Friday, July 22, 2011
The Walls Between You, Yourself and Others, Alergies, Asthma, PTSD, The New York City Social Services Intentional Failure; Conversations with a Past Life, May 29th
I took an anti-histamine at 3pm Friday. Supposedly it is effective 24 hours. And, yes, it was the first anti-histamine that worked without making me feel equally bad. So, at 3 or 4pm Saturday, I went to the wedding party and drank a beer. The beer was good. But for some reason it knocked me out and ruined my wonderful day of writing. Last night around 1am I started feeling the reaction again and realized that the anti-histamine had worked for over 32 hours... I think that's pretty cool.
I was asthmatic as a child. I attribute it to a form of PTSD reaction... The adults claimed that it passed after the age of five. However, I had difficulty with fast paced sports, such as basketball and got horribly winded in gym class at Central School. I was very athletic as a child. However, calisthenics killed me and I seemed like a lazy gym student. The jumping over the line back and forth and side to side made me horribly dizzy. I felt as if my brain was bouncing off the walls of my skull. When we arrived at squat thrusts, I was done. No one knew about this; not the gym teachers, nor the school nurse, not my mother. I wouldn't have said anything; probably because of fear of being accused of making excuses... Truthfully, I had too much experience with the teachers ignoring me or worse, I wouldn't have had the guts to tell the gym teacher that I couldn't do it, especially not infront of a large group of kids who would rapidly use it against me... These are things I'm realizing at the moment of writing you. I learned timid silence instead of self-confidence and a personal voice. I think that's why I write so much when I have a chance, because it's the moment I can hear myself clearly, strongly and confidently. It took me until the age of 30, more or less, to be able speak clearly and with some confidence. I struggled with my oral communication problems for minimally 10 years. I think that's why I learned the Mexican Spanish language so well and quickly, because I am constantly focused on how things come out of my mouth.
In Mexico I've had some horrible allergic reactions. In Branchburg, my allergic reactions were limited to pet dander (although I think I lived with a constant and subtle allergic reaction in childhood, stuffed nose, cloudy head, slight fatigue... I grew up with cats and carpets and sofas full of years of dust and dander; one of the reasons Todd called me Poor Boy was because we didn't have the money to replace those things. I wanted to tell him, "had my father not died, we wouldn't even be living here. We would be in Far Hills or Watchung. Opthalmologists earn more than Pediatrists!" I lived with that and the allergies and the insomnia and the difficult school situation causing the incapacity to focus on my studies; the incapacity to understand the value of the school work. When you don't value as a person., nothing outside yourself has value... I had begun to unravel this yesterday when Margarita mentioned the wedding. And then I realized that it was incredibly personal what I had written you and decided to edit myself. Not because I have a problem with my history. I just didn't want you to have a problem with it... It's funny. People hide their past to show a person who they aren't; it's a form of fraudulence. The problem is that, in order for to keep the past well into the past, to protect yourself and your relationships from that past, you have to put a wall up between yourself and the people important to you; a wall between yourself and yourself. You make yourself distant in a form; unauthentic, false and somewhat dishonest. It affects your style of discussing, arguing and understanding situations... But, one day the truth comes from behind and slaps you in the face... The problem is... my concern... that mentioning the past makes me in the minds of others, that disorganized-chaotic, seemingly irresponsible (responsibility is one part intention, one part routine. It's difficult to maintain routines if you suffer insomnia, poor diet and distraction due to fear), hazardous, sad, sloppy & depressive person. Just saying "depressive" causes me concern... like I had just condemned myself in the mind of the reader... I haven't felt a day of depression during my 8+ years in Mexico.
How can I return to the U.S.?
