For eleven months, I waited for repair guys to fix my new stovetop. It needed a regulator to temper the flames that shot a foot high and blackened my pans with soot. The regulator was on order and coming from Brazil, the repair shop said every time I called. It would probably arrive “mañana.” Week after week, month after month, the answer was the same.
The swoosh of fire startled me and guest chefs whenever we turned on a burner. Black grime coated not only my pots and pans but everything they came in contact with---hands, counters, sponges we used by the dozen. This was untenable, I repeatedly told a hapless clerk on the other end of the line. But apparently I was wrong. At the six month point, I stopped calling, dedicated a rag to the exteriors of my cookware, and unconsciously decided to live with the stovetop as is. Five months later, I happened to be home when the repair guys showed up with the part, happy to be of service, no apologies offered or expected.
Mexico, at least small town Mexico as I know it, has taught me the same lesson over and over: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Like that great scene in the old movie “Meatballs,” where Bill Murray chants “It just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter.” You finally get that, in your gut, if you live here long enough. For me, it’s not about settling for less. It’s about letting go of a sense of urgency. When I allow that to happen, I feel light and free.