Ask and you will receive!

On Friday, I was driving home past the Parque de las Americas. As I got closer, I noticed that filming was happening, right at the intersection. I felt nervous because getting across Avenida Colón is frightening at the best of times, and with the equipment, props, actors, cameramen, directors, and bystanders… it would be even more of a challenge. Everyone seemed to be wandering all over the place, busily doing their jobs, without too much concern for cars. I, of course was most anxious not to hit anyone!

And what was the subject of this great production? Best I could see… it was a variation on the theme of: “Your Tax Pesos At Work.” A promo of the City’s street cleaning operation was in the making. The stars, decked out in new beige and orange uniforms were positioned at different distances from the fellow with a gigantic video camera, and when the jefe (in a double knit polo shirt) said, “¡Ya!” –  they walked forward, jauntily carrying brooms, shovels and a weed-whacker. Several takes were necessary because the fellows were not too experienced at being video stars and they forgot to smile, or they looked down, or didn’t look at the camera. There were four of them and each had to play his part just right.

But finally, the take was completed to everyone’s satisfaction and the line of waiting cars was waved through. As I passed one of the bosses in a polo shirt, I said, “Why don’t you bring those guys up to my street; there’s lots of overgrowth to be cut down and trash to pick up…  add some realism to your film? He took down my address and said they’d certainly come by… and ¡Muchas Gracias! for my fine suggestion… Of course no one showed up to film Act II on my litter-strewn roadway and sidewalk.

BUT… Sunday morning at 7 am, we were awoken by the sound of weed-whackers – whacking… brooms – sweeping… shovels – dumping… and eight good-natured young men singing. The crew had arrived and Calle 7 was getting a thorough make-over. I went out to thank them (two big bottles of Coke under my arm) They opened that elixir right away and took big grateful gulps… It was already H-O-T by 7 am and they told me, they’d been on the job since 5 am. I asked them if I could take a picture?  They did not have to be asked twice… they were experienced at this and they jumped up and struck a pose in front of their truck.

I was charmed, as I am about so many things in Mérida. You know the people here can turn an ordinary event into a fiesta. They laugh and joke about everything and I know their good humor rubs off on me. When I am asked, “Why do you live here? Why is it such a special place?” I inevitably answer, “Because of the people!”  Guys like the Sunday morning clean-up crew… and the many other hard-working, honest citizens I encounter every day. I try to be as gracious with them as they are with me…

Ask, and you will receive!



Filed under Vida Latina

12 responses to “Ask and you will receive!

  1. Now, if I could only ask the WIND to cooperate! One day I saw a plastic bag blow right out of the back of a garbage truck! And another day I was marveling at a huge white butterfly flying over the pool. But, alas, it was not–it was a piece of Kleenex!

    But you are so right that asking can bring rewards. I recall asking some agency (don’t recall which one) for the installation of a drain in the street in front of my driveway: Installed, quickly. So with storms, at least I do not have to wade out onto the street.

  2. YucatanMan

    I once had a summer job where we used the original “weed whackers” to cut weeds along roadways, sidewalks, parking lots. They were just a wooden handle with an “L” shaped blade on the end. You arms provided the horsepower as you swung it back and forth, all day long.

    Anyone who’s ever done that kind of work knows what a miracle the “weed eaters” with gas or electric motors are today. Almost magical, in fact, in the face of that muscle-aching (but building!) work.

    My amazement comes from the hats, the shades, the cloths, the vests, the long sleeves and rubber boots: how can they take the heat in all that gear? My heart goes out to all the manual laborers who make our lives easier and better. It’s dreadfully difficult work. And it is always amazing to hear the Yucatecans joking and laughing while working away.

    They could teach us a lot if we’d just pause to truly see and hear.

    • You bet! My “walk a mile in my shoes”experience was with waiting tables. I did a fair bit of it in my younger years and I know what a difference it made to my day when patrons were respectful and kind to me. And now when a person in the service industry responds positively to my good humor, it enriches my day. Back and forth… back and forth…

  3. Nice! Made me smile, and I like that!

  4. Lee

    I love the presentation of the weed whacker at their feet.

  5. Marianne

    I reply with the same message I put on hammockmanpaul’s blog this morning, regarding his answer to Gorbman’s last blog post: “What you’re looking for is looking for you.”

    • Exactly! I find that what I put out there comes back in spades. Of course there are unpleasant experiences some times… but sure don’t happen all the time.

  6. Patricia Mathisen

    Wonderful Joanna! It is so lovely to wake up on a Monday morning, open your blog, and begin the day with the warmth (not to mention a chuckle and a long lasting smile) your piece brings.

    Just one more illlustration why so many of us are in love with Merida and are so very honored to be able to live here.

    Thank you again!


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