She’s the most risk-averse person I know. She’s someone who grew up in the Great Depression, remembers World War II, and lost a child, my twin brother, three days after we were born. She’s been through a lot, so I can’t blame her. When I travel for pleasure, even to safe places, she gets palpitations. A visit to Philly, my college stomping grounds, sets her on edge because she happens to watch Philadelphia TV news, which stresses blood-and-guts. With a mother like that, brutal honesty isn’t always the best policy, and you learn to tell white lies.
Now, how do I tell her that we’re planning to move to a place she’ll perceive as Drugcartelandia? She won’t know the distinctions between Yucatán and the rest of the country. I didn’t know the geography there either, before that episode of “House Hunters International” piqued my interest. So why should I expect her to possess a nuanced view of Mexico? (No, she didn’t watch the “Royal Tour.” I casually suggested it, but noooooo.)
Right now, when I travel to Mexico, I tell her I’m going to Texas for job training. Our company has offices in Houston, so it’s plausible. I bring back souvenirs I picked up at the airport. The first time we went there, I told her it was Belize.
What I’d really like to do is take them with us, but I couldn’t tear them from their church, their friends, and a region they’ve lived in all their lives.
For now, I’ll keep it my dirty little huge secret, but if she lives out her 80s healthy and alert, I won’t be able to spare her the worry.
So how would I break it to her? One idea: Stress the word “Yucatán,” and avoid at all costs “Mexico.” If the M word comes up, I’ll say that Yucatán is under the Mexican government, but is far away from the “mainland,” which isn’t the right word, but one I might employ in this case to make my point.
I also can point out, with a map, how far away Mexico City is from Mérida, about as far Detroit is from us right now. Would you tell someone not to move to Connecticut because of Detroit’s murder rate? But somehow, I suspect that statistics and facts won’t sway. They rarely do.
Maybe I could tell her I’m building a home in Texas. Thankfully, she doesn’t get the TV news from Houston.
Anyone out there have experiences trying to explain this thing to loving relatives with a vague sense of geography.