was reaching too high to obtain an interview with the ex President of Mexico. But the “come now” call for the press run was typical not only for a press okay but for the entire last minute Mazatlan culture. Monthly publications like M! and Pacific Pearl didn’t begin to capture all the pop up events and concerts that happened. I certainly can’t change Mazatlan, but perhaps I could adapt to their natural spontaneity. Hmmmm, print versus online. An online calendar devoted to arts, music and lifestyle buzzed in the back of my brain. I know it’s the way to go but I have too much on the go right now, and Soren would have to be my go-to web person. Right idea, wrong time.

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