Routine hmmm? Well, I supposed I have a semi-structured routine here. I definitely have to be more flexible with my time in Mexico, both because there definitely IS such a thing as ‘Mexico Time’ and because some weeks I do very different things than other weeks. I might spend four days one week sitting in clinics with healers and attending classes on natural medicine, or I might spend all week chasing down new healers to interview, waiting for them to be ready, speaking with them, doing some reading, trying to find new places to try to find healers, etc. I tend to do a lot of waiting for people, both my informants and my friends. Traffic in this city really is crap, and people just have very fluid ideas of what ‘now’ or ‘2:30’ means. ‘Ahorita’ is a word here that means ‘in a bit’ and that can either mean ‘in two minutes’, or ‘in two hours’ or even ‘never going to happen’. I’ve had all three meanings used on me. It’s a bit frustrating, but it’s part of the culture and you just have to go with the flow. Which slowly brings me back around to my ‘routine’.
Three things I tend to do on a regular basis that might be called a routine are: work out almost every day, stream TV shows on my laptop, and read celebrity gossip. I enjoy all three things for different, yet similar reasons. I enjoy working out for my health, my mental wellbeing, and because it is something that has been a part of my life for so long now that I can’t imagine NOT being active pretty much every day, even if for just a short amount of time. I get some good thinking done while I run and swim, and conversely I can completely zone out and forget everything when I’m on an elliptical with a Glamour magazine and friends re-runs (with Spanish subtitles) on the TV in front of me at the gym.
Likewise, I really look forward to the point every evening where I am physically and mentally incapable of working any longer. This is usually around 8 pm (I don’t have set work hours, but start late and end late, on average). Around this time I love to close my notebook, forget about anthropology, and completely succumb to an episode or three of Doctor Who, How I met Your Mother, Criminal Minds, etc. It is like a salve to my brain, and it really helps me relax. Plus, I like TV. It’s entertaining and there is some really smart, funny writing coming out of TV right now. I wish I could say that after working all day I love to curl up with a good novel. But sadly, after reading all anthro all the time for a year and a half, and writing my fieldnotes everyday, the last thing I want to look at in the evening is more words! Unless…
…they come courtesy of UsMagazine.com. I know, it’s horrible. Our culture’s sick obsession with celebrities and their weight and their children and their vacations. But I am dead serious when I say it is the best, easiest way to shut off and dumb-sown after a long day of mental stimulation. Do I really care what the Kardashians are doing? Not so much. But I could still tell you exactly how Kanye proposed to Kim, and why Khloe is divorcing Lamar, thanks to Us Weekly. It’s like the junk food of mental stimulation, and I’m not afraid to say that I love it.
Perhaps once I’m not a student any longer I will return to reading important things like the world news (I scan headlines now for the most part) and great works of literature (I’ve been working on ‘The Kite Runner’ for a while). But for now, TV and gossip rags make the other, hard parts of fieldwork more bearable. When I can’t get someone to commit to an interview, when people get suspicious about WHY exactly I’m sitting in on their medical consultation, when I show up to a clinic that googlemaps says is in one location and it just. doesn’t. exist. It’s ok, because I know that when I get home, there will be an episode of New Girl ready and waiting and probably some new pictures of Kate Middleton in some fabulous Jenny Packham dress from some glam event in London. Like I said before, it’s all about balance. J
Speaking of routines...