The hissy fits

fitWE MEXICANS love our hissy fits. They rarely resolve anything, but we throw them anyway. Here are three examples:

First: Eight or so years ago, Mexico City switched its electricity provider from some unionized outfit that ran an antiquated system to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad, the modern entity that provides light to most of the nation.

The unionized outfit promptly threw a hissy fit. For months, they blockaded the entrance to the CFE high-rise on Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City. The government ignored them.

These days the entrance is open, and electricity service is immeasurably improved.

Second: Mexico is in the early stages of an “education reform.” In part, this entails competency tests for teachers and they also lose the right to hand off their jobs to relatives on retirement. Unionized teachers promptly threw hissy fits.

The fits happened mostly in the usual suspect, backward states of Michoacán, Chiapas and Oaxaca. Unions blocked roads and highways, and squealed in the streets. The government is giving them lip service, but mostly it’s ignoring them.

Like the improved electricity provider in Mexico City, the education reform will happen.

Third, another reform is the energy sector, which is getting into high gear this year. For a variety of reasons, gas prices have gone up a lot. How did we react? We threw hissy fits, blocking highways, attacking gas stations, looting stores.

People want the old government-subsidized gasoline price. The government will ignore them and, in time, things will be better. Though gas prices likely will be higher.

Our hissy fits normally result in squat, but we throw them anyway. And it’s usually unions having the fits, fighting change, modernization and improvements.

The switcheroo

New ImageA PAIR OF YOUNG ladies rang our doorbell this week. They said they were from City Hall and that all the house numbers in our neighborhood were being changed. They even had a can of black paint and a brush to slapdash the new numbers on the exteriors.

They said they wouldn’t do it on our front wall due to our stunning new paint job, done during the recent bakery construction, plus the old address numbers attached out there are artsy ceramic tile.

But we will have to do it. You can’t opt out.

My child bride answered the gate, not me. I would have asked questions. The first to enter my mind was, Does CFE know about this? That’s the Comisión Federal de Electricidad, the light company. In order to get most anything official recorded here, one usually must show a comprobante de domicilio, a proof of residence.

Your latest CFE bill normally does the trick. Your phone bill will work too, but we have no phone bill. A water receipt will suffice, but our water receipt is handwritten down on the plaza and doesn’t show an address.

The only option we have is the CFE bill.

You might ask: Can’t you just show your driver’s license? Makes sense, but you usually cannot. We also — unlike the silly Gringos — have laminated voter-identification cards.* That won’t work either, even though you have to show the light bill, etc., to get a driver’s license or a voter-identification card at the get-go.

Sometimes logic is in short supply hereabouts, but it’s what makes us so freaking colorful.

I went to CFE’s website and signed into my account. There is the old address, not the new one.

Here’s what I will do. I will buy the new numbers on more artsy ceramic tile, and I will attach them to the property wall just below the previous numbers. Yes, we will have both. Other than that, I’m not changing anything unless the CFE bill appears with the new numbers one day.

If that happens, I may have to change lots of stuff — banks, driver’s licenses, passports, online shipping addresses and so on. The list will be lengthy. Time will tell, but until then we’ll just have two addresses.

While this will be an inconvenience, I understand why it’s being done and embrace it. Currently, many — likely most — houses in our neighborhood have no number outside at all. And when they do, they often make no sense, as if the residents simply made them up, which is quite possible.

Let’s say our old number is 32. Guess where the old 34 is? Instead of next door where it belongs, it’s about four blocks down that-a-way — and on the other side of the street!

This explains why deliverymen often ask not only your house number but what two cross streets you are between. Our being next door to the only sex motel in the neighborhood simplifies matters for us.

If you’re delivering something, and you hear squeaking bed springs and howls of glee mixed with moans, well, you’re almost at the Hacienda. Brake soon and keep an eye peeled.

This standardization of addresses is just one detail in the ongoing modernization of Mexico, a good thing.

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* This sensibly insures that only citizens vote, plus it doubles as an official ID. Nobody thinks there’s anything discriminatory about their voter ID. We think it’s just common sense.