Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cui- Cui- Cuida te!

     There is a reason why there are ten foot concrete walls with broken glass embedded into the top around the perimeter of each home in Mexico. Those steel bars across everyone's windows are not decorative. Believe it when you find out that the front, back, and side doors are all made of steel - never with an actual door knob - but always with at least two slide bar locks. There is actual purpose for keeping a dog in the yard, because quite frankly we are not in a big animal rights spirit here in Mexico.
     Above the appearance of the last shake down we also house the Madd Max on the road, the duck taped bumper, the grandma in the chair in the back of the pick up, the bus route that smashes dogs on purpose by swerving to kill, or running over little childrens feet that did not quite make it out of the slowed down bus while jumping on or off. Yes this is Mexico, where anything goes.
      My nephews owned a dog named Snoopy, the watch dog Rotweiler mix that upon hearing the news of his death and the bus route-20 involvement, my first comment was that it had to be suicide on his part. This is definitely not the country to be born in if you come back in your next life as a dog. Have you ever checked out the Azteca breed? "Used" to be food... perhaps still is. There is a need, one more to add on to the list of the world's peace, for dogs rights south of the border... starting with Snoopy. My poor nephews, as tough as they are for their ages of young teens, cried for him. Their last dog hung herself. She jumped with her collar and rope over the wall. She did not know that on the other side was a 200 foot drop to the river. They finally figured out where she disappeared to and no one cracked an expression.  Her collar was unfastened and her dead body dropped to the already polluted river without a proper funeral. That was within the first year in Mexico and it was added to my list of shocks of the reaction to their dog's death, so I concluded suicide. And now one more... Snoopy.
      Snoopy was allowed outside the gate when he felt like taking his bulky black body for a stroll up the sidewalk to the neighborhood that rested on the steep streets of the neighboring mountain on the other side of the river's bridge. He knew enough to stay off of the road, as it was a semi busy road... but even semi busy in Mexico means stay the hell away from the edge or you will get hit with a rear-view mirror and no one will stop to see how your elbow feels after. The dog carried a look on his face that if human, he would certainly be a distinguished older man with little patience for absurdities of youth and possessing the ablity to gain respect with little said, and certainly no smile - maybe that of a car mechanic, always half concentrated, as if he is forever thinking of cars, but with short to the point answers... unless your dealing with the wrong mechanic.
       The gate around the house of my nephews is new. It reaches up twenty feet in height and holds the monstorous heavy steel black double doors that are approximately 10 x 20 feet that open to let the car in, and close with a huge sliding bar and lock. The whole set up was installed last year about this time as a surprise to his wife, my sister in law. Someone broke into their house for the last time, prying the window's steel bars apart and using some type of power tool to rip a hole into their steel back door. They trashed the place and took all of her jewelry. She was pretty upset and afraid they would come back. Most husbands in Mexico work well over 60 hours a week and her and the boys felt violated and wondered if they would remain safe. Their neighbor was then held at gun point in his own home. They decided to get the twenty foot concrete wall installed with the big steel doors. It looked like a fort from some futuristic movie.
      The street is different. There is no pity or remorse. You do not let your children play near or on the street hoping that the cars will slow down and mind their pedestrians come first rules. No. If your kid gets run over it is considered the fault of the parent, specifically the mother. Women take on the blame of most of the issues, for it is their duty to maintain the peace and harmony of the homes and that includes keeping everyone alive. I guess that is why the dead stares are so common. Lots of pressures to survive. And when there are drivers, mostly all male, for women driving is not common, that I am not quite sure if they were ever taught or they just got lucky enough to get a car started that comes flying around the corner at least 40 miles per hour faster than he should... that is when you know that it is never ever safe to walk unless you are completely alert. That is where Ricardo comes in to play for me, for I am a day dreaming of whatever kind of soul. When I walk I have to look at wonder at everything. I do not pay much attention to the rules of "how to walk down a road in Mexico"... but he certainly reminds me. There is never bending at the waist, eyes always need to be in check as to what you are looking at and for how long, moving over, avoiding certain people, awareness of the impression... and staying away from the edge of the road. He knows it because he is the same way when he drives. He feels he needs to teach others by passing them, stopping in front of them at a diagnol and swearing at them in his stopped car out the window while they are stuck. He is the official street monitor. I have to remind him that someone may pull out a pistol one day, and he confirms his machette is just as handy that sits between the two front seats of the mini-van. I just think it is funny when the people have this response to him when he is yelling at them as if he were to be their very own father, they actually seem to follow him. What is that about?
       So Snoopy headed out for a stroll last week and was killed. It was not suicide as I joked, and it was certainly not an accident. Even though it is common to pass anyone that gets in your way , run the red light when you are bored of waiting in the heavy traffic by zooming around the stopped cars in the opposite lane, pass a cop with his sirens on in a no passing zone while you are holding the baby in the passenger seat, going down a one way purposely out of frustration to find a better route, or basically letting grandma and the whole family climb in the back of the pickup and tell them to hold on while you do all of the above, despite the seatbelt law in effect... the twenty peso tip off if they decide to pull you over comes in mind when one decides to run over your dog... Snoopy was in the city visiting my comadre Dona Mago, off of the road on the sidewalk walking along minding his own business when the route 20 busline swerved into him on purpose, smashing his head and body and kept on going. My nephew saw Snoopy smashed. They brought him home when he was as small as a shoe. Now he was gone.
     There are big reasons why there are walls around every home here. There are big reasons why paying close attention to your surroundings every second when you are out walking in Mexico... Just as there are big reasons why my husband should obtain an immediate visa so that our family of six with five Americans can live in the United States with all of the protection benefits such as those we are accustomed to - the same protection that is being enjoyed by all of the other American families.

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