4.06.2005

What Gilligan Really Needed

i spent last weekend in mexico city (insert woeful and longing sigh here) and it was a dream come true. you know when you build things up in your head and there's just no possible way reality can keep up? yes? well, this wasn't it. reality was even better.

during the weekend we took a side trip to san luis potosi for a rugby match. on the way back, our companeros had a little car trouble: the engine was overheating. on the side of highway 57, two men, ofo & jeffrey, peered under the hood of the car trying to fix the problem while roxy & i tried to stay out of the way...of them & oncoming traffic. after five minutes or so of pure dicking around, i suggest to the boys that a good solution, albeit temporary, is to turn on the heater.

"really?"

"si, really."

heater on, temperature guage takes a nose dive.

and we're off again! ... but not for long.

a mile or so later, jeffrey's car pulls off to the "side" of the road - into a dusty patch of dirt that backs up to a strip of cinderblock structures. a sign on one of the stuctures announces that they can fix tires. great! perhaps a mechanic is there, too?

no. of course not.

so as jeffrey & roxy wait in the car, ofo & i head off to find a mechanic. after stopping in to see at least four different mechanics, we finally stumble onto two young guys who look more like cholos than anything else. they offer to come with us to attempt to fix the car. as this is sunday AND we've found no better options, we take them up on it.

the cholos proceed to do the following in an attempt to fix the car: pull out several really big tools, get their hands really dirty, and flush out all of the antifreeze. still, nothing.

in all the to-do, several large, and some shirtless, mexican men have come out of the aforementioned structures to see what's going on. what do they find? two city boys who can't fix a car, a mexican model, and, probably, the whitest person they have ever seen. i felt like a spectacle.

after several hours of sitting in the sun and dust (and did i mention peeing in the mexican brush?), the car is started using only water & a very small peice of plastic.

evidence A of what gilligan really needed.

so, once again, we're off! ... but not for long.

not a mile later, ofo & i hear this thumpthumpthump and the car starts shaking.

"what's that?" he asks.

"i think it's a flat tire..."

"FUCK."

so, we're once again on the side of the road. we not only had a flat tire, but, as jeffrey said, ofo tore the fuck out of it. it was a goner. but ofo changed that tire, by himself, in less than five minutes and he hardly broke a sweat.

(glorious and totally sexy) evidence B of why gilligan was screwed.

so we're off! ... and for long. for about four hours this time.

we're just pulling into mexico city when we hear the all too familiar thumpthumpthump. yes, internet, a second flat tire. i started laughing and could. not. stop. i was completely amused. who cares that it's dark and we hardly have any money; this is hilarious.

(needless to say, ofo didn't find it quite has funny as i did.)

luckily, a tow truck stopped for us in less than five minutes. after a brief conversation, ofo comes running back to the car and says, "okay, i took care of it. he's going to fix it. get your stuff."

"uh...we're going with him?"

next thing i know i'm in the enormous diesel truck, flanked by ofo & the driver, and we're going over the edge of the highway.

after a brief drive and one unsuccessful stop, we finally stop at a little shack that looks strangely familiar to me...oh yeah, i had noticed it from the highway two days before. but tonight it is bustling: two men barely five feet tall, covered in grease and grime, are throwing around tires big enough for a semi truck. seriously, the tires are almost as tall as they are. and they're working on more than one tire at once - it was incredible.

i decided it was safe to venture from the car once several of the male customers had left. the truck diver and i start talking, and he realizes i'm from washington, dc.

"so, you must know world-wide currencies then?!"

"si..." the question was so absurd i almost thought i had misunderstood him.

he reached around to his back pocket, pulled out his wallet and showed me a foreign bill.

"i found this in the airport a year ago. i've been carrying it around but no one can tell me where it's from. i'm sure you can, since you're from dc."

so i look on one side, examining the text and the images - i have no idea. it's worth 10,000 whatevers, though. i flip it over, and i see 'zagreb.'

"this is from bosnia*! see this word here? that's a city. wow - bosnia. so cool, no?"

he didn't know bosnia.

"how much is it worth?"

"i have no idea. really, no idea."

"please, guess. it's very important. in american dollars, how much?"

"gosh, maybe $10? $20? really, i don't know."

"so, 100 or 200 pesos?" and he smiled.

this exchange, this improbable, totally coincidental moment, made me very, very happy. it made me feel like we were karmically even: he stopped to help us; i satisfied a mystery.

so the tire is fixed by the little, greasy man. the driver takes us back to the car. he and ofo replace the tire with sychronized, smooth movements.

evidence C.

once back in the car, i say to ofo, "i'm not sure if it's 'cause i'm a girl, or if it's cultural, but i'd never trust anyone who stopped to help me on the side of the road. never."

"oh, i didn't trust him either. i had my knife in my pocket the whole time."

evidence D.

if i were ever stuck on a deserted island, what would i take with me? not my lover, not my dog, not my best friend, not a book or music, not a water distiller...not even sunscreen.

i'd take a mexican. any ole mexican.

they're friendly, they make really plain food taste incredible, and man, they can fix things.

had gilligan had a mexican he'd have been off that island in no time at all.

************
*e2theLos realizes that the bill is croatian, not bosnian. but, it's practically the same thing.