People believe that the so-called "rebellious" child decides against doing what the adults tell them... Had anyone looked into my life? my reality, my experience back then? Let's say that my mother was suffering her own personal battle after my father's death. She was very concerned, very occupied with gaining control of the sudden mess in which she found herself with the sudden death of my father, very tired... Later on she would talk to me about coping skills. As I see it, it's much easier for an adult to learn and understand coping skills than a child, because they have years of experience, of trial and error, learned selectiveness (what is important and what is less important)... I would say that it is logical to believe that, put in the same situation of the sky falling, it is much more probable that the adult will have better reaction and response time than the child. But, if the sky continues falling on the child? (In a boxing match, after almost knocking the competition to the ground, the stronger boxer doesn’t wait for the other to recuperate a little before boxing him again. He throws all his energy into his punches and all the jabs he can get in before the bell rings, while the competitor is reeling, wavering. “Punch the guy until he falls! Don’t give him a chance!”) Who is going to win this competition of the last one standing? The adult or the child? What children do is... they put things into the recesses of their mind and, due to not yet having developed a sophisticated language/information processing system, they don't talk about what's passing in their lives. Not speaking does not mean that nothing is on your mind, that nothing is irritating you. When the baby screams and you don't understand why they are screaming, you panic to figure it out... Is his diaper full? Is he teething, is he tired, is he hungry, is his skin irritated? But he's crying or screaming and you pay attention. Maybe you don't figure out what is the problem. But, does that mean that there isn't a problem? What chance is there that the volume is too high on the stereo or television mixed with the loud conversation of your visitors and a little bit of heat and humidity, and a little bit of not sleeping well in the mid morning...? Now, let's have a sophisticated conversation with that baby to figure out the subtlety and the complexity of his issues... Make those issues constant and ignore the possibility that something is happening that can be changed and controlled. Say between your adult peers, "children aren't affected by the loss of the parent. Who was affected was the widow..." Ugh! I'm doing it again... and I was only writing about asthma.
In New York City there was a program offering free analyses of Asthma. I had just suffered greatly living in an apartment with 2 cats and 2 dogs. So, I went for my free analysis. The "expert" said, "you don't have asthma. The ball passed the point of diagnoses... and, no, there is no diagnosis called seasonal asthma. You have allergies." The idea is that seasonal Asthma is an allergy to pollens and mold spores... So, it's not asthma.
In Aguascalientes we rented an unfurnished apartment full of dust from the streets outside... We couldn't shut the windows because of the intense heat, so the apartment filled up with dust again... I started developing a cough there... we all had irritation in the eyes... Who knows what else was in the air? We left the intense heat and the incredibly dry air for the less intense heat of Veracruz with its high levels of humidity and it's lush vegetation... To combat the heat and humidity here, I put a fan in our dusty room and was hit by a horrendous bout of hives. The coughing (toz) continued. Margarita didn't have this reaction. In the first minute of my investigation on internet, I stumbled across a word I heard Margarita's sister-in-law Regina mention the other day, referring to a problem her baby son Julian and the 2-year-old son of Margarita's brother Benny (Benigno) were having. "Ácaros". "Ácaros de Polvo." Dust mites... Dust mites are found in normal house dust and in mattresses and sofas... They are in the arachnid Family of Spiders and Ticks and consume the bacteria attached to the dust. The problem about dust mites, just like the problem of cucarachas, is their excrement... In New York City, the biggest cause of Childhood Asthma is Cucarachas... Dust mites are too small to be collected in a vacuum cleaner. If you sweep and vacuum, you send the dust into the air, which goes into the person's lungs, causing the reaction. However, dust mites don't equate to a reaction. In non-asthmatic people, there is a 10% incidence caused by dust particles... In asthmatic people that incidence rises to 90%... Supposedly the bronchial tubes of asthmatics is hyper sensitive, causing inflammations and cutial (skin—cutis is in English too or is Spanish?) reactions that doesn't occur in non-asthmatics... After reading that study, published by the New York City mayor's department, I removed the fan and bought the anti-histamine. So, tell me expert in Asthma: is it true that I don't have asthma? Did I mention that Margarita didn't have the alergic reaction?
What I didn't achieve at Somerville High School and probably not so easily at Hampshire College, seems to come easily today; retention of information and the capacity to articulate eloquently "off the cuff" that information, yet integrated in a natural "conversation"... I'm still trying to convince you and myself that I am not that low-value “un-intelligent” child I was years ago. I don't need anyone to tell me, "Ross, but you are a ... person..." It's not so much about you and what others say, so much as it is a personal and constant internal "cleansing" process...
