I probably shouldn’t have washed the dress in the first place. It was just – so blue.
I bought it because it was blue. I bought it because in the Zihuatanejo market, in the stall of Analillia, it made me look alive instead of the way I resembled an old winter coat every time I looked at myself in the mirror.
It’s one of those cotton Mexican dresses with the bright flowers embroidered down the front. It felt a little too much of a transition from my NY winter black wardrobe, but I wanted to buy something from this sweet person, I liked her taste, in amongst all the stalls in the market, and I’ve always wanted one of those dresses.
When I got it back to my simple little hotel room, with an ancient TV and a lawn chair for furniture, a room that I would resent horribly in the US but that feels quite homey and correct here in Mexico, I turned on the shower. I have yet to feel the“hot water” this place advertises, but it hasn’t mattered – any shower I’ve taken has been to cool off and rinse away sweat from walking around in the brilliant sun and eighty five degrees.
I love Zihuatanejo! I love Mexico. I’d never been here until three days ago and didn’t know what to expect. I was worried I’d built it up in my mind too much – this place I would get to when I reached a certain point in my life, a place I’d enjoy and call my own in a different way than those other places I love like New York and Los Angeles and London and Chicago and and – they’re all big cities. I don’t have any experience with different kinds of travel. It’s always seemed too daunting to me, I like my comfort. I’m not a snob but I’m not that tough either. I can’t camp. Not yet anyways. I hate to think we’re set in one way and can’t break out and have new experiences. But I like to fix my hair and put on makeup, I like hot showers, I like all cotton sheets.
I can’t really fix my hair in Zihuatanejo. There’s no hair dryer and even if there was, it would be curling and frizzing the minute I stepped outside. I don’t know who I am without fixing my hair but I’m aiming for Thelma or Louise. They’re my go to’s for that moment where you say fuck it and tie a wet rag around your neck.
Anyways, back to the dress. I thought it made sense to rinse it in the shower, to soften up the cotton a little and..just in case the blue dye ran. I didn’t want to walk out in the heat and end up covered in blue dye.
Thank god this bathroom tile is sort of putty colored. There’s been a lot of blue dye. If this were a black and white movie, it’d be a scene from a low-budget remake of Psycho here. Lots of dye running down the drain. Lots of dye.
A wet cotton dress weighs a lot as I stand there twisting and wringing to squeeze out the water and dye and get it on a hanger. Yes, maybe this was a mistake to wash the dress, but imagine if I’d gone out walking in it?
I washed it again today and hung it on a hanger to dry, near the window in the shower. The maid knocked on the door. No, es limpia, gracias, I kept her from coming in and accepted a clean towel. I couldn’t let her see the dress, thinking she’d either laugh or tell me how to wash it but I wouldn’t understand. She would be so lovely and kind, like everyone I’ve met here has been. But I have to take these things slowly.
It’s been really good arm exercise. And there was a little less dye today. Tomorrow I’ll wait until after the maid comes to wash the dress again. Now I’m going to the beach to try and get a little color on my skin. When I come back, I’ll put the dress away until tomorrow’s washing ritual.
Did I mention I came here to play music? I’ve done two gigs and written a song already. Had a wonderful Mexican guitarist Javier Rojas play on a song with me last night at a luxury resort in Ixtapa – we sat side by side on white chairs and it was surreal. I liked the sound of our guitars bouncing back to us across the grass and fancy cabanas. Javier plays with his foot on a stool in the classic style, in an immaculate white cotton shirt. The night before that I played in front of a thousand or so people with all the musicians from the festival doing short sets.
But that’s the world I know and roll with, the world of music.
It’s the cultural code I have to crack. That’s where I’m a neophyte. How to shop in the market. How to order a taco. When and how to wash a dress.