|The beloved Doctor Simi, mascot of Mexico's favorite discount pharmacy|
I'm fine, but instead of doing errands which included paying the phone bill --which must be done in person, because what the third world lacks in infrastructure they more than make up for in pointless lines-- Hot Latin Boy delivered me straight home.
I had my traditional Monday night dinner of a baked apple with oats, some pecans, a bit of milky tea and a handful of painkillers I bought from a guy in a giant foam head and promptly fell asleep, bill unpaid.
When I went to check my email a mere six hours later, we had been put on the telephonic naughty step. I guess that's why Carlos Slim -- who controls more than 90% of all phone and internet service in Mexico-- is the richest man in the world.
One of the most frustrating aspects of Mexican life is it's so damn hard to get ahead and so damn easy to fall behind. Once you're behind, it's next to impossible to get caught up.
While services (excluding utilities, of course) are relatively cheap here, everything else is expensive and the salaries are embarrassingly low. Sure it's a cultural thing for young people to live with their families, and a household is rarely just a couple or a couple and a child. But maybe it's cultural because most people can't afford to live by themselves, even with a white collar job and a diploma on the wall.
Everyone works, no one gets ahead.
|A typical neighborhood in the outskirts of Tijuana, where HLB grew up. Photo courtesy of flickr|
I've taken advantage of my good luck (are you reading Amid Privilege? You should, for a variety of reasons.) but even what I've legitimately earned has been earned standing on the shoulders of generations of privilege in very expensive shoes.
I can sit in my ivory tower --which is actually a leaky cottage, but a very swank leaky cottage-- and make observations without having to experience what it's like to have to sleep five to a bed because there's one mattress and no heat.
So I consider myself doubly privileged: To see what's beyond my historic front door for the first time in my life and to be lucky enough to avoid it.
|Zizou, Xabi and Mou. Not pictured: my underpants|
In fact I might require a second mattress, just for safety because it's all fun and games until someone gets a concussion.
That's all I've got for today. No shoes or babies in cellophane.
I'm all gimpy and a little maudlin (although my tomatoes are looking fabulous, so I've got that going for me, which is nice) but if you've ever wondered why someone would be willing to risk their lives, spend thousands of dollars in a country where a day's pay barely buys a gallon of milk, to be shoved into some suffocating secret compartment or led through the mountains for days drinking water from puddles just to have the chance to work in the United States, that's why.
Also you can pay your phone bill online.