I worked for the Salvation Army Social Service in their Children's Services department on West 14th Street Manhattan. I monitored the home, school and health (mental and physical) situations of the fostercare children. Most of the foster parents live in the projects. It can be argued that "some" of those foster parents have made foster parenting a "career"... They get paid for it… Who are these children and why are they in foster homes? Did their parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles all die in a plane crash? No. For different reasons the "state" removed them from their parents... In turn, the children were "placed in custody"... I took a foster baby to visit her mother at Riker's Island. Nice experience... I had visits from violent crack addict fathers and their brothers. One of the mothers was "retarded"... so they didn't give her custody of her baby. During one visit, one of the Latin-American uncles asked me if I had children. I replied "No". Kind of surprised, kind of condescending, the uncle asked me "why not?..." I explained that I didn't have an economic situation for supporting a child... He rapidly contested, "What do you need an economic situation for raising a child? The state pays for that...!" I didn't want to hear that. Not many years earlier I argued until I was blue in the face against the neo-conservative and now neo-liberal movement to dismantle the social services system created by the Johnson Administration in the 60s. The center of their argument was that poverty is a family value issue and that receivers of Welfare are leaches on the tax-payers' bank accounts... I considered that classist and racist political rhetoric... When the uncle of my baby client said this to me, I shut my mouth and walked out of the room... What could I say?
Is this an isolated incident? Am I writing a "memoirs of being a New York City fostercare worker"? No.
New York City children’s services is sub-contracted to private and philanthropic organizations. In our organization there was one case of a black man with 50 children sprayed around the city... Was he receiving money from the state? I doubt it. Are his offspring the children of one woman..., the love of his life? What is the problem here? Do "white" people do this? Of course. Did I work with those "white" people? no.
The problem here is the punishing of the children for the "sins" of their parents. Some of their parents were murderers, thieves, wife beaters, drug addicts, alcoholics, negligent, child abusers, sex offenders. The circumstance is that of the child being put "into custody"... and the adult "experts" within the system, the MSWs, the school psychologists, the expert political advisors, the social service psychiatrists, the lawyers, the alternative and not so alternative education specialists don't understand just how similar to that of the parents encarcelated is that of the child when the social service agents remove them from their homes, take them away and place them into the homes of strangers in strange communities and strange schools... No one talks about PTSD in these children. No one creates special environments for them with people sensitive to their realities. When these children act up, the psychiatrists prescribe Ridilin... The school system insists upon the medication.
I was prescribed Ridilin in 1986 at Somerville High School. For 2 weeks I was a new person. I could be a wonderful student and dream of my academic future. Then the drug ceased working. I crashed. And I dropped out of high school, disillusioned or more disanimated than before.
The New York City public school system wanted these children medicated first and then questioned afterwards... No, they weren't questioned. They were written off... “Children of bad eggs are bad eggs.” How many years ago did Charles Dickens write, "Oliver Twist"? 173. By virtue of being written by the talented British author Dickens, Oliver Twist is a Classic. It is not a story shunned by the ultra-conservatives... It is not a model for a social welfare system that does not work. It was a siren call 173 years ago. But, who learns?
When something goes wrong in a foster home, the first person blamed is the social worker. It doesn't matter that intentional downsizing of the social care system of New York City and avarice by the heads of the "philanthropic" organizations led to unmanageable casework-loads and frozen pay scales... The social welfare system is treated as a bandaid when the voters react to a primetime news report of unimaginable child abuse perpetrated by a parent against his or her (mainly her) baby or young child, when the child dies from third-degree burns, from asphyxiation, from a blunt object repeatedly inserted, repeatedly …. The voters ask, "what are our taxes paying for?" They scream, "this can't happen to a child in an American home!" But, the moment that someone says, "to improve the system, we must raise taxes," the voters say, "do what you must, but don't raise the taxes..."
The system requires that the caseworker appear in family court to present the documentation. However, the judges and the lawyers treat the caseworker almost as criminals, as interlopers and people who can say nothing worthy. They are horribly condescending and patronizing towards the caseworker who must not speak unless directed to speak. Why is this, if we are the ones closest to the children; the eyes and the heart of the situation? The answer is... they don't want us to tell the truth and for the truth to be heard. It's a bandaid to shut up the voters. It is not a solution. There are no solutions... Just as there wasn't a solution for my childhood situation... No one was interested.
What does this have to do with asthma and allergies? What does poor sleep have to do with stress and with low performance scores and with illnesses?
