Tuesday, April 15, 2008

street corner sociology

It was my fortune today to sit in the car for an hour in Tecoman waiting for a doctor's appointment. My right toe, a problem for some weeks, has flared up badly; swollen to the size of a small red balloon. I went up to the Clinica de Salud in town this morning but la doctora was not there. I was advised to go to the clinic in Armeria. When I came home I told Chuy that's where we were going. She was shocked, aghast! Oh no! Not there! Go to the Clinica Sagrado Corazon. Much better. Since she knows more about these things than I do we obeyed. I didn't have an appointment but could be seen at 12:30 by Doctor Burgos, an internal medicine guy and diabetes specialist. That gave us 1 1/2 hours to kill. We found a shady spot at a busy intersection and while the Patient dozed, I watched the city pass by. Here are some observations made during the wait.

1. Mexican women have beautiful hair, most of it worn long. As long as they don't dye it ~ like the brains-on-fire color of my hair cutter ~ or bleach it ~ there's a popular style these days of bleaching it in stripes; these women look like exotic zebras ~ it is almost always thick, lustrous and deep black. Very few women have short hair; I didn't see anyone under 50 with such a style.

2. Mexican drivers do not know the meaning of a stop sign. It's first come, first go. I watched perhaps 200 cars zip through the stop signs at these two one-way streets. Not a mishap among them, but a lot of lost opportunities for lucrative citations by the police. Of course, nobody pays tickets so why waste the ink and paper? Sometimes a car will slow down in the intersection to see what's coming, but that's rare.

3. Mexican men (and women) LOVE their pick-ups. The are almost universally shiny clean. They decorate them ~ I'm especially fond of the flames shooting front to back or the ball fringe jiggling in the back window. Many have gigantic sound systems cranked up to the top; a rolling disco. I don't know how they can think with all that noise.

4. Mexican men LOVE their children. They seem to have more patience than do the mothers. A man would rather carry his baby than push it in a stroller or make it walk beside him. In the supermarket, when the kiddies are screaming and wailing and the mom tells them to quiet down, the dad reaches in the cart, takes the unhappy infant in his arms and coos and soothes. And they are visibly proud of having these beautiful (and they are beautiful) tots. I have also noticed that there are far fewer children now than say 25 years ago. Families are getting smaller as the standard of living goes up.

5. Mexican women don 't wear shorts. Except at the beach, and then they are so tiny I'm not sure exactly what they are wearing. Women of a certain age ~ let's say over 40 ~ almost always wear dresses or skirts. Younger women do wear pants, mainly jeans. Older women rarely.

Mexican men rarely wear ties; I think our lawyer does, but the usual professional outfit is a short sleeved dress shirt with slacks. Men also wear the beautiful embroidered guayabera shirts, starched and pressed and gleaming against dark skin. I love those shirts. (I didn't actually see this hunk on the streets of Tecoman today, despite looking.)

6. Mexicans water the streets, not the lawns. Kitty-corner from where I was parked was a restaurant. A young women trooped in and out of the place carrying buckets of water which she threw in the street all along both sides of the place. This is to keep the dust down, I know, but would you rather have dust or mud on your floor? On second thought, it is also to keep the dust from settling on the tables, chairs, chips, salsa, customers, food or anything else exposed.

Then it was time to see the doc. He examined everything except my fillings, agreed that I have a problem with the toe, prescribed pills (amoxicillan) and injections, self-administered. I went to the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions. Of course they only had two days' worth of injection medicine; come back tomorrow for more. So I took what they had, along with two syringes. When I got home I examined the needles; they would scare a horse! I went to my neighbor who is a nurse because I was not going to be able to jab that HUGE needle into my fanny. She opened a sterile packet of needles, selected a much more acceptable one, and gave me the shot without further ado. I will let her do all seven of them. I remember when I first started insulin injections; we were spending the weekend in Bolinas and I HAD to do it. It must have taken me 45 minutes to work up the courage to stick myself. After that it was easy. But you should have seen THIS needle!

This has gone on long enough. More tomorrow, if I can think of anything. For now, I'm going to take my sick foot, put it in a nice clean sock, and tuck it in bed.


At 2:26 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

I just got home from work and read every word here ~ thanks for those observations and I hope the balloon toe is better on Wednesday.


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