Friday, April 23, 2010

Infidelity is not a tornado

I fear this post is the unfortunate consequence of me reading one People Magazine article too many. But I am so fed up with how infidelity is referred to.

The most common declaration made after the spouse is caught is "I made a mistake". Infidelity isn't like tripping. It's extremely deliberate. It's not a result of "poor judgment" - a good example of poor judgment would be driving too fast. Being unfaithful involves a thousand small decisions: twelve subtle looks + a tentative, grazing touch + active pursuit + a rendezvous you connive to keep a secret + taking off all your clothes. If someone's penis ends up in someone's vagina it can't be talked about like you forgot to mention to your barista that you like sugar in your coffee.

Next is "I swear it didn't mean anything". Well, if it meant enough for you to put what you had at risk, that doesn't speak very highly of the value you placed on your relationship, does it?

Then there is the contrite spouse in question, red faced, wet eyed, saying "I hope my family finds it in their heart to forgive me". You didn't find it in your heart to honor your vows, so why are you putting all the weight of responsibility of what happens next in those you just hurt, who at the moment can't even see straight?

And let's not forget "I can't believe one single mistake puts our whole relationship at risk". That is a risk you take when you cheat, not a decision the spouse makes when she/he is too twisted up inside to know what the heck to do next.

I'm also so very tired of celebrities responding by "getting treatment". I respect addictions and their healing process. But I can't help but feel the person is actively relinquishing accountability. To put it in other words: if you're man enough to not be able to keep your dick in your pants, be a man and stand up for what you did. Proud of your prowess, deception proficiency and extra-marital dexterity? Then don't act like you are the perplexed, helpless victim of "a disease".

Despite what this sounds like, I want to point out how through this post I am refraining from judging the act itself. I am not saying infidelity is (or isn't) a terrible thing or that whoever commits it will inevitably arrive at a day of reckoning. What people do (or forgive) is their business.

What I'm tired of is how cheaters handle themselves after the fact, how they look upon the mess they've made as if it was a tornado (a huge, inescapable, swirling, destructive force coming out of nowhere from far, far away) that caused it.

What I'm tired of is the lack of variety, the offensive absence of creativity, the same worn out scenario playing out an infinite number of times. How sad it is to see love, that most sacred of things, reduce itself to a cliché, wasted over and over and over again.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010


As a Mexican living in the US I am forever complaining about mediocre (or in-authentic) Mexican food outside of Mexico, so I try to give credit to places that remind me of the food I ate growing up.

A few nights ago, desperately hungry and crunched for time, my husband and I noticed what seemed like a fast food restaurant serving tacos that looked really great. We looked at each other, stepped inside and ordered: he grilled chicken, me vegetarian tacos (with black beans, corn salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and a fresh, crunchy pile of lettuce).

They were delicious.

Impressed with what their food, their (kind, friendly, helpful) service and how fast we went from walking into their restaurant to having the food in our eager little hands, I did a bit of research about them.

I'm probably one of the last people to discover that Chipotle is really "doing things better". In their words "better tasting, coming from better sources, better for the environment, better for the animals, and better for the farmers who raise the animals and grow the produce.

The hallmarks of Food With Integrity include things like unprocessed, seasonal, family-farmed, sustainable, nutritious, naturally raised, added hormone free, organic, and artisanal.

And, since embracing this philosophy, it's had tremendous impact on how we run our restaurants and our business. It's led us to serve more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant in the country, to push for more sustainable practices in produce farming, and to work with dairy suppliers to eliminate the use of added hormones from their operations."

After reading about their practices, eating their food, and having discovered that we walk right in front one of their locations on our way home, I can say I will be eating at Chipotle a lot more often.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter will always belong to you

My family isn’t very big on special occasions. I know my mom could take or leave the entire month of December. She’s told me she doesn’t mind at all celebrating the Holidays in October or February when travel isn’t such a hassle.

We tell each other that our idea of an awesome New Year’s celebration is to crawl into bed and ask someone to wake us up when it’s over. We chuckle, but we know we’re not kidding.

I bet you that if you asked my father to list his offspring and their corresponding birthdays he wouldn’t be able to answer (he might get lucky and remember all our names, but definitely not the dates we came into the world.)

This is why I’m so grateful to the people in our lives who don't listen when we assure them important dates don't matter.

My husband looks the other way when I don’t remember our anniversary and has gotten into the habit of booking a special trip on that date, where we take stock of our lives from somewhere far away enough to provide perspective.

Easter will forever belong to Tomas, my mother’s husband. We used to wake up every Easter Sunday (we’re not Catholic) and run out to the garden to find dozens of eggs. They weren’t chocolate (my brother was severely allergic to it). They were plastic, and I would unwrap and open them to find treasures inside: multicolored candy, sure, but other things too. Jewelry and miniature furniture, secret notes and toys.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized he had to go look for things small enough to fit into the eggs, individually wrap them, get up early to hide them, and then put them away for the following year.

I am grateful to Tomas for putting up with our un-sentimental, overly pragmatic ways and for making my life a pastel colored place. You know, the kind where you expect to find nestled in the grass a baby blue egg with a unicorn inside.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Better safe than polite

In his book The Gift of Fear, Gavin De Becker says that humans have been given marvelous, complex, highly evolved instincts designed to keep us out of harm's way. The problem is that we override internal alarms in the name of being "polite" or "reasonable".

He illustrates his point with the following example: Say that you are waiting for an elevator. The doors open and you see someone already inside that sends a chill down your spine (or turns your stomach into a knot.) But, it would be so rude, even offensive, to stare at the person and then refrain from getting on the elevator, right?

You decide to ignore your own message, telling yourself that being afraid of someone you've never met makes no sense and determine that it instead makes a lot of sense to get into a small, sound proof, inescapable metal box with someone you instinctively are afraid of.

This story blew me away. Because I make these types of decisions all the time: doing things against my better judgment in an attempt to "make sense". Making an elaborate intellectual effort to convince myself my instincts cannot possibly be right. And, I love my instincts! They are so often correct! They were put there to help me!

I've decided they deserve more respect than this. Not just mine - everyone's. So I invite you to listen to yours too.