Vexations and Conundrums

By Katina Pontikes


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During the fiercest times of the pandemic, my life took on a Rip Van Winkle quality. My husband and I were those individuals who withdrew into a shell of true isolation. We kept our sanity with rituals like a daily balcony happy hour, complete with a jam box blasting out upbeat tunes. We waved down at neighbors spaced outdoors around the swimming pool, on their own fresh-air schedules. It seems comedic in retrospect, but it really gave us optimism to have fun routinely inserted in our days.

My family and friends exercised different levels of caution for virus safety, so avoidance was our safest bet. Sure enough, many of my network got the virus, to varying degrees of severity. Some lost loved ones. So far, my husband and I have stayed well, and we continue to exercise safe habits, even though we are fully vaccinated. We are used to the protocols.

Once caseloads dropped, we were quick to plan controlled trips and visits to loved ones we had missed. Mexico was at the top of our list for travel. We returned to Lakeside and were amazed at all the changes. Our habitual haunts were gone. Some restaurants and stores had changed names or moved; some had closed. A few had managed to stay in business by adopting strategies like curbside pickup. New restaurants were open too, and this was an exciting development.

Eating is such a regular and interesting part of life, so we prioritize learning about the places that offer great food and kind service. For heaven’s sake, let’s all give them as much business as we can so they thrive. Of course, psychologically we will benefit from dining with close friends and welcoming new business owners to our social scene. If you find that you have become used to staying in, you may be stuck. A friend told me of an old adage: “A grave with the ends kicked out is a rut.”  No one wants to remain in a rut. A lively time is great medicine for the spirit.

Population growth seems to have exploded. This was confirmed by both heavy traffic (not good) and a younger demographic in evidence as we went about our daily lives (progress!) Young people are innovative, and typically more resilient than those of us who have aged. I welcome the changes they deliver and want to go for the ride with them as they adapt to new situations and challenges.

From what I am witnessing, we all are having to become more flexible to participate in this rapidly morphing environment. I see lots of development and hope that urban planning expertise is incorporated in new projects. I hate when our beautiful lake view is obscured by concrete buildings or trees are eliminated without thought to their environmental and aesthetic contributions. We want to keep the natural beauty of our towns that keeps tourists coming back.  After all, these are the people who are seduced into buying here. I know because my husband and I were these people, twenty years ago.

The incredible Mexican people, captivating climate, wonders of the lake, and the majesty of the mountains remain. Now we must hope that the artisans continue to spin their magic in both visual and musical artistic endeavors and culinary projects. From what we witness, a rebirth of sorts is taking place. Jump out there and find the changes! You will be awed at the innovations.


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