Necessity is the mother of invention.
That may as well be the Mexican motto. Emblazoned right beneath that rattlesnake-gnawing golden eagle on the prickly pear.
Mexico is a salvage society. The common rap against America is that it is a throw-away society. And, in some respects, that is true.
But there are still areas in America my grandfather would recognize. Where appliances are kept running by cannibalizing parts from old machinery. Where canning jars are valued for storing excess for use in lean times. Where a dollar saved is seen as a virtue in itself.
Those parts of America have a spiritual kinship with Mexico.
Mexico is not a land of plenty. Historically, wealth tended to be amassed amongst an elite. Those days are changing. Mexico is growing a middle class. Haltingly. But it is growing.
But that does not change the fact that most Mexicans have had to learn to do with what was at hand. And that is often not much.
Anyone who reads Mexican blogs regularly knows the litany. Electrical junction boxes that look as if Rube Goldberg had been drinking. Ladders built out of discarded wood scraps and reused nails. Scooters made of recycled parts.
But just like on a Walla Walla farm, it always seems to work out in the end. Maybe that is why my neighbors can be optimistic when trouble befalls them. They will tack something together -- and it will work.
Maybe I have been learning from them, but I felt just a little more Mexican yesterday.
The ceilings in my place are about ten feet tall. Designed to allow tropical heat to rise and then disperse through ventilation holes in the walls.
They are also quite attractive. Until you need to reach the ceiling.
My main bathroom light fixture is on the ceiling. As they are wont to do, the light bulb in that fixture gave up the ghost just when I needed to use the facility -- in the night.
No problem, said I. I have dealt with similar problems in Oregon.
I looked for the step ladder. I do not have one.
I tried a kitchen chair. If I had the arms of Wilt Chamberlain, I might have reached the light. But I have stubby Scottish arms more akin to those found on Tyrannosaurus rex.
I had one last hope. One of the breakfast bar stools (pictured above; what you cannot see is the ceiling). It was about the right height. And it worked perfectly -- if I stretched and stood on my good left foot and used my left arm to hold my balance.
While getting off of the stool, I realized it was not the best climbing tool -- because it started to tip over. Something about narrow wheel base (if it were a car). But, I am becoming Mexican. I merely leaned forward and tipped toward the shower where I could grab the tiled edge.
And all was well. No splat on the floor. No reinjured right ankle. And the light worked.
It did not look elegant. But everything turned out well in the end.
I am now ready for my next adventure.
Maybe something like this.