My Feeble Cathedral by Matthew Dexter
…Let us go,” we said, “into the Sea of Cortez, realizing that we become forever a part of it. –John Steinbeck
Cabo is a cathedral for feeble minds. Urinating belligerent on bulbous bubblegum sidewalks, arrested by Policía, spewing slurred obscenities in English, monoglots sobbing handcuffed—Trump’s wet dream. A thousand nominal pesos and freed a few cuadras down the calle. Fisting eyeballs, Gringas wipe tears with white knuckles, giggling, sculpting another brick in the wall, scooping hair using fingerprinted collaged phones for selfies with Policía.
The first Señorita I made love to drove too fast. Met her my first week in Baja on a Saturday evening in a bar across from the malecón in La Paz. Sarahi was three years younger and from Ciudad Constitución. She asked if I wanted to watch her masturbate. Two months later we moved to Cabo. Four months after that Sarahi crashed her car into the back of a Coca-Cola delivery truck at six o’clock in the morning in front of Home Depot high on crystal methamphetamine.
“This place will eat you alive,” said the middle-aged man at Baja Cantina Dockside.
There is something exceptional that separates normal people from common maniacal foreigners in Baja California. This is especially true at the southernmost tip of the peninsula, in Cabo San Lucas, where the majority of these extraordinary expatriates congregate—usually choosing to live in communities amongst themselves—amid synthetic Mexican culture. They exude a strange new aroma of oceanic vapors, choosing to stay longer than any sane vacationer ever should.
Existing within improvised Gringo colonies like deranged Bohemian butterflies bathing in warm puddles of Jamaican rum, with a tequila chaser, these perverse lunatics live morally impoverished lifestyles—breeding a different, significantly sinister type of character. Provisional dwellings are embraced by the most wealthy and lazy among them. Depravity is openly accepted by these affluent lunatics—even more so by their poorer counterparts: who outnumber the rich ten to one.
With broken English and barely spoken Spanish, the sole collective impressionable effect of their inebriated temperaments can be observed by the noticeable layer of fresh sweat and white foam that submerges and collects on their lower lips during sunset. This cathartic happy hour countenance lasts eighteen hours.
These ignorant Gringos are legally documented residents and insignificant illegal immigrants alike. We are inextricably linked together like Mexicans north of the border. We are all susceptible to the impressions presented by the tasteless actions of the few. Vapid laconic blackouts painted us all an ugly shade of Caucasian, hideous atavistic Americans and Canadians spewing their disgusting portraits of paradise.
In Cabo we are all walking that fine line between Heaven and Hell. The only difference is some of us are running faster than others—many hovering upside down on our heads holding onto that mile high tightrope in the sky with both hands clenching the noose—afraid that if we try to surf against the winds of time we might not make it. So we choose to roll on, never loosening our grip, hoping that we can only one day summon the courage of conviction to exercise whatever strength and athleticism still remains after decades of abuse to our mutilated bodies to summersault profusely backwards and land in reverse on the tips of our toes.
Are you even capable of experiencing a simple day without drinking, you depraved and degenerate dipsomaniacs?
Leaving Plaza Mariachis and the delicious smell of fish tacos mixed with humongous burritos simmering from the grill of Taco Loco, I walk into the night. I swagger seven yards before the familiar gentlemen’s club pushers begin to offer the lusty lascivious intoxication of the naked ladies inside.
“You want to look at the ladies?” asks the pusher.
“Claro que no, compa.”
I’ve heard that a thousand times in Cabo—probably a dozen by the same cabrón. Never understood why anybody would pay to look at naked ladies—but maybe I’m crazy and capable of things beyond just paying exorbitant amounts of money to sit with a bunch of imbecilic tourists in a smutty sex club. The men continue with the fallacious accusations and exaggerations of beauty within.
“But everybody wants to look at naked ladies…qué onda, güey? You want to come and look at the beautiful young girls, right?”
“Gracias, no soy tourista, pero gracias—no voy pagar un centavo ver chicas desnudas, nada, nunca…the naked ladies pay to see me.”
¨You want some blow?¨ they ask. ¨Fly to the moon?¨
“Hey buddy, you want to look at the beautiful women?” they ask.
“Estoy bien compa. No tengo tiempo ahorita, y puedo ver chicas desnud--”
A street sign stabs me in the head—above my right eye. I swaggered into the edge and cut an inch of flesh from my forehead. I wipe blood on my white t-shirt—dabbing the cut since the blood’s not gushing—though the wound is deep, and probably could use a few stitches.
Even as I mutilate my face trying to avoid the molestos in la calle, I can’t escape their incessant gibberish. At least they finally stop talking about naked ladies. Maybe my blood would stain the beautiful bodies?
“You’re cut,” one of them says.
“You’re bleeding,” says another.
He sounds sincere, even though he got his pound of flesh out of me. I flayed my face on the street sign.
“Estoy bien, es nada,” I say calmly.
More than a decade has passed since this event. If I could go back and change anything—take back the vertical scar or metamorphosing into a monster, an atavistic Australopithecus for a few months after swooshing so much peroxide on the cut I bleached one eyebrow orange—I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Next time I intend to hit the street sign so damn hard it nearly decapitates me—because this is cartel country—and there’s so much more to Los Cabos than hearing about naked ladies.
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