Sunday, November 02, 2014

trick or rant

Message boards are a blogger's best friend.

They are the equivalent of hearing people speak their minds before the message has had the pleasure of being massaged by traditional social filters -- the technological equivalent of listening to the drunk at the end of the bar amble on about everyone who has ever blighted his otherwise-perfect life.

TomZap is our local board.  And, as Tolstoy wrote: "All happy tourists are alike; each unhappy tourist is unhappy in his own way."  There may be a paraphrase in there somewhere.

This rant caught my eye this morning.  Entitled "Roaming Gangs."  For a moment, I thought I had wandered into a battlefield between the Crips and the Bloods.

Tonite was especially bad as far as gangs roaming the streets of Barra, I counted at least 40 young men, ( no girls) wandering the streets throwing eggs, and setting off fire crackers, scaring all dogs and cats. What is with this ? Do they really expect gringos to give them treats for hallowwen when they behave this way.? I for one am very disappointed in the youth here in Barra tonite. Amazing how they can harass us in our homes and on the street, then expect us to contribute to their school programs, ie, computers, air conditioning, additions to kitchens, and bathrooms, extra funds for special events. WTF?
 I didn't bother to drop a smattering of [sic]s in the message because it would simply have taken away from the immediate rage.  A rage strong enough that a copy reader would be a mere afterthought.

Gangs.  Eggs.  Fire crackers.  Scared cats and dogs.  And the driving philosophical cri de coeur: "What is with this?"

Hmmm.  Let me think about this.  Oh, yes, I've got it.  What is with this is that it was Halloween.

It may be that we expatriates and tourists are getting old enough that we forget what Halloween was like in our day.  Groups of boys.  Eggs.  Fire crackers.  Scared cats and dogs.  Even an errant flaming bag on the front porch filled with what had been scared out of the cats and dogs.

Or maybe we are just a bit more jittery now that we have passed into the era where our governments pay us to be old people.

I told you yesterday that Day of the Dead is not a big celebration here.  But Halloween is.  Especially, trick or treating.  Even though the subtleties of the ritual are yet to be learned.

On Friday night, it seemed as if all of the children of Barra de Navidad had turned out to follow the Pied Piper of Pumpkins.  At first, Darrel, Christy, and I thought there was a religious procession about to wander down the streets.  There were enough Marys, Josephs, and angels to populate every red state grade school Christmas pageant for a full season.

But we were wrong.  It was Halloween.  And why not use those costumes that otherwise get used religiously -- twice a year.  It is either the angel wings or the Pancho Villa mustache. 

And religiosity seemed to trump revolution.  After all, it can be a bit intimidating to jittery homeowners to receive a demand from a child dressed as a revolutionary hero who would have taken as much pleasure in shooting someone as taking their candy.  The revolutionary hero.  Not the child.

In La Manzanilla, we saw a tiny girl dressed in what looked like a bridal gown with a large black circle around one eye.  Christy suggested she was a vampire.  Battered wife was my guess.

And, apparently, while we were at dinner, some of my neighbors (or, at least, one) concluded it was the Night of the Hooligans.

I have no opinion on that because we were not in the house for the celebrations.  Even though, we were back by 8. 

But I do know when a rant goes from letting off steam to becoming irrational.  And that concluding shot falls in the latter category: "
Amazing how they can harass us in our homes and on the street, then expect us to contribute to their school programs, ie, computers, air conditioning, additions to kitchens, and bathrooms, extra funds for special events."

Let's put aside the us and them language for a moment.  I am certain that someone in the audience is ready right now to brand the ranter with the infamous scarlet "R."

My concern is that someone who must have shown generosity to the many charitable organizations in town in the past is now willing to slap his or her wallet shut because a "gang" of boys were frightening.  In fact, I am willing to bet that the author has probably rethought those unfiltered words.

Whether or not there are rude boys in town does not change the fact that the educational system and facilities here on the coast are in dire need of repair.  Education tied with jobs creation is the only way the children here will ever escape the gravitational pull of our villages.

Northerners will not fix the problem.  But we can nibble at the edges.  And we should.

If I encounter those marauding gangs next year, I plan to stand on my front lawn waving my cane over my head, while I yell:  "You darn, kids.  Get a haircut -- and a good-paying jobs with benefits.  And get off of my lawn."

It may not be snappy, but it will make a darn good photograph.

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