Mexico has the highest level of Diabetes in the world. Mexico is also the #1 consumer of Coca Cola products in the world. Diabetes is caused by the malfunction of the Pancreas which causes the inability to metabolize sugar. Tell Mexicans that Diabetes is hereditary and no one decides to regulate the consumption of sugar. Here at Margarita's family's ranch, they don't call the illness Diabetes, they call it "Azucar" (sugar). Why? Because it is easier to remember and to say Azucar. But, by replacing the clinical name with "sugar" you remove the seriousness of the diagnosis. Sugar is sweet. Diabetis is chronic if not mortal. 6 years ago my mother-in-law became ill with Sugar (Aye Ya Yaye! I don’t accept that form of speaking). I don't see a lot of cakes and candies in her kitchen. I don't see Coca Cola and Pepsi products here, only during fiestas. But yesterday, 6 years after her diagnosis, I noticed her put a heaping spoonful of sugar in her glass of very light coffee they drink all day and night long... 2 years ago my brother-in-law Rafael told me that he went to a psychic who told him that he had 30 good years of life before he got sick and died... Later on Rafa would tell me how he ate so many of my giant cookies and gourmet cupcakes every day when he worked with us in Xalapa. During this second stint with us and the coffee bar, I notice that his vice is sweets and carbs... I talk to him about what causes diabetes and the different forms of suffering the illness. There are examples all around us, people without legs, people who suddenly became blind... parents of friends and how these friends suffered their parent's suffering... I point out how frequently he craved pastries and sweets and his lack of control during the day and explain the similarities between addiction to sugar and carbs and that of alcoholism... One shuts down the pancreas, the other shuts down the liver. However, over-intake of sugar affects the nervous system and the brain's capacity to retain information and to focus... Sugar bombards the nerves and breaks down the myalin sheeths protecting the nerves, leading to syndromes like Carpel Tunel... numbness in the fingers and hands, pain in the shoulders or the elbows and forarms...When you lack concentration and memory retreaval, you have a tendency towards saying foolish things or saying things that have nothing to do with the conversation and you can't go backwards to understand what just went wrong... why you don't advance socially...
What does this have to do with Foster Care and Asthma...? my allergic reaction?
I didn't "study" this. The problem with the American academic system and the post-graduate studies is that it doesn't truly believe in inter-disciplinary studies... When you arrive at your doctoral program (or before) you are asked to focus and hyper focus. You must become the expert of "nothing" a small speck of dust no one else thought of analizing. You are disuaded from expanding outwards and making connections... To become a tenured professor, you must publish and publish and publish... You must be original and prolific and respected by your small group of peers. No one writes what you write. You must be on top of them, so you don't risk losing your position. Like my philosophy professor once told me, "Philosophy is not about changing the world nor about helping people. It's not about people. It's about inventing questions and responses to those questions, with the utmost lucidity within the language of Philosophy..." So, the great minds are not developed for the human race, the society, but for the realm of philosophy... The Ivory Tower is not created to resolve human social or health problems... It is created to maintain itself within a certain status quo. The problem is that you can't become an "expert" in the New York City social services system without having the appropriate degrees. And you can't get those degrees without playing that game. And, when if you were actually able to "make it", what system and situation would you encounter when you "make it"? In the end, you must pay back your student loans, pay your rent and pay for the dreams you are constructing with your spouse and for your children. You learn quickly to swallow your ideas and your sensability and your concerns and you become miserable. But, at the very least you are being responsible. I don't consider this responsibility; knowing there is a grave problem and not saying anything about that problem that affects so many more people than you, your wife and your 2.3 children...
Growing up in Branchburg, I was always one of the last people chosen by the teams for playing softball or hockey or volleyball. Sometimes the class "geeks" or "brains" were chosen before I was chosen... I was very athletic and competitive. I loved sports, just like those chosen first... In the Iowa tests I always scored "3 years ahead"... But, for some reason I wasn't chosen to be with the "geeks" or the “brains” nor was anyone concerned about the difference between my scores and my academic performance... I was called "lazy", "lacking motivation", "distracted"... Well, what child wouldn't be distracted if his peers were always ganging up on him and his mother said that he must be inciting the children and that the teachers couldn't be anti-Semitic... explaining why they don't do anything in the face of the situation...? It's not enough to lose your father and grow up without strong and readily accessible male role models ... Years later my mother asked me, "what do you think is the possibility that you were born with this problem that draws negative attention your way?" When the foster child has social and academic problems, those problems are treated as genetic/physical problems, not environmental and circumstancial problems...
I was excluded in childhood and did not have my father to show me the way. I didn't have a semi-closed Jewish community to protect me against anti-Semitic attacks... I wasn't allowed to confidently learn and play the game... This isn't so much a complaint as it is an explanation... kicking the 3-legged dog. It doesn't only affect me, but it affects millions of children that become adults affected by their childhood situations...
