The worrying is over. Time to reflect on this (nearly) relaxing trip to Cabo San Lucas. Traces of irritation remain and will be dealt with later.
The trip to Baja’s tip wasn’t meant to be an experience of Mexico. Pope Sixtus only left his resort thrice, and not for very long periods.
- A cab ride to Pueblo Bonita Sunset, on the Pacific side of Cabo. Estimated time at location: 3 hours. Activities: buffet breakfast and a ninety minute Time Share sales pitch. End result: learned that the Pacific Ocean is too rough for swimming; told that there are dozens of golf courses in the immediate area, an area which is virtually desert (rainy season in September and October); lastly, in response to a question about the source of water for the Cabo environs, is told that it comes from desalinization plants (locations undisclosed).
- A cab ride to the Cabo marina where the Pope made reservations to eat a highly touted restaurant. Estimated time: 2 hours. Brief encounters with a) a man trying to induce the Pope to take a fishing excursion the next day; b) a young boy trying to get Sixtus (an obvious man of means) to buy a toy car that the boy pushed against His Holiness’s back; and c) the restaurant, despite the urgency of its demand to make reservations, had no more than three tables filled during the duration.
- A cab ride ten minutes north of Pueblo Bonita Blanco to another highly touted restaurant, which also featured an urgency to call ahead for reservations and, like the other place, had a distinct surplus of empty tables. Time: 2 hours. Observations: a view of surfers in the Sea of Cortez; outdoor dining, usually shunned by the Pope but this time proved very pleasant save for the harsh rays of the setting sun for forty-five minutes.
Experience with the Mexican people, while done in Spanish in most cases, was relegated to cab drivers, hotel personnel, and restaurant employees. These were never unpleasant moments, which in itself made the Pontiff self-conscious and a shade uncomfortable. Perhaps it was the unnaturalness of constant pleasant interactions that started to have an abnormal but palpable pathological feel. All three types of people dealt with had special if extreme imperatives: do not irritate the customer. One complaint from the Pope or a general complainer, like the Asshole mentioned earlier, meant certain employment death for a man or woman who couldn’t afford to miss a day of work, let alone not have the job anymore.
The Pope’s minor problems and anxieties having been documented, it would not be unnatural for him to lash out at anyone who disturbed his placid mental state. But not to someone’s employer or immediate supervisor. And definitely not to some kid’s parents. Nor would the Pope show disrespect or temper loss at the time of a particular problem.
Thus, using the power invested in his Office, Pope Sixtus IV wants to pronounce judgement and sentencing upon all transgressors. It might seem harsh or an abuse of power to send a man, woman, or child to the auto-da-fe. Sixtus comes from a harsh world. You don’t upset a supreme power (check out Herodotus’ stories about the merciless Persian monarchs, Darius and Xerxes, who nearly make Josef Stalin seem like a piker – and make the Pope seem like a sweetheart).
TO THE FIRES:
The Asshole (whose very looks bothered the Pope and might have gotten the guy bastinadoed!)
The two boys throwing the football (they knew they were playing with fire tossing the ball like that, and had they hit someone else in the head, they would have gotten the same punishment)
The unknown person responsible for not having the wheelchair available at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport
The parents of the child who cried for most of the flight from Dallas to Philadelphia
The cab driver who charged too much when the Pope was driven to the marina restaurant (Sixtus had been told the fare would be twelve pesos, but the driver wanted eighteen; avoiding a confrontation, he paid the eighteen but didn’t give a tip)
The Time Share Salesman (yes, he had a job to do, perhaps an even thankless one considering that the Pope didn’t want to buy anything and had just come for the buffet and a three-hundred dollar discount on his condo bill; but the fellow exhibited visible perturbation and didn’t escort the Pope back to the lobby to get a return cab to the Bonito Blanco)
The Chef who made a Caesar salad out of four leaves of relatively limp romaine lettuce
The architect and/or proprietor of the restaurant above the Sea of Cortez (they kept the interior so ill-lit that His Holiness didn’t see the last step going into the men’s room and took a tumble that could’ve been catastrophic had he not been holding onto the railing)
Regarding this last episode, which occurred on the last night, the Pope had visions of ending up in a hospital, not making the flight, and walking with a limp.
And as for his arrival home, what can one say about the Philadelphia airport? He waited for his bag for forty-five minutes and, of course, the person with the wheelchair was late (but at least she showed up), but as there wasn’t a flight to catch or an awaiting vehicle to transport him, the Pope didn’t send those responsible for delaying him to the stake. But, perhaps, next time. . . .