Gender Uncomformism & the Mexican With a Sombrero Sleeping Under a CactusThursday, June 08, 2017
|20th century Fuji instant film - scanned and manipulated in this century|
Being almost 75 years old puts me squarely into the last century, that 20th century when most people worked from Monday to Friday and phones were black and you had to dial them. I lived in the icebox age and home radios were important.
In that 20th century as a boy I looked at maps that had sleeping Mexicans, wearing large sombreros under a cactus, Argentine gauchos swinging boleadoras, Chinese women harvesting rice while wearing conical hats, American cowboys on horses and perhaps for Canada it was either a beaver or a red uniformed Mounty.
The world is no longer that neatly predictable and ordered. You can buy sushi in Mexico City with avocados, tomatillos and chillies. Argentines, who used to make fun of Americans for chopping their meat for hamburgers, consume them at MacDonald’s.
For me there were women or men, boys or girls. Confusion started setting in by the time I was a late teenager in Mexico City and in Austin. It has steadily become more confusing while losing all that meant stability for me. There was Kodak. There were Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Packards and Studebakers. My bicycle was a black Raleigh. I took photographs and never captured them.
And of course only those who lived across the street ever died or won the lottery. I was immune to death and had plenty of bad luck.
As soon as I wake up in the morning I go to my Samsung Galaxie and look up what is happening in the Trump world on CNN.
It has taken me a few months to make our new Cruze shut up from warning me about narrow lanes and construction zones.
My life has become much more complex (but paradoxically simpler in other ways) and like my former deceased friend Abraham Rogatnick I say to myself and to others, “I am glad I am not long for this world.”
In that former 21st century my National Geographics (a member since 1968) avoided writing about conflicts and poverty. The Kodachrome or Ektachrome photographs were dazzling but you never saw what was below the horizon. There was no garbage and no disease. Drugs did not exist and the world was firmly heterosexual.
I have been struggling now for months to read and remember all the information in my January 2017 National Geographic which is a special issue called Gender Revolution. The lovely pink haired young person on the cover is quoted as saying ‘The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend bot be a boy.’ I am still digesting this with interest and fascination.
My idea of masculinity and femininity is now obsolete old hat.
A few weeks ago I met a 6 ft person dressed as a woman at a dance performance. I was told to call her by the name of Niki (short of Nikita). When I first saw her I thought she (he) was a drag queen. Niki corrected me and said, “I am a she and I have undergone operation to confirm that.”
It is patently obvious that Mexicans no longer sleep under a cactus. My daughter Alexandra, who was born in Mexico City teaches in Lillooet. She is much too busy to sleep siesta. And I belive that my Argentine cohort, Pope Francis is far more ready to face this changing world than I am!