The switcheroo

New ImageA PAIR OF YOUNG ladies rang our doorbell this week. They said they were from City Hall and that all the house numbers in our neighborhood were being changed. They even had a can of black paint and a brush to slapdash the new numbers on the exteriors.

They said they wouldn’t do it on our front wall due to our stunning new paint job, done during the recent bakery construction, plus the old address numbers attached out there are artsy ceramic tile.

But we will have to do it. You can’t opt out.

My child bride answered the gate, not me. I would have asked questions. The first to enter my mind was, Does CFE know about this? That’s the Comisión Federal de Electricidad, the light company. In order to get most anything official recorded here, one usually must show a comprobante de domicilio, a proof of residence.

Your latest CFE bill normally does the trick. Your phone bill will work too, but we have no phone bill. A water receipt will suffice, but our water receipt is handwritten down on the plaza and doesn’t show an address.

The only option we have is the CFE bill.

You might ask: Can’t you just show your driver’s license? Makes sense, but you usually cannot. We also — unlike the silly Gringos — have laminated voter-identification cards.* That won’t work either, even though you have to show the light bill, etc., to get a driver’s license or a voter-identification card at the get-go.

Sometimes logic is in short supply hereabouts, but it’s what makes us so freaking colorful.

I went to CFE’s website and signed into my account. There is the old address, not the new one.

Here’s what I will do. I will buy the new numbers on more artsy ceramic tile, and I will attach them to the property wall just below the previous numbers. Yes, we will have both. Other than that, I’m not changing anything unless the CFE bill appears with the new numbers one day.

If that happens, I may have to change lots of stuff — banks, driver’s licenses, passports, online shipping addresses and so on. The list will be lengthy. Time will tell, but until then we’ll just have two addresses.

While this will be an inconvenience, I understand why it’s being done and embrace it. Currently, many — likely most — houses in our neighborhood have no number outside at all. And when they do, they often make no sense, as if the residents simply made them up, which is quite possible.

Let’s say our old number is 32. Guess where the old 34 is? Instead of next door where it belongs, it’s about four blocks down that-a-way — and on the other side of the street!

This explains why deliverymen often ask not only your house number but what two cross streets you are between. Our being next door to the only sex motel in the neighborhood simplifies matters for us.

If you’re delivering something, and you hear squeaking bed springs and howls of glee mixed with moans, well, you’re almost at the Hacienda. Brake soon and keep an eye peeled.

This standardization of addresses is just one detail in the ongoing modernization of Mexico, a good thing.

* * * *

* This sensibly insures that only citizens vote, plus it doubles as an official ID. Nobody thinks there’s anything discriminatory about their voter ID. We think it’s just common sense.

6 thoughts on “The switcheroo

  1. ‘Sometimes logic is in short supply hereabouts, but it’s what makes us so freaking colorful.’

    Could not be expressed more accurately. Getting organized no matter how much grief it may cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Señor Calpyso, good to hear from you. On the matter at hand, I am a hyper-organized person, so I wonder what on Earth I am doing here being a Mexican. I’m better suited to Switzerland or Singapore.


  2. Makes you wonder how they came up with the first set of numbers.

    I’ve also noticed that the address numbers in Mérida can be a bit crazy too, something I found out while fantasy property shopping and trying to find the facade of places via Google Streetview. That allows me to check out the neighborhood without having to leave the comfort of my gringo dining room.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where the streets don’t make sense, but the numbers do.


  3. One reason I bought the house was for its house number: “111.” Up north, it was “1010.” I am a digital kind of guy. If somebody in these parts starts fussing with the numbers, I might need a new house. Or I could just persuade the authorities to build around my number.


    1. Steve: This address change is a strange event. Clearly, we needed some sense to it, but I wonder if the powers that be fully considered the complications it will entail. Of course, it will all shake itself out in time.

      I bought my new ceramic numbers today, quite pretty. I will cement them in place sometime this week and, into the foreseeable future, I will have two addresses. The good news is that, in Mexico, this should not present any significant problem.


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