Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why I Let My 15-Year Old Out Until 3 A.M.

So Saturday night I woke up at 3 am and realized my girls, aged 15 and 17, were not home.

Carlos - "Are they supposed to be?"

"Carla, yes. Sean is spending the night at Michelle's."

"Think she's at Michelle's yet?"

"Quien sabe."

First, I said a Hail Mary and then a prayer to the angels, to my dude, Michael especially. "Archangel, protector, please make sure my girls and their friends are safe."

Behind my closed eyes, I saw two large white wings folding around the girl group. The picture of the girls was peaceful, tranquil. I knew they were fine.

I got out of bed and made a phone call to Sean, age 15. They were just leaving the Mint, a downtown dance club. Yes, a bar. They were all going, Carla included, to Michelle's to spend the night.

"Stay in a group!" I said.
"Yes," Sean said. "Mom, (exasperated) we're fine!"

I know. If you are a parent in the United State of American reading this you are horrified, scandalized and doubt my parenting skills. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

In San Miguel de Allende, teens go to bars. There is probably some law on the books saying they can't, but that law is waived every weekend if the teen at the door is good-looking and well-dressed enough. My kids, ages 15 and 17 love to go to upscale clubs with major sound systems.  It's about being with their friends and dancing, they insist. Plus, I know they don't drink, and the kids in their crowd who drink do so with restraint. In other words, getting falling down drunk is exceedingly uncool.  "Mom," says Sean. "You can always tell the Americans in the bars. First, the girls wear clothes that show their bras!  Second, by 11 o'clock. they can't even stand up!" She curled her lip in disdain.

In 2012, we gave permission. You might have to be on overtime with us for awhile, I advised my angels. That would cut down on the sneaking out and allow us to set curfews. Which has worked pretty well, except for one staying-out-all-night incident, so far.

The girls came in on Sunday morning around 10 a.m., glowing. They'd had a good night. Now, with permission, they don't hide. They tell us things! Alan! Max! Abbie! Their friends doing the craziest things! Dancing and taking photos! An image came into my head. It was very clear. It was me, standing in front of a host of angels. (no, wait, that sounds biblical). A crowd of foot-tapping angels. They were looking up, as if waiting for Jimi Hendrix to appear on stage. But I appeared in front of them instead. I bowed, arms out. Thank you, homies. Thank you, gracias, thank you.

Friday, June 1, 2012

No Money No Worries

Friday May 18th, we came home to a dark house. The CFE bill was due on the 17th. Almost 900 pesos. Almost 900 pesos that we didn't have because it's May and because weird things are happening in the universe. I don't know if it's a pre-election void or depression but there's no movement in anyone's business - waiters and hotel clerks sit around forlornly - and everyone, all citizens and regular clients, that is - except for the lonely circling cab drivers are gone.

So, a Friday night with no electricity. Carlos and I sat on our porch. He went into meditation and I thought, great. No light, no company. Then he opened his eyes. "Mi maestro told me to take the clamp off the meter," he said. So he did.

We had luz.

The next night, the gas ran out. Still no clients, no work for us - San Miguel remained in a strange vacuum. So we couldn't order up another tank of gas, but no fear...we had electricity! We cooked in the electric frying pan! We heated water for bathing in the coffee maker!  Life was ...tolerable. We got by.

Then the cable company was about to cut off our cable television AND internet. Now things were grave.

By the end of the day, two clients had used Jasmine Spa services. We had cash. We bought tortillas and beer and paid....what do you think?

Television and internet of course!! Forget the homework...imagine telling the kids they couldn't chat with their friends at night. Now you know we have our priorities in order.