Apparently, anybody who’s anybody in Mexico, or a large part of Latin America, lives, writes, acts, and plays in our neighborhood. Everyone is hip. Everyone, except for those living in Departmento 702. (Alex and Ella, I love you but…me neither). This is the apartment which Monday-Friday is occupied by a person and a canine who don’t find it necessary to shower daily when they have no obligations to do so, nor put on clothing other than a sweatshirt and jeans (or go buck, in the case of the canine). And by sweatshirt, not some witty hipster trying-to-look-like-I-got-it-in-a-vintage-store-but-really-paid-$150-for-it, but an actual, I-got-this-in-the-puyallup-value village-in-1998-and-still-wear-it-and-saw-the-exact-same-sweatshirt-on-the-poor Hmong boy-in-Clint Eastwood’s-Grand Torino-sweatshirt.

uh, the kid in the headlock is wearing my sweatshirt

uh, the kid in the headlock is wearing my sweatshirt

My neighbor across the hall from us is a Telenovela star for goodness sake- living the highlife and having people coming and going at all hours, including to play guitar hero starting at 8 am on a Monday morning and finishing around 3 am wednesday morning. But so goes the life of the rich and famous.

You would think that this is one of the fanciest neighborhoods in DF (DF=distrito federal=mexico city). No, it’s quite nice aesthetically, with actual living things known as trees which hide the brown tint of the sky, and parks that are actually beautiful spots with plants and not just plots of dirt scattered with garbage, a bench or two and the occasional bush.  There are no bodyguards, gated accesses, walled fortresses that are single family homes, escalade SUVs, german-speaking communities,  or any other aspect of the typically highest-echelon Mexican neighborhoods. Apparently, it’s hip to be in the middle class. So here we are. In hipster land. And we all know famous people love to be hip.

This is the land where the writers, poets, playwrights, journalists and screenwriters crank out their masterpieces chainsmoking in the sidewalk cafes. This is where they film any variety of soap operas, tv shows and movies on the street (more than one I think my dog has accidentally been an extra in, performing her bodily functions). This is where I have to skirt around supermodels having their portfolio pics taken in the park, where I almost ran into Diego Luna getting out of an SUV to hit up the pharmacy on our corner early one Sunday morning, where Malkovich stayed while directing the Buen Canario starring aforementioned Diego Luna, where the mayor lives a few blocks from our house, and Gael Garcia, and the list goes on.

The problem:  for the most part, I don’t know who these famous people are. And they’re EVERYWHERE. Why is this a problem? Well, the majority of human encounters I have around here is in Parque México, 1/2 block from our apartment. (more on this park in another post, it deserves its own). And these human encounters usually happen when our dogs are sniffing each other’s butts. This is how I “met” the director of Amores Perros, although of course I didn’t know it was the director of this famous Mexican movie, until some guy on a bench pointed it out to me afterwards with overwhelmed reverence for this stranger who I had been talking to with a bag of dog poop in my hand.  Ok, that’s not so bad…it’s kind of nice not knowing people are famous when you encounter them, kind of empowering actually, to be able to interact with them as the regular humans they are, without stoking their self-esteem more than it needs to be stoked.

But then, when you’re me,  you’re bound to do something stupid, and if you’re also me, it’s probably going to be in front of somebody famous. Like the time I wanted to bodyslam Bill Murray at the Daily Grind coffee shop in Baltimore for standing in the doorway and not moving when I came in, giving his party all the dirty glares I could muster,  having to be told not-so-subtly by my frantic roomate that the person I was complaining about audibly was in fact Mr. Murray.

Sorry, Bill.

Sorry, Bill.

So, I was surprised, but not all too surprised when browsing the New York Times online this morning and came across an article featuring a famous Mexican author to whom I made an idiot out of myself one day in the park. Thanks world, not only did I make a fool of myself,  I now know that I did it in front of an extra intelligent person. Yes. It’s not the worst of my tales, a simple math mistake if you will, but this was merely weeks after graduating with dual masters degrees. It went something like this:

He has a basset hound, I have a basset hound. This makes us talk to each other in the park. It is morning. I am not a morning person. Those of you who know me, know this is not merely a statement, but a very real truth.  I ask, in Spanish,

“how many months old is your dog?” (I think it’s a puppy.)

He responds, with a smile, “48”

I say, “Oh! So he’s 2 years old!” (it was morning)

“it’s a girl”

(awkward pause)

“she’s four years old”

(Megan smiles. Not computing…not computing…morninnnnng….)

(he shifts uncomfortably. dogs finish mutual butt sniffing)

“um, I guess I’ll see you later”

(Megan still blank look on face) “Uh? ok…bye….”

(about 45 seconds pass after he leaves)

“oh, sh#($*%t.!”

(Megan has realized she appeared to have IQ of a sea slug. Megan now avoids this man in the park, even though she sees him at least every other day. Megan now realizes he is a critically acclaimed author).

Oh the injustice...this man is better at writing...and math

Oh the injustice...this man is better at writing...and math

Ah well, it could have been worse, right? But if you know of any more famous Mexican people I should be on the lookout for, please send me a photograph, ASAP. I have a lot of free time and a lot of opportunities for these types of activities. I’m curious though…would you rather remain in the dark, or be on the lookout for potential famous people? I remain undecided, but would rather continue glaring at them when they run into me with their grocery carts in the supermarket…