ESTEBAN URBINA has died. He was the face of our town. His deadpan mug appeared in art galleries and on murals.
But, more than anywhere else, on the sidewalk, hawking.
He made a living — loosely speaking — by selling straw fans on the streets.
Though I’ve watched him for many years and even purchased a couple of his wares long ago, I only wrote about him last September in a post simply titled The fan man.
If his fame ever earned him a single peso, you couldn’t tell it by looking at him. He always looked precisely the same, like he’d awakened in the morning next to a garbage dump, reached in the pile for his attire, dressed and headed downtown.
The sombrero says it all. See below.
He reportedly died of a heart attack. His age is unknown although I read one report that he was 104, which is patent nonsense. Due to his disheveled physical and sartorial state, his age was hard to guess. I’d put him between 65 and 75.
Years ago, he was followed around by a younger fan vendor who resembled him in attire. It likely was a son. And the son was only a slight bit less unkempt. I have not seen the son in a long time. Maybe he went on to better things.
Perhaps he’s sporting a coat and tie in Guadalajara and selling time-shares or pork futures.
Urbina will be missed. R.I.P.