Batteries, Milk And Eggs

Batteries, Milk And Eggs

By Ron Knight



Mexico is a hell of a country for Type A Personalities. If you think you’re gonna be in the driver’s seat, you quickly learn to ride in the back seat of the car. And if that’s not far enough, you pack yourself up to take a nap in the trunk.

Another day when the telephone service and the internet goes down. People say this happens a lot in Mexico, so they’ll tell you that you really can’t do business here. Not so. Since you can’t communicate with anyone, it just becomes a good day for a field trip. Today, I went to a Fonda to have a 5 year old Sprite. That wasn’t really my intention, since I asked for a Penafiel Aqua Mineral, but out came a bottled Sprite, and I know it was five years old because the copyright notice on the label with the trademark said C 2009. I’m absolutely sure that no one here has copied that Sprite, since it’s been copyrighted, and even if they tried, they couldn’t get anything out on a phone call or the internet to do anything with it.

Taking a break from what you’re doing for Life’s greatest interruptions and interventions isn’t unique to Mexico. Cable systems go down in many parts of the States. All it has to do is rain or snow, and the whole system gets waterlogged.

In Florida, they have Hurricane parties, where they know a hurricane is coming. So they shut down the hatches, close up the plantation storm windows, pile in a load of booze and party in the storm while blowing around saying “There goes the neighborhood.”

In New York, they have blizzards, and everyone makes a run on every local store to buy batteries, milk and eggs. Batteries, milk and eggs? I always wonder what everyone is planning on making during a minus 17 degree tornado… electric french toast? Batter fried batteries? EverReady pancakes?

In California, they have earthquakes, and then it’s said you just can’t know when it’s gonna hit. At least with a hurricane or blizzard, you get some days notice and you might opt to get the flock out of Dodge. Animals know when something disruptive is gonna hit. You see cows gathered together in a huddle, before a storm, talking about something we don’t know. The next morning, when it’s kowabunga, they look up at you as if to say, “Well, we tried to tell you last night!?”

Friday afternoon and the phone and the web still aren’t back online. So of course, there’s no way to call Telmex to ask when the phone is gonna be working. I do know where the Telmex office is, so I hop in the car to go talk with the main office. When I get there, people are coming out, and they’re asking me “are you here to ask about your phone service being out?” I replied, “Yes. Then I gather it’s out? “Yes, it’s out everywhere.” “What about your internet? “I don’t know, haven’t used it today.” “Haven’t used it today? What are you? Retired?”

I tell the folks in the office that I’m half way up the mountain and ask if the problem area is that big? Yes, it’s that big. Will this be fixed by this weekend? Sabado? Domingo? She replied, “No este problema, will be solved hoy.” Okay, she sounded confident, like she knew what she was talking about. But every Mexican sounds confident like they know what they’re talking about, even when you ask for directions and they have no clue, but they tell you distinct directions anyway. We wished each other a good weekend, and off I drove to go find another 5 year old Sprite.

Now it’s Friday at 5:00 PM. I have returned to mi casa, and the internet and the phone is still out. When this happened to me last year, I called to tell them my internet was out still at around 4:30 in the afternoon also on a Friday. They replied, “Well the guy was in the field, but you can’t expect him to do anything now, it’s going on 5:00 o’clock, and it’s the weekend.” That time, I knew the guy was at my place working on the wire, because he had shimmied up the phone pole in front of my condo, opened up the box enclosure on top, pulled out the braces and dingle bobs, and gave the wires a haircut. Leaving what appeared to be a bird’s nest of electrical mishmash wide open and dangling from the open box encasement above, dropping towards the street, the service guy was gone because… it’s the weekend.

I thought it odd that he’d leave his electrical work open and exposed to the elements, you know in case a bird looks at that nest, flies in there, takes a large bird crap inside; maybe it starts to rain again while people say, that’s funny, this isn’t the rainy season, and why not have the entire grid explode when anything gets into that open box of dangling wires? Why not? Carlos Slim may be very smart while he’s planning on rewiring the lake with fiber optic. Let the insurance company pay for the blow up. And how would he know to get the idea? Ah, a little bird told him.

It’s 8:13 in the evening and my internet came back up! Great. I don’t have to print this out and mail it to the magazine, hoping it gets there by Friday. Unless of course, I look out the window, and my neighbor’s cow or bull is standing on the Telmex line… in which case… the mail would probably be faster.


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Ojo Del Lago
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