Monday, February 02, 2015
checking my constitution
There were cars everywhere when I drove to the restaurant on Saturday night for the Cuba extravaganza.
And I had no idea why. Until I gave it some thought. I should have immediately figured it out. It is Constitution Day.
Well, not really. Constitution Day is 5 February -- one of Mexico's eight statutory public holidays. But Mexico has followed the benighted practice of its northern neighbor by celebrating holidays, that fall on a given day, not on that day, but rather on the nearest Monday.
Thus the Mexicans were taking advantage of a three-day weekend. But two other events also occurred over the weekend.
There was a wedding in town. And not just any wedding. People with status and lots of money were tying the knot.
How could I tell? All you needed to do was start toting up the number of luxury vehicles parked along the streets -- and the young Mexican couples walking around who appeared to have just arrived from their photo session of Upscale Living.
For the more devout, today is Candlemas -- the day when some Mexicans maintain the tradition of taking down their nativity scenes. Officially ending the Christmas season.
Some Mexicans. But not here. Our nativity scenes were stowed in the bodegas after the three kings stopped by to divvy up their booty. We are a town of commerce, not tradition.
I conducted one of my very unscientific poll by talking with 9 random Mexicans. My first question was why was there so much activity in town? (The restaurant where I was conducting the poll was filled with Mexican tourists.)
All 9 mentioned it had something to do with the constitution -- none mentioned Candlemas. Most assumed it involved the Mexican constitution, but a couple were uncertain of what a constitution might be. Only one identified it as the constitution of 1917. (A similar question about the Fourth of July in The States would undoubtedly engender similar answers.)
Our expatriate community was out and about, as well. But not for Candlemas, a wedding, or Constitution Day. They were looking for the best place to gather to see Seattle and New England beat the tar out of each other. It was Super Bowl Sunday.
My friends Lou and Wynn invited me over to watch the game with two friends visiting from Canada, and with Ben and Alexa of La Taza Negra (and their two young children: Ayden and Willow.) You know the four of them from A Mama's Logbook.
I suspect I have seen most Super Bowls in the homes of friends -- most often overseas. There is something exotic watching the quintessential American sport in surroundings where the game simply hasn't taken root.
Last night's game had the advantage of being an interesting and well-played game -- though I suspect the crows will be feeding on the carcass of the Seahawks' final play for some time. Monday morning quarterbacking is a multi-billion dollar industry, not to mention being guaranteed by the American Constitution. Somewhere in the First Amendment, I think.
Paul Allen and Russell Wilson may not be having a great time this week. But I certainly had a great time watching the game and sharing an incredible prime rib dinner. A brief power outage simply added to the festive nature of the evening.
You might be wondering why I would be enjoying a prime rib dinner during a game I professed to be enjoying. Let me explain how broadcast television works down here.
Barra de Navidad and Melaque are at the very edge of the satellite beaming area. Any small interference can simply stop transmission. The wind. Birds. Hillary Clinton shifting her position on a major issue.
But, usually, it is rain. And rain we had last night. Just as half time started, the transmission faded. And continued to fade until well into the fourth quarter.
By then, part of our group was in ecstasy. We had left the Seahawks tied with the Patriots when the screen went black. They were ahead when the transmission resumed.
We witnessed the Patriots' touchdown that put New England in the lead, and then the Seahawks' relentless march to the 1 yard line. Only to have Russell Wilson's pass intercepted by Malcolm Butler with 20 seconds to go. The game appeared to be over. There was to be no joy in the Mudville of the Pacific Northwest.
And, for us, it was. Over, that is.
The screen went black. Again. We missed what happened in those last 20 seconds of the game. Including Bruce Irvin's ejection for behavior that makes some of us wonder if football has turned into something other than a sport.
While we were bidding adios to Ben and his family, we noticed something unusual across the street. The rain was still doing its impression of Miami in August. The electrical wires run very close to a series of palm trees at that point. Perhaps too close.
In several places, contact with the wires was creating either sparks or small fires. It was no wonder that we had briefly lost power. Just another wonder of Mexico.
For me, the day held no wedding. Candlemas means nothing to me. And I doubt I gave any thought to the Mexican Constitution -- other than to wonder just how often I have violated Article 33. None today. I hope.
But it was a super day with super friends.
Just another reason I live in Mexico.