In setting out for one last great adventure you neglected to acknowledge how many adventures turn out badly. Things go wrong, terribly wrong. Climbers fall off mountains inches from the summit, frozen bodies drift around the Pole like rafts. Your adventure paled in comparison: sell everything, move to Mexico, convince your husband who seems dazed by the preparations that running an inn is no more difficult than selling shoes, and that paradise will solve your problems. In 12-step programs your plan is known as “pulling a geographic.” Burn those bridges, head south, get out of Dodge. It is not referred to as an adventure. As you wrote the script for your 60s and 70s and 80s – each decade magically converted into the new 50, 60s and 70s – you emphasized the steady income the inn would provide, the lazy days in hammocks reading Proust, flawless Spanish after a quickie emersion course, happy pets, romance.
In the end your husband caved. He hated his job, hated working in general, and had only one condition: a 54 inch flat screen TV with a satellite hookup.
“Of course,” you agreed. It was the least you could do.
You have yet to come through on that or any other promise. You are running out of money from the sale of your house and your parents’ inheritance. At your urging, your husband takes a job selling time share in Puerto Vallarta. It is not like selling shoes or running an inn. It is basically the worst job in the world. It is the Glengarry Glen Ross of Mexico.
When you were 22 you went to a shrink. Dr. Ventnor had a reputation for treating terrified women stuck in horrible marriages. Not everyone in the 60s was dropping acid and running naked through mud puddles in Woodstock. In fact, many of them, like you, were discovering that their favorite television programs were fairy tales. You could buy a pair of capris, but that did not make you Mary Tyler Moore. At the end of your first 50-minute session, Dr. Ventnor leaned across his desk which was littered with wads of wet Kleenex, and in complete awe said, “My God, Eileen, you live in a complete fantasy world.”
Sitting in your plastic Corona chair watching the flat blue line of the horizon from your veranda, you thought again as you often have over the last four decades about Dr. Ventnor’s diagnosis. Call it a dream, an adventure, a geographic – call it dumb, hasty, thoughtless – Call it anything you want, but in the end your decision to move to Mexico was born and nurtured in the fantasy world Dr. Ventnor had perceived in his little office on a suburban street on Long Island. Since then you had been in and out of various fantasy worlds, many of them unpleasant. But this one, you know as you watch the sunset fade into deep gloaming – this one might be your undoing.