Friday, December 28, 2007

Mexico - A Short Story

Notes for a story to be told at family gatherings.

Setting: A town in central Mexico known as the City of Eternal Spring

Occasion: Marriage of a young lady

Main Characters:

The Redneck – An irritating, grouchy, balding and unattractive old man who tells long boring stories about subjects that he and only he finds interesting. Has no sense of style. Has a beard that always needs trimming.

The High Maintenance Sister – Two years younger than The Redneck. Has an affinity for style, finger bowls, napkin rings and comfort. Has an immediate allergic reaction to uncleanliness, disorder, imperfection and The Redneck. Married to The High Maintenance Brother-in-Law.

The Normal One – A sister eight years younger than The Redneck. Raised with The Redneck and The High Maintenance Sister but somehow maintained her sanity and sense of humor. Married to The Good Guy whom everyone likes.

The Good Wife – Spouse of The Redneck. Is a wise and long-suffering woman who tries to keep The Redneck from making an ass of himself. A woman of beauty with questionable eyesight and judgment evidenced by the fact she married The Redneck. Hummm? She possesses both wisdom and questionable judgment at the same time! This contradiction makes her more appealing to The Redneck. Often wastes her time by reminding The Redneck that his beard needs trimming.

The Plot: The story opens with The Redneck and The Good Wife in humble peasant quarters. They are happy. The High Maintenance Sister arrives and is horrified. There is much weeping and wailing. The universe must be fixed. The HMS refuses to use the shower. The HMS insists on finding lodging in a mansion. The Redneck grows more grouchy than usual and vows to stay with the peasants. A mansion is found with spacious rooms, uniformed servants, manicured grounds and immaculate showers large enough for the entire village to shower together. The Good Wife cautions The Redneck that he is about to transform himself into the rear end of a donkey. He welcomes the transformation and holds fast. He will not move to the mansion and abandon his principles and the common people. Then he learns the Mansion has wireless internet and his virtue and integrity crumble. He abandons the peasants and moves into the mansion – only to learn the wireless connection does not work! The Redneck is pleased with the justice he has received. Karma has spoken and been heard. As the story ends The Redneck is about to make an ass of himself once again by posting a ridiculous account of his experience without the knowledge of The Good Wife who is sleeping. But, he does not care. She will love him anyway and life will continue to be good.

My youngest sister has arrived. As I understand it, she has been told by multiple people – people who have never visited Mexico – that she and her husband will be mugged. Personally, I feel safer in Mexico than I do in the US. Here’s my biased perspective and warped logic based on my limited experience. I choose the terms biased and warped because I react negatively to the police in the US – so strongly so that, based on my prior experiences, I no longer ask them for directions or help.

In Mexico City I saw more police than I’ve ever seen at one time. In the early mornings by the Cathedral we saw over 100. Walking around the historical part of the city it was difficult to find an area where one or two were not visible.

Some are armed (hand guns, shot guns, semi-automatic and automatic weapons), some are not; some wear protective vests, some do not. The thing all of them have in common is that they appear to be non-aggressive, passive deterrents that operate in a reactive mode to more serious incidents.

On Sunday morning a taxi took us to the anthropology museum. We were in the left lane when a car stopped for a red light. The taxi driver backed up, passed the stopped vehicle on the right and turned left through the red light while ignoring two policemen standing on the curb beside the stopped car. No one blinked or took notice. This happened twice more within the next ten minutes.

A group of indigenous dancers in costume set up drums and began performing in the curb lane which blocked one lane of traffic. The police arrived and instructed them to move. They complied at a leisurely rate as the police waited patiently without harassment or pressure to hurry.

In another incident a siren sounded briefly to request a driver move out of the way of the police vehicle which was a pickup truck. The police stopped across from the café where we were having coffee. Three young men walked toward the truck and the second one slapped the first one hard on the side of the head. The police did not react. The three young men climbed into the pickup and one officer casually pushed the first to the floor of the pickup out of sight. The other two joined him and the vehicle drove away as three officers stood in the bed holding cross-bars to maintain their balance. The scene was about as intimidating as a laundry truck making a pick up at a business. The crowd ignored the incident. From my experience, in the US the men would have been shackled, traffic would have be blocked for 30 minutes and a crowd would have watched the excitement.

Julie and I have walked everywhere both day and night. I’ve never felt any concern. This is a major city and the caution taken has been the same that I would take in any city in the US.


Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

You are MUCH braver than I am, my friend.

The story you led off with was downright halarious and I was laughing my ass off!

Who was the "redneck" again?

12/28/2007 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

Nothing like gettin' bit in the ass by a little, old fashioned karma. That beast, Karma, can have some sharp toothies.

The cities are at least as safe as our cities; possibly more so. The police, however, operate on the mordida system way too often. I'm not sure that the Federales aren't the worst.

12/29/2007 08:33:00 AM  

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