A July report

Looking along the Alamo Wall on this drizzly morning.

—–

The Mexican mail system is famous for its pokiness, but today takes the cake. I did my biweekly run to the post office this morning to check my box, and there was a letter from Hearst pensions. It was dated back in January. I’ve had mail take a month or two on rare occasion but never six months. Stamped on the envelope was this message:

Missent to Malaysia.

Now that was quite a detour. I wish I could have gone along for the ride. But I don’t think Mexico did it. I think the Gringos were at fault. Mexico, Malaysia, it all looks the same to them.

Luckily, the Hearst envelope contained nothing of significance. But Social Security sends recipients who live outside the United States a yearly letter we must sign and return to prove we’re still alive.

The Social Security letter was not sent last year because of the Kung Flu. I imagine all those civil servants were at home, smiling, while their salaries were direct-deposited to their banks and they were out back grilling burgers on the barbie. So far the letter has not come this year either. It normally arrives in May or June.

Government employees must be loving the Kung Flu hysteria. Endless paid vacations. There’s a reason that governments almost everywhere are promoting Kung Flu. It’s manna from heaven.

If you work for the government.

—–

An annual appearance.

We’re hard into the rainy season now. The grass is green, and flowers are blooming. This morning, as I raised the curtain in the bedroom, I spotted a black-vented oriole perched on a red-hot poker plant.

And the hummingbirds are happy. This yellow flower comes from a bulb that hides underground most of the year, but it pops up a blooming plant annually about now to greet the rainfall.

Another plus to the daily rains is that it fills the galvanized tub from a rooftop drainpipe, and I just have to dip the watering can in there, easy peasy, as they say. You get your little pleasures where you can.

The watering can delivers drinks to the potted plants that live beneath the roof of the downstairs terraza.

It was drizzling when I drove to the post office around 9 a.m., and I wondered if Abel the Deadpan Yardman would show up today for the weekly mowing. As I write this at almost 11, he’s a no-show, and it’s not drizzling anymore. If he doesn’t come today, he’ll come tomorrow. He’s quite reliable, and he likes money, as we all do.

The ever-full tub of summer with water for the terraza plants.

Getting stuff

ONE OF THE many adventures connected to living on the hardscrabble outskirts of town is getting stuff, mostly stuff in the mail.

parcelThere is no house-to-house delivery in my neighborhood. What happens is that all the mail for a certain area is dropped off at a central spot, which can be a small, corner grocery or it can be somebody’s home.

You then have to go there, the store or the home of some stranger, and ask for your mail. Of course, you have to know mail has arrived in the first place. Nobody comes and tells you. It’s a mystery-challenge.

I avoid the problem most of the time by having a post office box downtown, which is where 99 percent of my pittance of mail goes.

The quantity is small due in large part to not getting junk mail like one gets above the Rio Bravo. I wonder if that’s still a problem up there, like dinnertime phone calls. I don’t get those anymore either.

But sometimes I buy stuff from Amazon, the Gringo version. Amazon just recently opened a Mexico branch, which is great. Here’s the problem with ordering from the Gringo version, which I still do if necessary when what I want is not on the Mexican site.

You never know how it’s going to be sent. Regular mail or express mail like FedEx or DHL. Asking does no good. And the express services do not deliver to post office boxes, or so they say. Mexican magic can make it happen on occasion, but don’t hold your breath for that.

So putting the delivery address on the Amazon package is like Russian Roulette. If I put the post office box and they send it DHL, I’ve got a problem. If I put my home address and it’s sent regular mail, I’ve got another problem, though not so serious.

My main problem with the central drop-off here in the neighborhood is that I’ve never trusted it. It seemed like a black hole.

On rare occasions in the past, when I knew something had been sent to my home address, I would go to the fellow’s house where all the mail is dropped off, just over the railroad track, and ask. His wife would answer the door. Or, more commonly, no one would answer.

If the wife answered, I would ask if her husband was home. He never was. I would ask for my mail. She would know absolutely nothing of the mail.  It was her husband’s job, not hers.

Repeated visits to the home got identical results. No answer or an absolutely clueless woman. Living here can be challenging.

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered camera accessories from the Gringo Amazon. For some reason, I assumed it would be sent express mail, so I put my home address on the package. It was sent snail mail instead.

Even so, Amazon provided tracking.

This morning, I checked. It was delivered yesterday, four days before the promised delivery of Aug. 10, next Monday. Though it had been “delivered,” it was nowhere in my line of sight.

Here’s where it gets juicy. That man who gets my mail in his home, the man with the clueless wife, the man who is never at home?

That man is the man I recently hired to weedeat my lawn. This means we have a personal relationship, very important, and not just that. I pay him money. He is now quite interested in me. I have hooked him.

Living in this country is all about personal relationships, which is why Mexicans have the reputation of being so freaking friendly.

Personal relationships facilitate lives. That’s true most everywhere, but it’s more true here. It can even keep you out of jail.

* * * *

While writing the above this afternoon, the doorbell rang. It was the package delivered by my “mailman” who weedeats the yard and lives just two blocks from here with the clueless woman.

The label says it arrived by something called MRU Post. I have no idea what that is. I have never heard of snail mail offering tracking, but this arrived in the typical two-weeks time of snail mail. It appears to be a new sort of snail mail. A Google search provided no answers.

It pays to have a personal relationship with the mailman. He never used to bring stuff to my house. Now he does. We are connected.

He likes the weedeating gig. And I like getting my mail.

Relationships.