12 April 2009

A shocking tale.

I tell a lot of stories about my first experiences in Mexico, especially in the little town of García in Nuevo León where I first came to live. Other than a small “farmacia” (pharmacy) and an “abarrotes” (small grocery store) there wasn't much of anything else in the way of shopping when I lived there. To get anything else one had to go about thirty kilometers. The old parish house that I lived in was built from rubble stone and adobe in 1804 and so there was always something to challenge my ingenuity if something broke and I needed to fix it. I remember one time the light switch in the bathroom broke, the one that turned on the overhead light. I could turn on the light in the hall and see well enough to use the toilet but that didn't help much when I was shaving. I tried shaving with a flashlight but a razor works better (just kidding). Anyway, it is very hard to shave in the light of a flashlight in front of a mirror. The light does all kinds of weird things. Learning to live contentedly in Mexico is learning the art of “making do” so I decided to handle the problem the Mexican way which is to deny that there is a problem in the first place when in fact there is only an inconvenience.

The first thing that I did was to carefully remove the light switch and throw it away. I said "carefully" because I couldn't find a fuse box and didn't even know if there was a fuse box. After the switch is removed you just have to be careful not to hold onto the two bare ends of the wires at the same time. Then, one at a time you bend little hooks on the ends of them and spread them out a little bit. When you want the light to come on you just bend them toward each other and hook the ends together and the slight tension in the bent wires will keep them hooked. Mexican people do this all the time in a pinch. The real tricky part is when you come into a dark room you have to gingerly feel around for the hole in the wall where there would normally be a switch plate and then you grab a wire by the insulation with each hand and “bump” them together to make the light flash. In the light of the flash you look really fast to see what you have to do to in order to hook the wires together. In the very beginning it is a bit nerve wracking but after awhile you get used to it. Just be careful when you go to shut off the light after taking a shower and everything is still damp or else you might be singing a new song called “Mexico, you light up my life”. Don't ask me how I know either.

3 comments:

glorv1 said...

I've read so many different things of all the inconveniences over there, but yet it seems the more inconveniences the stronger you become. I wonder how Steve is doing on his journey out that way somewhere. Take care.

Bob Mrotek said...

Not stronger, Gloria, but definitely much calmer :)

1st Mate said...

Seems to me a candle or a hurricane lamp (lighted in a brighter room and carried into the bathroom) would be the way to go. At least the house HAD a bathroom!

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.