Monochromatic Stop and Go Lights
April 24th, 2011 by Les

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”  Robert McCloskey

“Confusion is the welcome mat at the door of creativity.” Michael J. Gelb

If the look on my face is that of confusion, never fear it is merely the look I get when I am thinking.  It doesn’t happen often; thinking that is, so not to worry it will pass quickly.

I have been driving more lately.  Talk about confusion.  Being confused by what I think should be obvious (for instance a stop and go light) ultimately thinking it is obvious, and finding out obviously it isn’t obvious is the norm whence trundling through the streets of Ajijic and surrounding environs. 

If you commit to driving an automobile here in our little village or nearby villages you must be prepared for, well, anything.  Becoming one with the car (I kid you not) is imperative.  A sense of control is not going to overcome you as you become used to the fact there is no norm.  Norm, I truly do not believe, has ever been a part of the driving experience in Mexico.  I mean really, I absolutely refuse to drive in Guadalajara.  Talk about a mad house.

However, I’ve been walking the village and riding with David and others (who, I might add seem perilously close to maniacal once behind the wheel) I began to feel if not at ease with the thought of driving at least capable.  Famous last words.

Merely getting on to the carretera is a hoot.  It seems if I am, for instance, going to go toward Chapala the line of cars is so tight you could sneeze and end up in Jocotepec – which is the opposite direction.  People do wave you in – always a thoughtful gesture.  What one must be ever aware of is a wave can mean many things to many drivers.  A car may come up behind you, suddenly appear on your right without a turn signal indicating their desire to go either direction.  So now we have two cars together, my right turn signal is on, the car to my right does not have a signal indicating anything when suddenly another car appears on my left edging out into the small space the person who has waved has left on the carretera (highway).  That is when I smile because I don’t know what the hell is going on.

So here we are, gridlock in Ajijic.  Engines are running, foot on the gas the car to my right turns left, I turn right and the car to my left shoots into the parking lot adjoining the street while the guy waving us on puts his head on the steering wheel.

I’ve made it to main street Ajijic.  Does a sense of relief envelop me when I hit the carretera?  You have got to be kidding.  Will Rogers said something like he represented the last of a vanishing breed, the pedestrian.  The fact that he was still here he owed to a keen eye and nimble pair of legs.  However, he knew they’d get him some day. 

Our village has many pedestrians – nationals and international alike, as well as horses, roosters, dogs, goats, etc.  Add to that the ever popular cobblestones (lovely to look at and an adventure in walking when one is upon them), stop and go lights without illumination (meaning the red light doesn’t work or the yellow light or the green light…or, for that matter… all three don’t work).  Then there are people turning down streets that have arrows (they are on the sides of buildings not on signs) showing two-way traffic when there isn’t enough room for one car and inevitably there is a car coming at you.  What happens next – you have cars going one way and cars backing into the cars going one way while the nimble footed pedestrians, animals and whatever dart hither and yon trying desperately to make it across the street while the un-illuminated light adds to the mass confusion.  Hysteria reigns supreme affecting not merely those of us enshrined in our mobile units but those out taking life in hand and attempting to cross the street.

I leave you with this thought: George Carlin said: “Have you ever noticed that anyone driving slower then you is an idiot, and anyone going faster then you is a maniac?”  In our village anyone driving at all has both tendencies and all must remember – stop and go lights are monochromatic in nature – meaning – no color and no illumination.  Enjoy the free –for –all and maintain a sense of humor for the people of Mexico have a welcome mat at the door encouraging us to drive creatively!  Viva Mexico!

Below are photographs David took on Good Friday in the Village of Ajijic:

2 Responses  
  • Les Wollam writes:
    May 7th, 20111:41 pmat

    That really IS a crown of thorns!

  • David writes:
    May 7th, 201112:19 pmat

    these pictures of Jesus’ procession are wonderful. does he walk all the way up that hill marked by the 1s station?

    les wollam

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