The corn vendor

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I POSTED THIS photo on The Satellite Moon some days back, and the more I look at it the more I like it.

The girl, as do others, sells roasted corn on the main plaza downtown. I have watched her grow up, as I have watched many young vendors downtown since I settled here 15 years back.

During my first year below the border I was talking with a female friend who lived in Mexico City. We were in a coffee shop in that chaotic capital, and a woebegone woman walked by. I commented that the passer-by had a very sad look on her face.

My friend replied: Mexico is full of sad women.

15 thoughts on “The corn vendor”

  1. That is something that I noticed years ago, the sadness in the faces of older women in Mexico. Mostly the lips that were turned down at the edges. Women’s faces that had succumbed to the tolls of a life that had not lived up to expectations, I supposed. Some still hung onto fading looks, but knew soon that too would vanish. The young faces had smiles, laughs and faces that looked forward to a life yet to unfold, and I wondered how long that would last.

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    1. Bob: Young people, of course, are usually far more optimistic than their elders. But the Latino macho thing is often not kind to women. They irony is that the women encourage it — enabling as psychobabble has it — while simultaneously complaining about it.

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      1. Eventually, everyone’s body has to surrender to their DNA. This is particularly difficult for those that were once beautiful. Those of us born ugly know and accept our fate.
        Nature has been particularly cruel to women. They spend one week mad and angry because they are expecting the curse. The next week because they have the darn thing, and then the next week because they just suffered through it.
        And somehow, it is all our fault. As my wife says, they don’t call it menstrution and menopause for nothing.

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      1. Señor Gill: Boy, you know how to take a detour. But it’s fine. It never was anything of importance. Non-melanoma skin cancer. I’ve had the little buggers at least 40 times over the last three decades. You get them burned, frozen or cut off, and that’s it. At the moment, I have no problem. But it will no doubt show up again in the future. Not to worry. I’m just paying the price for my sun-worshiping, carefree, riding-motorcycles-half-naked youth.

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  2. I have been pondering your choice of adjectives. I am not certain sadness is what I see in the face of many Mexican women. Perhaps, acceptance or resignation. The look strikes me as one of those complex emotional accretions that shy away from easy categorization. The young women in your shot, for instance, does not seem sad to me. But she already has the look of having surrendered and accepted her fate that has been dealt out by some uncaring force. And that strikes me as sad.

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    1. Steve: The position and attitudes of Mexican women are many, of course. What I see in the face of the girl in the photo, more than anything, is worry. And with the guys that God gave them, Mexican women have lots to worry about.

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  3. It’s got to be a tough life to be an elote vendor, whether you’re a man or woman. I see plenty of sad looking men in Mexico too, so I don’t think it’s a gender-specific problem, though women more often have the additional burden of children.

    Being poor and just scraping by has got to be tough wherever you are, whether that be (where you live) or the streets of New York City.

    Unfortunately, there are so many young people everywhere who don’t realize the importance of learning some skills and getting ahead in life, even if only by a little bit.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Wellfleet, MA
    Where there seem to be lots of happy, rich people, enjoying their vacations. I’m counting my blessings.

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    1. Kim: Have to disagree on this. Men, I would wager, are generally far happier in Mexico than are the womenfolk. How could they not be with the gals waiting on them hand and foot while knowing the guys so often have their girlfriends — or entire other families — on the side.

      As for being poor and scraping by, that often is the case and often it is unnecessary. The economic and educational opportunities here grow by the day. Many Mexicans do not take advantage of these opportunities. The problem is cultural. This old saw comes to mind: Been down so long it looks like up to me.

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  4. In my mountaintop pueblo, I see sadness and happiness in the faces of people of all ages. So, I’ll have to disagree.

    It’s a great photo though in spite of the terrified look on the young girl’s face. How would that photo look in blanco & negro?

    By the way (never using BTW again), is using long dashes the new correct correct thing instead of multiple dots maestro?

    I got my camera repaired for only 300 pesos (thank you Kim G for the suggestion).

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    1. Jeff: I considered making that photo black and white — my preference — and dropping it on my B&W photo site, but the red of the car, the blue of her blouse and especially the yellow of the corn compelled me to stick it on the Satellite Moon site instead, where all is bright and colorful.

      By the way, it is great that you’re shunning BTW, as we should avoid all those lazy shortcuts. As for the dashes, one school of thought, I learned recently (from Jennifer Rose, I think), separates dashes into two categories. I am not of that school. To me, there are dashes, which have a space on each end, and there are hyphens, which do not. And those are your two options. People often confuse the two, which is why I do not divide dashes into two categories because that just causes more confusion.

      A dash on a keyboard is obtained by typing two hyphens together. It comes out as a dash in print, not two hyphens. You get a hyphen by simply hitting the hyphen button. A hyphen is shorter than a dash.

      A 20-year-old man gets hyphens. Ages used this way are often, even by otherwise literate people, done wrong. They write 20 year old man, a horror.

      A dash — two hyphens together — is another matter.

      Thanks for letting me mouth off on this matter.

      As for camera repair, I don’t know why I let Kim beat me to that suggestion. Silly me. I had a camera freeze up on me a few years back. I took it to a camera repair place (some would type, probably correctly, camera-repair place) in the nearby state capital, and it was back in working order rapidly at a good price.

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    2. P.S.: I just noticed I did not answer your question about dashes replacing multiple dots. Multiple dots? The only place for a series of dots is the ellipsis, which always consists of just three periods — never 12 or 25 — and is used to indicate an omission in a sentence or a word. Ellipses and dashes are different things altogether.

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      1. Good clear explanation. I’m always open to learning or re-learning.Thanks! If you can explain what this means from your posting above, class will adjourn: “This old saw comes to mind”. I’m guessing you meant “song” instead of “saw” — correct señor?

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