The Odd Pot

Getting stuff

ONE OF THE many adventures connected to living on the hardscrabble outskirts of town is getting stuff, mostly stuff in the mail.

parcelThere is no house-to-house delivery in my neighborhood. What happens is that all the mail for a certain area is dropped off at a central spot, which can be a small, corner grocery or it can be somebody’s home.

You then have to go there, the store or the home of some stranger, and ask for your mail. Of course, you have to know mail has arrived in the first place. Nobody comes and tells you. It’s a mystery-challenge.

I avoid the problem most of the time by having a post office box downtown, which is where 99 percent of my pittance of mail goes.

The quantity is small due in large part to not getting junk mail like one gets above the Rio Bravo. I wonder if that’s still a problem up there, like dinnertime phone calls. I don’t get those anymore either.

But sometimes I buy stuff from Amazon, the Gringo version. Amazon just recently opened a Mexico branch, which is great. Here’s the problem with ordering from the Gringo version, which I still do if necessary when what I want is not on the Mexican site.

You never know how it’s going to be sent. Regular mail or express mail like FedEx or DHL. Asking does no good. And the express services do not deliver to post office boxes, or so they say. Mexican magic can make it happen on occasion, but don’t hold your breath for that.

So putting the delivery address on the Amazon package is like Russian Roulette. If I put the post office box and they send it DHL, I’ve got a problem. If I put my home address and it’s sent regular mail, I’ve got another problem, though not so serious.

My main problem with the central drop-off here in the neighborhood is that I’ve never trusted it. It seemed like a black hole.

On rare occasions in the past, when I knew something had been sent to my home address, I would go to the fellow’s house where all the mail is dropped off, just over the railroad track, and ask. His wife would answer the door. Or, more commonly, no one would answer.

If the wife answered, I would ask if her husband was home. He never was. I would ask for my mail. She would know absolutely nothing of the mail.  It was her husband’s job, not hers.

Repeated visits to the home got identical results. No answer or an absolutely clueless woman. Living here can be challenging.

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered camera accessories from the Gringo Amazon. For some reason, I assumed it would be sent express mail, so I put my home address on the package. It was sent snail mail instead.

Even so, Amazon provided tracking.

This morning, I checked. It was delivered yesterday, four days before the promised delivery of Aug. 10, next Monday. Though it had been “delivered,” it was nowhere in my line of sight.

Here’s where it gets juicy. That man who gets my mail in his home, the man with the clueless wife, the man who is never at home?

That man is the man I recently hired to weedeat my lawn. This means we have a personal relationship, very important, and not just that. I pay him money. He is now quite interested in me. I have hooked him.

Living in this country is all about personal relationships, which is why Mexicans have the reputation of being so freaking friendly.

Personal relationships facilitate lives. That’s true most everywhere, but it’s more true here. It can even keep you out of jail.

* * * *

While writing the above this afternoon, the doorbell rang. It was the package delivered by my “mailman” who weedeats the yard and lives just two blocks from here with the clueless woman.

The label says it arrived by something called MRU Post. I have no idea what that is. I have never heard of snail mail offering tracking, but this arrived in the typical two-weeks time of snail mail. It appears to be a new sort of snail mail. A Google search provided no answers.

It pays to have a personal relationship with the mailman. He never used to bring stuff to my house. Now he does. We are connected.

He likes the weedeating gig. And I like getting my mail.

Relationships.

The Odd Pot

Folks on the street

barefoot

THIS WOMAN sells something or other on our downtown streets. What makes her notable is that she walks barefoot year-round, and it gets dadgummed cold here in the winter.

She does it because she wants to, not because she has to.

chair

This fellow’s legs do not work right, so he gets about with this tricycle contraption. The pedals are up top and hand-driven, not down bottom where one normally finds pedals.

Note the crutches behind him and his sombrero. What’s particularly notable is that he’s always in a great mood. A smile helps when you’re asking for spare change, which is what he does.

If you want to see his nice smile, you’ll have to go here, which is a shameless come-on like you’d find outside a Bourbon Street strip joint or the flap of a circus tent where the bearded woman waits inside.

The Odd Pot

The coffee view

cafe

I WAKE UP early, go pour coffee from the machine that’s already got it waiting. I break off a touch of Bimbo toast and go upstairs to read the news and some gossip. This season it’ll still be dark outside.

dawg

As time passes, the day outside the window over the computer screen starts to lighten, turning from dead of night to dawn as the sun brightens the mountaintops. I finish the coffee and the touch of toast.

horseSometimes I stand and walk out onto the terraza to get a feel for things. I’ll check the thermometer that’s nailed to the exterior wooden frame of the screen door. This time of year, it’ll be the high 50s. Sweet!

I take a look around, always liking what I see, the neighborhood.

Next door, of course, I see the horse in his makeshift barn. The street out back is where a house sits with its permanent dog up top. I doubt he’s ever felt tierra firma. He’s the stereotypical Mexican roof dog.

hotel

The horse and the dog are off to the right and behind. To the left is the sex motel, which is the building with the windows. The closer section is the corner of our upstairs terraza, here where I am standing.

Appears all of one piece, but it’s not.

The day is dawning foggy, as many mornings do these days. It will blow off in a couple of hours, and clear, sunny skies will emerge.

Until it rains this afternoon.

It’s a great place to live.

The Odd Pot

A baby’s funeral

church

AS WE ENTERED the old church, I looked at the baby on the floor by the door, and my wife noticed the other one in the small casket up by the altar. We sat down, and listened to the recitation given by a woman seated somewhere among the crowd.

We had not intended to crash a baby’s funeral. We were just on a Sunday afternoon stroll around the neighborhood plaza. We saw the church open and heard things coming through that big door.

The baby the young woman is holding in the photo was on the floor, smiling at me. The young woman was seated by the door. The toddler was nearby. The dog was inside too. We entered and sat a few moments. Then we left and sat on a plaza bench across the street.

Normally, when someone dies in the neighborhood, the church bell gongs for hours. We had heard nothing for this baby’s funeral, and I’m thinking the child died before it was Baptized, meaning all bets are off. Perhaps to Hell with it or simply Purgatory. Doesn’t seem right.

Offhand, I don’t know how Catholics handle this, but I hope the baby’s getting a less-raw deal. There was no priest in sight. It appeared that the neighborhood was winging it for the child.

Hoping for the best.