Social Darwinism condemns me because it condemned my father and my mother... But, in many forms I was condemned much less than are the people who grow up where Margarita and my brother-in-laws grew up... They are in an inescapable situation. That's why many (for some reason not my brother-in-laws, nor Margarita) Mexicans dream of entering the U.S.
I often tell my brother-in-laws that their culture breeds them believing that they were born perfect; that they don't have to improve themselves, nor receive criticism. It's a form of pride called orgullo that is negative and ignorant. But, it protects them from losing a battle they can't even begin. So, they don't expect anything from themselves, nor from their lives and society. It is too much to focus on this reality. So they ignore it and replace it with egoistic pride... that makes them above criticism and appear to believe they were born perfect... They aren't above the law, because there is no law. There are just a few basic responsibilities, such as being a worker... In the concept of being a worker, there aren't levels. You do what your father does, what your brothers, Uncles and neighbors do. You don't ask for more, nor expect more. And if you try to break the mold, they accuse you of being "ambitious" of thinking you are better than your people... So, like my brother-in-law Nicolas, of 70+ children in his extended family, he was the only child who went to the State University of Veracruz, and then intentionally failed... and now he doesn't expect anything from himself and he looks permanently adolescent... I can give you the two sides and the edges of the same coin. I can incriminate and simultaneously exonerate them... I can appear racist and then appear to write an apology... We can do the same with the people of Scots-Irish descent who lynched thousands of blacks, African-Americans, Negros, Niggers and People of African Descent... (I’m just using the American language referring to the same person). Who organized parties around the charcoaled body lying on the ground or hanging by their neck from the great Oak or Sycamore tree in someone's back yard picnic with the grandchildren to the grandparents gathered around the body smiling for the photograph... I saw those photographs in the Library at Mount Holyoke College, a college for wealthy girls who will not change the American social system.... Was I looking for those photos? No. But I stumbled across the books during my own research struggle.. Is there a difference in seeing these photos or photos of the Holocaust or photos published in the daily news in all the cities of Mexico or what happened in Rwanda or in Boznia-Herzogovina? or or or or...
What do I want?
I want people to think and remember all the precepts taught them in the churches and synogogues and public elemetary schools, teaching us to be moral and humane and conscientious and introspective and considerate and thoughtful and respectful and honest and just people. Americans seek the truth; the fight for the defense of the truth... Isn't that the case?
Mexico lacks those concepts. For the past four years I've been teaching my brother-in-laws these concepts... within conversations, using common examples and through the hundreds of books I've bought in Spanish and shared with them... 3 years ago I had a fight with the second to the oldest of my 8 brother-in-laws, José Francisco. He is the light skinned taller guy who travels with us and has caused me a whole ton of unnecessary problems. He said, "you with all your ideologies telling us to consider the rights and necessities of our clients you call one of our responsibilities... I was taught one responsibility and that is to be a good worker..." 3 years later, during the latest conflagration between José and I, Margarita said sadly, "José you are a great worker.... a really great great great worker... But, what else are you? You have me very concerned." This was one of the first times in 8 years being married to Margarita that my brother-in-laws took my side..."
