21.01.2015 - 29.01.2015 78 °F
Here in Merida everyday begins with a morning wake up call.
Around dawn, a deep voice wafts high through the surrounding neighborhood, eclipsing all other
sounds except the chirpy birds in the trees right outside our window. The voice sounds like it's
yelling a long drawn out "Help". "Helllppp! Haallllpppp!" But the tone is more like an offer TO
HELP rather than a need for it, which is strangely comforting. We have heard this voice everyday
since we moved into our month-long rental stay. At first we tried to guess what it was but later
learned from the landlord that it is the voice of a man a few blocks away.
Our landlord doesn't like it and has confronted him to tone it down but to no avail.
One early morning, we decided to head to the Campo Deportivo (Sports camp) a few blocks away
to take advantage of the 7am Taebo class. We cross the street and see 'the Voice' weaving through
the cars stopped at a traffic signal. He turns out to be an older man in his 50's or 60's nonathletic with
a slight paunch. However he was seemingly possessed to sell the morning's newspaper to the outstretched
arms protruding from the autos heading to their prospective job sites. The earnestness with which he is operating gives me pause to
gaze at him respectfully and admire the fact that this older person is so completely dedicated to his amazingly
low paying job. It also reminds me of how much the elderly men here, who bag the groceries or offer to
push your cart to your car free of charge, also work for little or no pay. I had thought these people were being paid something
from the companies they "work" at but it turns out they do not and only get paid when a customer
gives them a few pesos for some small service ie. grocery bagging. In all the stores, these
elderly gentlemen are well-dressed, usually in all white, and always have a smile yet here they are EVERYDAY
working with no salary and truly dependent on the 'kindness of strangers'. They are like some modern day Don Quixotes
fighting to bring chivalry and goodness to a world filled with Sancho Panzas. Someone told me that it is what keeps the elderly from living on the streets or becoming beggars.
It appears to me the older workers set some kind of example since we've seen many hardworking
people here in Mexico. From the guys carrying bag after bag of heavy cement into a renovation
project in the 85 degree sun to the ladies selling peeled oranges along the streets
from dawn until dusk. In most of the touristy areas, the people are quite a bit more pushy
in their selling of a tour or timeshare but here in Merida, it is less so. I guess I've sort
of come to think of 'The Voice'- newspaper- seller as the defacto 'town crier'. Announcing to
all that it is time to "get to work and work hard all day no matter the low low pay." As a matter of fact, I read that this how Sting the singer/songwriter first started his singing career....selling newspapers by yelling on some small town corner UK street.
Now when my sleepy ears hear the human-rooster I think too, "It's time to get to work and to work hard
no matter the low low pay." Well, to me that last part matters but it's better than sitting
around and laying eggs all day. lol
P.S. Yeah I know roosters don't lay eggs.