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Going to the dogs… Lake Texcocobegone…

22 February 2005

09 de Marzo de 2005It hasn’t been so quiet here in Lake Tezcoco-be-gone. Like Rick, who moved to Casablanca for the waters, “I was misinformed”… here I thought I moved to Mexico City to be a semi-retired semi-scholar. “Gerente de desarrollo” seems to mean I do a little of everything…. I had to throw together a “PowerPoint presentation” for a big client, which only took about 150 hours to do (it was a short, 15-minute presentation), then work on giving the presentation, then interviewing about 60 people to determine their English comprehension level… and, somewhere in there, finding out one of our foreign teachers had gone AWOL (which meant replacing the teacher, moving classes around, and going out and talking to the “Advanced English” – i.e., executives – people whose classes were being switched around)… and then – just when it looked like I’d have a weekend to myself, getting a 3000 word translation over the transom (well, through the Windows anyway – this IS the 21st century, after all), picked up the project from Purgatory (I haven’t decided if it’s from Hell or not)… telephone screening people who are applying for jobs as English-speaking operators. The latter takes three of us several hours a week just to sit in a conference room and dial up the folks who sent in their resumes. It takes about four hours just to get ahold of 30 people, talk to them and try to figure out if they understand English well enough for the client to bother interviewing them. I need to find some down-and-out grammarians for that job… I donno, either look under a bridge, or in a Youth Hostel, I guess.Hopefully, it’s all going to pay off. The business is in that weird state where its growing faster than the resources… like we’re fighting for the one computer and all getting a bit cranky from lack of time for little things like … lunch somewhere in the middle of a very long day. We finally have to invest in things like an administrative assistant, which we found very, very close to home. In the home, to be exact. We use two rooms in Araceli’s garage for an office. Araceli is working every bit as much as I am, plus she’s got those two kids to raise. So, she needs a cleaning lady. And Hermilla is no ordinary cleaning lady… we can never find stuff after she’s been through, mostly because she puts it where it belongs. AND… when a delivery man stopped by, and needed our taxpayer number, Hermilla, unlike a normal cleaning lady, simply opened the checkbook, copied down the tax number, wrote the guy an invoice and sent him on his way…

Hermilla had been trained as a secretary, but stayed home to raise her kids, then at 35 was “too old”. So, she’s been cleaning houses. Happy ending? Hermilla surprised herself… she’s pregnant. Oh well, so we’ll add a baby to the two cats that wander through the office and Araceli’s kid and his buddies kicking futbals around the garage.

Yeah, yeah… I know… yesterday was International Woman’s Day. But Hermilla can make phone calls and the coffee. It’s still expected to have a female make the calls, and Araceli, who is an owner, has been doing it.

This is a big change. We actually have to make capital investments… like a real desk (we’ve been getting by on an old dining room table up to now) and another computer. Darn… that means I actually have to show up in that office now.

I haven’t even had time to read the newspaper. If there was “great tension” in Mexico City, I just didn’t have time to feel it. The “powers that be”, i.e., the Foxistas and the PRI, were hunkering down, expecting trouble when Congress voted to impeach our PRD “mayor” (Jefe de gobernacíon) for the serious crime of not answering his mail.

The attacks on AMLO, the jefe, have always been politically motivated. You can’t run for office if you’ve been convicted of a crime, and can’t be dragged into court if you’re a sitting office-holder, which is the reason for impeaching the guy. And only Congress can do that. None of the other parties likes to read that he’s polls about 2/3rds of all choices for the next president. And, it doesn’t make the U.S. government comfortable that he’s the head of a socialist party. The other parties found a contempt of court citation (based on not opening his mail) and started braying about how the “law is the law” – overlooking various peccadilloes of their own, naturally.

Congress hasn’t voted, and doesn’t look like they’re going to, so all the behind the scenes preparations – the PRI expected angry mobs of grannies (one reason for AMLO’s popularity has been giving 600 pesos a month in food stamps and cash assistance to senior citizens – not a huge amount of money, but enough to turn every geezer into a militant socialist) and hired their own private security force (the city police union backs AMLO). Agence France-Presse, who aren’t known as nervous nellies, expected lots of tear-gas canisters to be flying and bought gas masks for all their reporters. Darn… I haven’t seen a good riot around here in some time, either.

Besides all the pro-AMLO posters (everywhere… on buses, on peoples houses, on cars, on overpasses), advertising has temporary disappeared in a lot of places. The city fathers and the biggest outdoor advertising agency in Mexico had a little disagreement, and the city cancelled their contract. So, our buses look kind of naked right now. Silly me, I thought it was because the buses are coming off my main street (Insurgentes) supposedly the first of May. They’re going to be replaced by double-length buses running opposite traffic in special bus lanes, and stopping at their own stations. The stations have gone up as far as where I live, but Insurgentes is the longest city street in the world, and I don’t know if work will be finished on time. It’s Mexico, and nothing ever is.

What little personal life I have is going to the dogs. Poor Eva Peron was home alone all day, lucky to get out for a walk early in the AM, and late in the PM. Good thing she’s got a good bladder. Naming a dog for a politician was not a good idea, I’ve decided. I just named her that because she was a streetwise blonde of uncertain parentage and… this is Latin America. She’s also taken to building an entourage of poor dogs (Canello, the street mutt goes for walks with us), DEMANDS attention and is not above a little larceny… AND, — though I can’t completely blame her name for it – she’s developed a crush on German Shepherds… especially the one named Fuhrer. Fuhrer, naturally, raises his front paw when you say “Heil!” Scary in a park in a neighborhood where everybody seems to have a grandfather or great-grandfather who fled Europe in the 40s.

So… the little starving pup I found is going to have a good non-partisan name. I’m trying to find a home for the pup, but she’s keeping Eva company for now (though they fight for attention – I get licked to death when I get home, and the little one is able to climb. It thinks its half-parrot, and tries to sit on my shoulder). The little thing was a mess, and I thought it was a brown male poodle. It was too scared to let me close, and I had to muzzle it to get it home. It really stunk. After it calmed down enough to eat and let me close, it turned out – not to be gross – that a nasty boil was causing some gender confusion. After lancing the boil, and bathing the dog, and then bathing the little stinker again, there was another identity issue. This was not a brown male poodle. This is a white female ragmop dog. “White Female”… I’ve got to remember that. And, since it may not be a keeper-dog, “White Female” should work… except that in Nahuatl, that’s “Iztaccíhuatl”… more name than dog, though she’ll answer to Iztac.

Anybody want a cute little dog, recovering nicely from skin infections?

And that’s all the news from Lake Texcoco-be-gone, where all the men are overworked and underpaid, all the women are threatening to launch tear gas at French reporters and all the dogs are good looking.

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