Friday, October 25, 2013

pile driving man

I am different.

At least, when it comes to driving in Mexico.

Most expatriates will tell you that driving is dangerous here.  So dangerous that they are often surprised to arrive at their destinations in one piece.

For me, driving in Mexico is the very essence of adventure.  Emily Dickinson had it all wrong.  We do not join death in his carriage.  We make him sit in the passenger seat of our car and gleefully tell him: "Just watch this."

But even I am surprised now and then at what I encounter on Mexican roads.  Take the photograph at the top of this post, for instance.

It is a truck from the national electric company heading through town with a load of new concrete poles.  The camera foreshortens the fact that the poles are positioned at an angle to make them very simple to unload.  With a quick tap on the brakes, for instance.

You can see the angle better here.

And the only thing dividing the poles on the trucks from poles as pile drivers through Steve's chest?  That thin piece of nylon rope.  Thin enough that it would not be an adequate tow line for a skier.

It turned out that one of those trucks was on its way to my neighborhood.  To replace crumbling poles and to upgrade the transmission lines.

It should have occurred to me that if men are up on poles and lines are in the street, the power in my house would be off.  It was.  No computer.  No fans.  No refrigerator.

So, out I went to watch the show.  A neighbor, who was weeding in front of her place, came over to talk with me while we marveled at how smoothly the work was going -- and how authorities up north would have a fit at the safety "violations."

As we said that, the crew was swinging a pole off of the truck.  It missed hitting us both by about a foot or so.  But it missed.  And that was good enough.

The crew worked all day.  Long enough that the contents of my refrigerator were beginning to take on room temperature.  But around 5, the job was done.  The power was back on.  And I could return to the computer while the fans blew hot, humid air on me.

Another neighbor joined me for dinner at The frog last night.  We both marveled at how orderly the new lines look.  As if they had been installed in Stockholm.  Well, maybe Stockholm of another century.

The lines are all straight and parallel,and look far more substantial.  The concrete poles appear as if they could hold up to tropical deterioration for five years or so.

The fact that we have electricity pleases me.  That the infrastructure looks nice is merely cream cheese on the sushi.

Now, if Carlos Slim would show the same concern for my internet, I would be a happy, but sweaty, camper.

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