In México at this time of year you will often hear the phrase "La Cuesta de Enero" which is a play on words meaning "The Hill of January" or "The Burden of January" or perhaps even "The Cost of January". It refers to the time after all of the Christmas celebrations are over and the bills must be paid. It is a time when after having paid for the Las Posadas, Las Piñatas, La Fiesta de Nochebuena (Dec 24th), and Los Regalos de Los Reyes Magos (Jan 6th) a lot of people are looking for "préstamos" (loans) and the pawn shops here do a very good business. During the three week period beginning with the posadas and ending with the three kings the expense can't be spared and all too often, and with the help of a little tequila, the expense gets quite out of control. After all the partying is over, however, the rent and the light bill must still be paid and people have to eat. All of the party fever of December turns into the long drawn out hangover of January and a tough upward climb to solvency. No wonder that St. Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers!
During the last few weeks I have taken some weekend tours of the cities surrounding Irapuato where I live and I don't remember seeing the level of economic activity so low as I have this year. I am thinking that the long upward climb is going to continue past January and well into the next year. It may even turn out that we eventually refer to the coming year as "La Cuesta de 2009. In the U.S. the banks and the mortgage companies have already received their Christmas presents and the auto companies will soon be receiving theirs…all paid for out of the retirement savings of the baby boom generation. Not much else for many of us boomers to do except turn and face the future, lean into the harness once again, take up the slack, and start climbing.
¡Adelante compañeros! ¡Pónganse a jalar!
Forward companions! Get to work! (Put yourselves to pulling!)
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