Sunday, April 22, 2018

gladys kravitz packs her bags

It started with a crash.

One of those metallic chords that evoke fighter jets plummeting into a row of Quonset huts.

When I opened the front door, I almost expected to see three or four cars mangled into an Isamu Noguchi cube. But abstract expressionism is not what greeted me.

If you have visited here before, you know there are three vacant lots across from my house. They have hosted a pasture for wandering cattle and horses, a vegetable garden, and, at its highest usage, a home for a small group of goats whose numbers would rise and fall with the local demand for birria (stop kidding around).

But something new was afoot earlier in the month. A truck had just dumped off a pile of corrugated metal and a stack of steel poles that looked as if a giant child had mixed his erector set parts with his pick-up sticks.

My curiosity was soon sated. Cesar, my highly-entrepreneurial neighbor, had pastured a mare, her foal, and a burro on the lots. But, that enterprise turned out to have greater problems than anticipated. So, the livestock found new homes.

Where there once had been open range, Cole Porter's advice would be ignored. The lot was about to be fenced in -- with corrugated metal.

And, in the middle? The pièce de résistance. A chicken coop.

Well, a "chicken coop," if you use the term loose enough for a place where chickens can be confined (cooped up, if you will). Five hens and a very contented rooster, who proudly announces his presence each morning.

There have already been the inevitable jail breaks. Always the hens, who may not quite fancy the harem notion as much as the rooster.

Each escape has been accompanied with a bevy of young boys re-enacting an age-old tradition of the chicken chase.

The chicken coop has made getting in and out of my garage a bit tricky. But, every day I look at, I think how lucky I am to be living here in Mexico.

Had my neighbor attempted to build a similar fence and coop in my last home town in Oregon, he would have been stopped before the first piece of metal went up.

Not to mention the presence of the chickens. Salem actually has a regulation controlling chickens on your own property. Chickens. Your own property. A regulation.

I know where that livestock nonchalance comes from. When I was young, we lived in southern Oregon. If a neighbor had built a similar structure, we would have sauntered over to discuss what he was doing. And maybe make a suggestion for an improvement or two.

But, complain? Why? What he wants to do with his property is none of my business. The world could use fewer Gladys Kravitzes.

And that is similar to the discussion I had with Cesar. He hopes to turn the lot into a landscaped garden complete with a gazebo (thus the metal pick-up sticks).

If he does, great. If he doesn't, great. After all, it is none of my business.

That, in a jumping bean shell, is one of the things I like about Mexico. We don't need no stinkin' badges.

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