The flight home was scheduled to depart at 2:45 pm and arrive in Guadalajara 3 hours later at 8:10 pm but a rainstorm in Las Vegas changed all that. We sat on the runway for 2 ½ hours watching the lightning and the rain pouring down before the tower called the plane back to the gate where we all deplaned for yet another hour. And that’s only the first part of the bad news.

But part 1 of the bad news was offset by part 1 of the good news and that is I got to sit next to a very bright and charming woman who made the time [almost] slip by. Her name is Julietta; she who possesses a face as pretty as her name.

And right off I learned that Julietta had just finished up vacationing in Las Vegas for 6 days with her one sister and youngest brother. And I learned she was a professional woman who worked in the passport office in the nearby state of Sinaloa.

Upon hearing that I lived in Michoacán she exclaimed, “It’s violent there!” I laughed and said, “You should talk. You live in Sinaloa.” I shook my head and waggled my finger at her. “You have some very bad men there.” To which she laughed, nodding in agreement. Sinaloa’s reputation in my opinion exceeds even that of Michoacan. Anyway, black humor…

She asked me when I got to Vegas and when I told her just yesterday, the conversation turned to how difficult the pursuance of a resident’s visa has been for me. She said that the simplest path would be for me to marry a Mexican woman. She said, “That’s a passport.” Oh, yeah.

Then she asked me if I had a girlfriend in Mexico. I briefly explained that the women that I had met hadn’t seen their way to fathom the benefits of the reciprocity of US citizenship. And I went on to say that a woman would have to be sufficiently young enough and with enough education to be able to leverage the benefits that would come with US citizenship. And passport. I could tell that I was speaking her language here.

I went on to explain my age, “But I am old. Fifty-nine.” She said after a moment more – scrutinizing my face – “You’re fine. You’re okay.”

I gave her one of my cards after she said that she had a couple of friends who might be interested in such an arrangement before going on to speak hypothetically that if she were to get remarried – she was a widow of 5 years – she would do so not for herself but for her 10 year old son.

Now she was speaking my language, as I have oft times been the persistent and chronic educational advisor to my own child.

I delighted in how savvy she was to unequivocally understand those opportunities that a US citizenship would bring to her son; both in educational and in career prospects. I shouldn’t leave out that Jullieta is an attorney as well as the daughter to a medical doctor so she grew up with those values.

She mildly shocked me when – still in the hypothetical mode mind you – she challenged me with, “So what is your offer?” I had to stop and think about that one. I finally was able to respond that I would help that certain hypothetical person’s son get started in the US, council him, aid in navigation, and in doing – help said same son pick a good university.

Now don’t get me wrong. Julietta wasn’t being some rude shark bitch in asking such a question. Rather she was merely being the truly responsible adult by not just seeing the endgame but also having that bold presence of mind to lead me in an unhesitant manner to a major consequence as she foresaw that particular eventuality.

Her question in all of its starkness reminded me of when my daughter came to me 8-9 years ago and asked if I was going to help pay for her university. “Well, yeah,” I said. And I knew that question was appropriate, but the abruptness – that future is here moment – was akin to getting a live hand grenade dropped in my lap.

Anyway, at some point she took a nap, and like the shivering sleepless wreck I was, wished I could have. She was stressed and tired from the travel delay and the seat between us was vacant so I pulled up armrest divider so that she could take advantage of that additional space. It wasn’t altogether altruistic as I certainly enjoyed the closer proximity to this specific attractive younger woman. And to end on this I must say that she was by far the nicest woman I’ve met thus far in Mexico. So I certainly hope to speak to her again. She has my contact info so if we do, it will be at her behest. (But honestly, isn’t that second step always the woman’s prerogative anyway?)

So the second part of the bad news is twofold: One, we – my cab driver buddy and I – would be driving in Mexico late at night. Bad. Very bad.

And two, we would be driving through hell’s gate at 2:30 in the morning. Bad. Super bad. Hell’s gate (my words) is the state border between Jalisco and Michoacán; a place where literally a couple/few hundred people have been murdered since ’08.

Anyway, got home at 3 am. Dead tired. But not dead.

Yet bouncing down the roads, wasted from lack of sleep but getting closer to home – Mexico was a fog but still much less foreign than Vegas.