I have always thought of myself as a normal type of person, not particularly good at much, but not a bad fellow, just middle of the road.
The trouble is when you start to write this and that, you become a bit of a target in this very small town.
To go back a ways, when my wife Michelle headed to Calgary for the birth of our grandchild her short visit turned into seven weeks, meaning I was dragooned into covering for her at the SPCA booth in the market every Saturday morning.
I cleaned my uniform (a T-shirt) and bravely set out for the center of the city — with some trepidation, I might add — to help erect the little tent that houses the SPCA volunteers who raise funds for the dogs and cats at the “no-kill” sanctuary.
Everyone was kind as I tripped my way through the initial few weeks, often getting my facts wrong, such as the number of dogs available for adoption and how many of them people could take on a plane.
By the fourth weekend I was enjoying myself enormously, with the good feeling of being part of a wonderful team doing something worthwhile.
However, nothing is perfect and one day a small woman appeared at our booth looking for me.
“I am looking for the guy who writes Under the Palapa, and I think he works here,” she said.
She looked harmless enough so I inflated my pigeon chest and stepped forward:
“May I help you, madam?”
She turned what had been a pleasant face into a snarl and said: “Are you nuts?”
I quickly checked for an exit, but there was the usual crowd in the booth, and they were all ears now, to say the least.
I fell back upon the tried and true. “Ha!” I said as if I thought she was joking, which was obviously not the case.
“You write rubbish and I disagree with everything in your column,” she continued. I bolted for an early lunch. She pointed at me and shouted, “Hey, I am not finished,” as I turned the corner in search of a friendly face and a coffee.
Thankfully, the Page in the Sun bookstore yawned before me. I shot in, burying my red face in An Introduction to Overlooked Humour in Feminist Studies while clutching an Americano coffee.
I am not sure why the woman decided to pick on me, but being a writer in Puerto Vallarta appears to be a dangerous business, at least for some.
This was not the first time I have been told that I stink. Marcia, a fellow journalist, seems to walk through the market like a queen with all sorts of people hugging and complimenting her on her lovely writing, while others avoid my eyes and scuttle by in embarrassed silence. Oh, well.
Someone I really look up to, or perhaps I am simply stunned by, is a guy (let us call him Jim) who not only has a wife but also a Mexican wife and a mistress. But here is the high inside fastball: they can all be seen happily sitting on the beach. Together!
Now I do not know about your wife, but I can assure you my current one would take a very dim view of such an arrangement.
When I queried him on his genius he modestly said everyone appeared content with the situation and it had been going on for some time. I immediately bought him a drink. Holy cow, I thought, what a man.
He claims it takes his full attention and I don’t doubt it, not when I heard just how many children were involved. Kids in elementary, middle school, high school and university make for exciting times, he says, as he is paying for everything and they are not all his in the first place. He generously looks after everything and everybody.
I suggested to my wife and some of her friends that “Jim” deserves a gong such as the Order of Canada or something like it. But they took a stern view and suggested that he be horse-whipped, which I found unworthy.
Please note I will only be doing intermittent columns during the summer. I must heal.
Christopher Dalton has produced multitudes of commercials as well as 14 movies in Canada and the U.S. He was expelled from every institute of higher learning, forcing him hide out in advertising and movies until popping up in Puerto Vallarta with his long-suffering wife Michelle. Visit his web site www.majorscorner.com.
© Christopher Dalton 2016