Saturday, May 09, 2009

shock jock theatre

The sun is setting to the brassy strains of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Hosanna from his Requiem.

For Steve to be pleased while listening to anything by Lloyd Webber (rather, Lord Lloyd-Webber) is a wonder in itself. But that is a tale for another day.

I have pulled out the Bose headphones in a very un-Mexican gesture.

My neighbor to the east is having his roof re-done. He is currently grading papers in Iowa. So, he is not serendaed all day long by Mexican radio DJs, all of whom seem to have graduated from the Telenovela School of Overacting. But we are.

Now that the sun has set, only the swallows nesting in the rafters of the patio will hear Placido extol the hope of the resurrection.

And the young Mexican couple to the east, renting from the absent BC couple who own that house. (You have already met the front bumper of the BC couple's car.)

It is the Mexican couple that causes me to don headphones on this semi-sticky evening. Even in the unlikely event they love Lloyd Webber more than any other music, they have a right to a peaceful evening in their home.

Earlier in the day, I witnessed another Mexican custom that I have seen several times before -- as has anyone who lives in or visits Mexico. The Unusually Dangerous Activity Conducted With Absolute Aplomb.

When I opened the front gate this morning I was greeted with the sight of a metal ladder leaning up against the concrete utility pole in front of the house. The cable guy was installing service for the Mexican couple neighbors.

When I looked closer, I realized he had his head stuck not only amongst the cable and telephone lines, but also the electrical lines.

Now, I am not a safety engineer, but I seem to recall that we learned in high school physics about the necessary elements to close an electrical circuit. I was positive I was about to see a Mr. Science experiment on my front walk.

I then did what any good blogger would do: I ducked into the house to get my camera.

When I returned, he was gone. I briefly considered the possibiliy that the cable guy was dead on our upper floor deck.

I was wrong. He was talking to the neighbors.

Safety does not appear to be a prime objective in completing a job in Mexico. The completion is more important than the details.

Looking at that ladder reminded me of a similar post on
Without a Net. The first post I read on Erika's web last July was "Stairway to Heaven" -- her musings on occupational safety. Looking at that post, I realize I cannot answer why these obvious safety hazards occur any more than she could.

I do know one thing though. Placido Domingo should be singing about the resurrection to the young fellows who, in their pursuit of a paycheck, daily do their best to attain a hairdo like Albert Einstein -- with few of the accompanying brains.

[If you are interested in hearing a very lo-fi version of Placidio Domingo's performance of the Hosanna, you can hear it here at about 3:04.]


Laurie said...

I am become acculturated to danger I suppose. The water truck occasionally visits our school during recees hours. No one escorts the students away from the huge truck that backs up while students are playing soccer, sliding down ladders, etc. I am the only one who actively tried to herd the elementary kids away from the truck. Everyone assumes children are not going to get stuck under the massive wheels. This week the truck visited again. My only concern was for the 8 and under crowd. I was not yelling or gesturing wildly to evacuate immediatly. Just watched.

Islagringo said...

Chuckling as I read along. I knew astonishment and a witty comment would be coming. You have just witnessed and commented on what every blogger in Mexico has seen and commented on at least once.

Anonymous said...

Mexico's a dangerous place on many levels, at least by nanny-state American standards. Holes in the sidewalks, ledges without guardrails, and workmen laughing in the face of death as they install cable.

Are we just cossetted or is it that dangerous?

Our views are evolving.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we seem to recall "Felipe" writing often about how noisy Mexico is, too.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

"Are we just cossetted or is it that dangerous?"

Kim's question is the one for me.

Do not laugh - forget that - of course you will: is there any way to know in MX how many people die of accidents?

In the USA we are desparate to hold everyone and something accountable for every little thing in life. Is that lawyer induced (sorry Steve) via lawsuits? Are we so focused on contuous improvement? Is every life so valuable that all possible must be done?

In the USA there is very little "That's Life" or "Stuff Happens" attitude - there has GOT to be a reason, by God!

Steve Cotton said...

Laurie -- I doubt that I will ever be able to stop reacting to "safety" issues. On the other hand, a lot of my former work colleagues would put me in the reckless category. I guess it is all a matter of context. Ladders crep me out. I have had two rather bad spills during the last two years. Getting old, I guess.

Islagringo -- As accustomed as I am to reading abojut these dangers, whenever I see them in person, I just cringe. And I know why. My Salvation Army gene will immediately kick in if I am present when disaster strikes. Nothing to be done about that.

Kim -- As I think back to watching men work when I was young in the 50s (and that is not a sexist comment), I seem to recall the same type of risky behavior. But that was simply how things were done.

An American ladder, of course, would have a huge legal department-induced warning on its side telling the user not to place it on a live electrical wire. The warning has only one purpose: to avoid a law suit, not to assist the user.

Nancy said...

Twice while we had workers here building our courtyards they asked if they could see our morning paper to read an article about friends of theirs who were killed. One, a painter who fell off a ladder, and one a motorcycle accident.

Seems to be an every day kind of thing.

Steve Cotton said...

AMM -- I think we worry becauise we care for people and want to avoid risks that can be avoided. Mexicans honor life every bit as much as we do, but danger seems to be seen just a part of the equation of life.

Nancy -- And there we are. The last two posts tied together in one.

Babs said...

I've determined, after all my years in Mexico, just not to watch. The workers always accomplish what they set out to do, it just might not be the way we would do it.

You did make me laugh at this blog - out loud!

Alan said...

Thanks for the Andrew Lloyd Webber
Hosanna with Placidio. My only regret is that here in southern Oregon I do not have the bose earphones to turn up the volume and hear that great mens chorus and that beautiful harp and flute. Thanks for the treat!

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- To enjoy the musical laughter of women is the first step in appreciating life. Glad you enjoyed it.

Al -- There is no doubt that the piece is theatrical. At full volume, it is quite a show stopper.

Constantino said...

You left the north where there is a law for everything, or probably two laws for everything, OSHA, and a host of other fiefdoms, a mass. Your profession prospers to the max, Your new digs, go back to individual responsibility. One must cull out the stupid, the ones that fall into uncovered ditches and touch exposed electrical wires.
You came for a simpler no frills life, so when are you going to start to enjoy it?

Steve Cotton said...

Constantino -- I am enjoying every moment of each day. I did that up north. No reason to think it will not continue here. Don't confuse my inability to stop analyzing every little thing around me as being a concern. It is not. Analyzing is what I do. It is what I enjoy. It also affords a certain detachment.