Yesterday, someone smashed one of the windows of my car. The third one on the driver’s side. It’s a small window, and you can’t roll it down. Nothing was stolen because there was nothing in my car except seats and my swimming trunks. I take swimming trunks everywhere now.
My friend Gabi noticed at 2:45 AM, when we were leaving the bar we had been in for a while. She was on the passenger seat. We had just dropped off another friend, Rich. He didn’t notice, or he didn’t say anything. Gabi turned around as we were talking and she said “Creo que te dieron un cristalazo”, which is Spanish for “I think someone smashed your window”. I couldn’t see that particular window from the driver’s seat. It’s tiny and hidden behind other windows.
Gabi said it seemed like it had been an accident. No one would break THAT window intentionally. They hadn’t even tried to get in. What was their plan? My friend Ivan put his arm through the window and tried to open the door and couldn’t. Nothing else had been taken or destroyed.
We joked about someone leaving a post-it note.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, my attempt at robbing you failed. The window I chose to break was not a particularly useful window. At least it’s cheap (I think), so you won’t have to empty your wallet (Get it?). Have a very nice rest of your life.
So the next day I clean up the broken glass with Gabi’s help. She kept asking if I was upset. Of course I was, but it had happened before, so I was emotionally armed. I might have been more upset if they had taken my swimming trunks.
My friends and I went to have breakfast, then walked for a while, then went to take their bus back home. They were visiting. I had driven them around most of the weekend, touristing around Guadalajara. Then they left. It was a nice couple of days.
When I was driving back home, listening to the radio, I was bombarded with political party ads. If you live in Mexico or anywhere elections will be held soon, you know what I’m talking about. You know what I mean. If you don’t, here it goes.
There are ten political parties in Mexico. Here they are in the order I found them in Wikipedia:
- Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI)
- Partido Acción Nacional (PAN)
- Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD)
- Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM or Verde)
- Partido del Trabajo (PT)
- Movimiento Ciudadano (originally Convergencia)
- Nueva Alianza (PANAL)
- MORENA (Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional but some people think it’s a reference to the Guadalupe Virgin)
- Partido Encuentro Social
- Partido Humanista
All of these parties get free radio time. Also, all of the ads are directed to active members of the party. They’re transmitted nationwide, but you’re not supposed to pay attention if you’re not in the party. Excuse you.
From six to twelve AM (so eighteen hours) political parties have thirty minutes (assigned and distributed based on rules I would like to understand, but don’t) to play thirty second spots. According to Uniradio, 3.3 spots are played every hour, but that number seems a bit low for me. Maybe it changes depending on the radio station.
I don’t know, dear reader, if you have seen Enrique Peña Nieto’s TIME cover. I hope you haven’t, because you’re in for a treat. A google image search for “Saving Mexico” is a journey into the deep ends of Mexican Internet culture. Please go do it. I’ll wait here. Text isn’t going anywhere.
That the cover exists is amazing in itself, but so is the public response. Very few informed citizens are open about their support. It’s more of a hidden opinion. Supporting Peña Nieto is almost a guilty pleasure. In some social circles, it’s treated like a disease. But there he is, on the cover of one of the planet’s most famous magazines.
I’m going to stop writing about our president now, because this is not really about him. I’m not that political. I’ve never really liked getting into long discussions on the past, present and future of my country. It’s the phrase “Saving Mexico” that I’m particularly interested in.
Everyone is using it now.
Everyone wants to save Mexico now. Almost every political spot I’ve heard in the last two months has included some reference to saving us. Even the PRI wants to save us (and they’re currently in power). The other parties work very hard to convince you that your life is shit. You got no money. Your house is worth nothing. What kind of future do you want for your children? Is this what you want for your grand kids?
In one of the ads, my son tells me to do the right thing, and give him the government he deserves, or else he’ll do it himself. I think it’s a PT ad. He tells me we have to save Mexico.
In another one of the ads, a deep, sad voice asks me why I don’t have enough money. Where did all the missing people go? I think it’s a PRD ad. He tells me they’re lying to us. He tells me we would be better off with them. They could save Mexico.
Yesterday, someone smashed one of the windows of my car.
Last week, three guys robbed a convenience store downtown. They killed a guy.
Something happened last month.
I don’t know what it takes to act. Most of the time I feel powerless. Defeated. I focus my attention somewhere else. I deny it. I spend my time writing these things instead of running for senator. I have never gone on strike. I’m not a member of any political party. I don’t own a Mexican flag. I once stole a Gansito from a convenience store. I write in English.
I am in no way a model citizen.
Still, it is very hard for me to believe that voting for the right party is going to save Mexico. I would even argue that there is no ‘saving’ to be done. We are not circling an endless typhoon of misery. We are not dying, nor are we dead. We are going through a bad time. A very bad time.
I would like to invite you to picture someone that has really hurt you in some way in the past. I’m going to think about the guy who stole my stuff, you can think about whoever you want. Feel free to also not do this.
Picture that person sleeping.
Do they snore? Do they breathe loudly? Are they moving around in bed? Do your best to rid yourself of preconceptions about them. Whether you’re good or evil, you sleep. We sleep.
Picture them eating your favorite food.
Are they enjoying it as much as you do? What is their face doing? Do they chew with their mouth open or closed? Ask them if they liked it. Imagine their response. Whether you’re good or evil, you eat. We eat.
There is no ‘turn off crime’ switch. There is no ‘turn off war’ switch. There is no ‘Save Mexico’ switch. We are not machines. The only way we’re getting out of this is talking and acting. Not being afraid. Not shutting up. Shouting.
The last time someone broke into my car they took two years of my life. Two years of things. Two years of me.
There is no way I can prevent anyone from doing that again. Locks can be cracked as doors can be opened or kicked down. And car windows can be rolled down or smashed. Things can be taken. Things can be taken back.
Tomorrow I will save Mexico by replacing my car window.
Tomorrow I will save Mexico by reporting the incident to the police.
Tomorrow I will do my best to save Mexico even if I do happen to do the occasional illegal thing.
Today I will save Mexico by believing in us.
Not the president.