Asthma can be a nervous reaction. During times of extreme exhaustion and concern, I begin having bouts of coughing at the moment of receiving someone at our stand. Once the problem begins, it continues until we leave the situation weeks later. It affects my conversations with friends... I believe the onset is caused by a series of stupid comments or tones or facial expressions in response to my accent... For the most part, I don't receive customers. That was the purpose of my drawing from July through December. It was a way of distancing myself from people I don't need to talk to. But I also distanced myself from friends who visited us. Remember the E.F. Hutton commercials?... In Mexico, "When Ross Speaks, Everyone Listens!" I'd rather not be heard by people I don't know who truthfully have no interest in knowing me. I use to be up for the battle and always "won", although I'm the one who loses all the time; although I'm the one who always wins... because my head is in the challenge. They just return to their everyday lives the second they leave my personal space... But, they do these things because they are trapped in a losing situation and seek momentary outlets for their frustrations... With my accent, I represent that rare opportunity. It's possible I was that opportunity in elementary school, in family gatherings with one of my cousins who used his superiority against me to make him feel better about himself within his own homelife mess caused by his parents... He would say that he grew out of it. He learned to step on others to create the illusion of superiority. Those illusions help build confidence and the ability to master situations. But, I don't believe on stepping on others to climb the ladder of my ego... I guess I'm not a good "American"... Now I'm becoming sarcastic and cynical thinking about this cousin... Don't fall for that comment... I remove him from my friend's list and he repeatedly asks me to include him. But he doesn't write me, he doesn't respond to my messages half of the time. He thinks he is being a good Christian. But I think he's full of shit... Denile is a learned relationship with one's self... You may ask, "Ross, but why do you continue accepting his 'friendship'?" Because I have hope and faith that people can change and evolve healthfully and productively... intellectually and emotionally... At Margarita's parents' house there is Scooby, the semi-old German Shephard and there is Negrito a puppy that will always be a small dog... Negrito enthusiasticall prances around Scooby, jumping up towards Scooby's head, licking Scooby's face, mouth and tongue. Scooby just turns his head as if saying, "your respect is worthless for me..." I keep telling myself that Humans are above the political-psychology of dogs... But I keep seeing examples of dog-like humans...
The brain is divided into two systems of learning; one is the Rational, the other is the emotional. It's more probable that a child will learn if he or she enjoys the process... (emotional). If he or she does not have the physical structure (the rational) for learning, the child will not learn, no matter the emotional situation existent. However, I truly believe that most human beings given adequately the basic nutrients necessary for growing their bodies, in a healthy homelife situation, with the ability to sleep well every night, are born with "competitive" minds and brains... That doesn't mean that everyone is equal. I am more intelligent and less intelligent than many people. But, I believe that most people should be able to compete to be able to grow into healthy adults to have the opportunity for raising their children by OUR standards... Because we are the ones judging, criticizing, qualifying and excluding the others...
I expect my brother-in-laws to learn what I know and offer... Not because I want a better run business. (I'm not a business man. I'm not materialistic. I did this out of necessity, to be with Margarita. I had to be creative and innovative...) But because I want them to have "the American Dream" in Mexico. I don't accept mediocrity. I want them to pull themselves out of the whole (I keep this spelling, it has a function) designed for them well before they were born... And you may ask, "what if they don't want that dream?" But, Mexicans constantly complain, accusing and condemning others for their suffering (Pinches Gringos, not their government, nor Carlos Slim)... You can't change the history or the politics. But if you have the opportunity to learn something new that could help you pull yourself out of the hole by changing/growing yourself, why not? Remordimientos (regrets) always are most potent and "effective" when it's too late... Why wait until it's too late? Why wait until after your pancreas stops functioning to stop abusing your sugar intake? We could have nipped things in the butt before it was too late... We could have been more sensitive to the situation of the foster children (and those who weren't absorbed by that system) and problems of drugs and alcoholism in these communities. Instead, we decided to invest in prison systems for when these children become adolescents and adults... Why? Because the construction companies are privately contracted and generate employment for the Unions who have strong lobbying power in Congress... Those against big government don't believe that the government should generate employment. Plus, after the 60s and the tail end of Martin Luther King Jr's civil rights movements, one form of social welfare was the expansion of government jobs; a model created by the Roosevelt Administration... during the Great Depression. The churches couldn't cover all the welfare needs, as had been their role for centuries...
It's understandable. I don't lend money to my in-laws. I buy their coffee. (Not so true. I just financed the renovation of their bathrooms and the placement of cement floors infront and behind the house). I talk about them being frank about the need to raise their prices to cover their costs; to assess well the true cost of producing the coffee they sell us. I exchange loans for future coffee. Margarita believes that her 72-year-old father should appreciate working and selling his own product for his ranch and family needs and that we shouldn’t just give them money... I didn't agree with her at first. But I believe her now... The Mexican government manipulates this class of Mexicans with pathetic hand-outs and the people become complacent with something that truly doesn't help them. This year I must forgive certain "loans" in exchange for coffee because we have lost certain fairs do to the insecurity and Mexico is suffering a drought for 2 years now, which has almost killed the coffee production.
Do I like this position? It is the only position. Would I wish for us to all be in it together growing at the same relative rate with the same enthusiasm and similar financial gains? Of course... How about my "American Dream in Mexico"? I think we are coming to a callejon sin salida or a "deep dark dead end alley..."
Off the cuff. Totally off the cuff...