Saturday, May 23, 2009

Who Was That Masked Man?

No, not The Lone Ranger.

I expected to see almost everyone wearing surgical face masks here in Mexico. In fact, I bought 5 to bring with me and wear in the airports, on planes, etc. (haven't used them) Instead, their use is fairly uncommon. On the street, no one is really using masks. Where you do see it is in restaurants, where the servers wear them. But you can tell the enthusiasm for it is waning. You often see masks worn around the neck, under the chin, covering up....NOTHING. Well, at least they made an effort, right?

The pandemic fear hasn't slowed down the cultural tradition of the kiss (peck) on the cheek. You do this in greeting for those of your close friends. It's simply polite and what's done. Well, face masks, be damned! I saw a lady rush up to greet a male friend. Both had on face masks. Kiss, kiss. Behind the masks. Now that's cultural adaptation!

It's the time-honored Mexican spirit of the "work-around."

Snapshot: today, I got lost on the bus. I do that. Just get on a bus going in what appears to be the right direction. Surprise, surprise. I wound up....God knows where. I walked dozens of blocks to get to another bus that would take me back downtown. Funnily enough, I finished up on a street called "Martires de Chicago" (the martyrs of Chicago...what that refers to, have no idea). Having lived 20+ years in Chicago, maybe I am also a Chicago Martyr? There were some tough years up there.... But the bus driver was cool. He'd "personalized" his wheels--red velvet curtain with fringe blocked the sun on the top part of the windshield. The rear view mirror, encircled with a RED feather boa. A touch of class, I think. Got to respect a bus driver like that.