I played these two shows in Hudson and New York City, they made me feel so good. I felt lifted up and excited and ready for…Mexico.

I’ve wanted to visit Mexico forever – long been a fan of the handcrafts, the culture, the food, and pretty much any person from that country I’ve had the good fortune to work with. I finally got a gig there, a week in Zihuatanejo at the Zihua Guitar Fest. It suddenly occurred to me about three weeks ago, good lord, I’m going to Mexico! This snowy winter, I’d looked longingly at music folks I know having a blast at 30A Songwriters Fest in Florida, or the Outlaw Country Cruise or Cayamo and thought “aren’t I vacation-paradise worthy?” Then I remembered I was going to Mexico.

One of my brothers, who’s traveled to Cancun and even golfed at Hilton Head gave me pause: “Look, don’t be surprised if people start drinking on the 8 AM flight.” And “Do you know any Jimmy Buffett tunes…just in case?” I told him I didn’t think it was that kind of festival, but just in case, yes I have long played Margaritaville, in private at least. Buffett is cool, yes I said it. I guess you could say I’m even a closet Kenny Chesney fan. This attitude will serve me well, right, on the beach in Mexico?

Finally got my Gibson back from the repair guy. It had been almost four months. Such a long time, I’d forgotten what it felt like to love an acoustic guitar. I’d tried really hard with the sub I bought and had come to grips with it, but wow it was like a slow motion scene from a movie, when I lifted the renewed guitar out of its case and the two of us were reunited. Oh good, I thought – I’m going to play you – in Mexico.

Then I started worrying about flying with the guitar, and all the variables of international travel. I weighed whether to risk it or not…right now I’m leaning to taking the Gibson, in an indestructible case, just in case, I mean – how often do I get to play in…Mexico?

I had a super-stressful experience at the dentist the other day. First, they were playing Joe Cocker in the waiting room. Now I love Joe – but that is some emotional music and not what you need to de-stress before heading in to see the dentist. Things have gone awry at our dental practice and dentists have been coming and going at an alarming rate. My dear Dr. Smith is gone with no explanation. I’d been scheduled and rescheduled and this time, was greeted by an unfamilar dentist whose name I didn’t catch. An older Papa Hemingway type. “It says here you need fillings?”

I practically flew out of the chair. I’ve had one cavity in my life, the year I lived in England and ate Cadbury Fruit & Nut to add something healthy to my diet. “No, no fillings!” I shouted.”I just need…filling.” We went back and forth in a silly Who’s on First routine: “You don’t need fillings”, “I just need filling” (which sounded…weird. It’s a periodontal thing). I found myself saying “I don’t feel comfortable about this!” when he came at me, just to look, he promised. He told me I looked perfect, I ran out of the office and thought “I’m going to find Dr. Smith, she’s down in Westchester I just know it – I’ll find her, as soon as I get back from (you guessed it) Mexico.

Then there was a Saturday night bar shift I agreed to cover for somebody, and the big blowhard who was sitting in the center of the bar loudly ranking a list of female singer songwriters his lady friend was pulling up on her phone: “Joan Jett?” “Uh – no?” “Edie Brickell?” “Yeah, like twenty years ago maybe.” (Indecipherable) “No, face is below average. But-“ brightening – “she does have world class tits.” It turns out, according to Mr. Charisma, it’s important to respect the talent of these women FIRST AND FOREMOST, but at the same time, it is also necessary to want to DEVOUR THEM.  This a day after the New York Times story about Ryan Adams. Is it acceptable, in this type of circumstance, for a bartender to dump a pitcher of beer over the head of a customer? I slammed pint glasses into soapy water…and thought of Mexico.

More snow came on Monday and I shoveled and cursed the frozen picnic table out back, the dusty Weber grill in the breezeway. When I get to Me- oh wait, I started worrying. How am I getting to Mexico? I pulled up the info for a flight that leaves at some crazy early hour in the morning and returns in the middle of the night a week later. Wait, why did I want to go to Mexico?

Back at the bookstore/bar yesterday, I lost the key to the cash register drawer. Just – it disappeared.  “Sorry, sir, we can’t take your money, because…the drawer’s locked.” As I searched and searched for the key, a lady kept waving a children’s book at me, telling me she was a local author and had autographed it and shouldn’t it be displayed somewhere people could see it because “it’s autographed!” I tried to smile and be encouraging while I crawled on the floor with a flashlight, and when she asked me to please order her new book for the store and then barked at me that surely the public demanded that we order AT LEAST TWO, I gritted my teeth and…that’s right (insert sound of lapping waves, Spanish guitars here).

At home, Eric was nice and made me a cup of tea and I felt sad that he wasn’t going with me to Mexico.

In a few short weeks I’ll be back and there’ll be other things to endure and things to look forward to. I’ll find Dr. Smith, I’ll get a new used car, my book will be revised and edited, I’ll have more gigs. But life will have a certain flair to it, a vibe I never had access to before. I’ll be who I was but…I’ll have been to…and played music in…Mexico.

Dates and tickets available here

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9 thoughts on “Oh…Mexico

  1. Carl Cucuzza

    Hi Amy. Some advice after years of travel to Mexico. Brush your teeth with the bottled water in your hotel room. Only drink bottled water, nothing from the tap. Don’t eat saviche or anything raw (including salad). Ice in a drink can be a hazard unless the drink is alcohol.

    Some may find this excessive, but one “bad experience” made me extremely cautious. Have fun!

    1. amyrigby

      Thanks Carl, I appreciate that! My brother Pat had similar advice. After living for years with an Englishman, ice is something I rarely think about now, so that’s easy!

  2. Ellen S.

    I’m so excited to see you soon! Mexico can be addictive in a very good way. The people, the light, the warmth, la música, the pace of life all draw me back again and again.

  3. Mark

    Wait, there’s a bar where world class singer-songwriters pour the drinks?? What do they serve, nectar on tap and ambrosia in the snack bowls?

    Hope Mexico is just the tonic needed, and the tour goes smoothly. (And that Montezuma keeps a respectful distance!)

      1. Mark Willis

        Haha! Seriously want to second the caution from someone above – avoid fresh salads and greens. Washed in local water that your system won’t be accustomed to.

        Okay lecture over – have a great time!

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