Either, or. This, that. Here, there. Yes, no?
Sometimes, a decision just needs help. A push toward one or the other, all responsibility placed outside--though technically on--the hands of those who want to decide. Let a little random chance to the work. And how?
Heads or tails.
Or at least that's how it used to be done, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who flipped a metal coin stamped with the head of a monarch. But now here in Mexico, it's águila o sol--eagle or sun--a phrase quite appropriately decided by a coin, as well. Born into use when the old, copper, 20 centavo coins began to circulate, those three words have long outlived the very coin itself. Patricio and I have one hoarded away here at home, though. It used to belong to my grandmother, a souvenir likely kept from a late sixties Mexican road trip when the final destination was Acámbaro. One side shows the symbolic, coat of arms eagle. On the other appears Teotihuacán's pyramid of the sun, with solar rays crowning the image at the top. Águila o sol. Coins like this, along with any coin at all, still work hard for bets and the choice between disparate desires.
But when copper came up a few weeks ago for me, I didn't need to flip any coins of the stuff to help me make a decision. A visit to Copper Canyon has been on my wish list for a long time, and once I found out that my sister-in-law would be teaching a two-week summer course there through her university, the proverbial light bulb came on above my head. What better pretext could I possibly find for finally making the trip? And yet, that versatile, copper, 20 centavo coin still played a part in the beginnings of those plans. In English, I speak of light bulbs, but in Spanish, me cayó el veinte.
Realizing something--when the idea finally clicks--can be described through the metaphor of a pay phone. Those veintes, the coins, were once the fee for making a phone call, with everything coming together when the veinte dropped into the box. Me cayó el veinte--putting myself in the pay phone's position, the change fell right into place, and I knew just what I should do. Beyond congratulating Trini on the classes she would offer, I also realized her work spelled a chance I shouldn't pass up.
So I'll be up around Copper Canyon for week now, with hopes for catching glimpses of lonely águilas, and soaking up plenty of Chihuahuan sol.