The camera has been safely stored in a bag somewhere around here so we haven’t been good about snapping shots of interesting happenings or sights. We could have taken some doozies here on the roads lately.
Had we had our camera in the car on Monday, Beth would have taken some great shots of an old Ford Ranger (pickup) that we passed coming down the mountain from camp. I am not really sure what the driver was hauling, but whatever it was, it came in large, lumpy plastic bags. The contents of the bags was not what was so appealing for taking a picture. It was the unbelievable height of all those bags. I’ve seen lots of similar scenes before here in Mexico, but this one was by far the winner. I’d have to guess that the pile of bags was 20 to 25 feet high.
How was this possible? Well…it wasn’t…but nonetheless it was happening. The sides of the pickup bed had a really tall, skimpy metal frame so as to hold the bags in something of an upright position. The main problems were that the bags were loaded at least 6 feet above the height of the side “scaffolding,” the entire left side of the truck itself was sagging under the weight, and the bed of the truck was so rusty, it appeared the whole left side of the truck would just drop off at any moment. It was literally shaking! Actually, the entire truck was leaning to the left at a precarious angle. The truck and cargo looked like it was customized by Italian engineers from Pisa.
I was very concerned because the road there is so narrow, should it all come tumbling down into the opposite lane, it would have blocked the road and we’d have been stuck there for a very long time. We could have turned around and gone another way but driving two hours around when we were about 2 minutes from the bottom of the mountain would have been rather painful! Praise God I found a brief opportunity to hold my breath and pass him at the fastest rate possible and we made it. I glanced in my mirror a few times to see if the whole enchilada had come tumbling down. There were too many curves to watch it happen.
To set up another road story, last week I began helping Tim O’Brien teach 4 ESL classes and I teach a 5th one by myself. It’s a great experience. I love teaching adults, especially using elementary teaching techniques! There are two sets of classes on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and then my solo class on Saturday afternoons. The Tuesday and Wednesday classes begin “precisely” at 7:30 pm (Mexican time…which means 7:35 or 7:40 or…) and end at precisely 10:15 pm (American time since we can control when we stop teaching).
It’s only about 5 1/2 miles over to the community center, and this is the first time that I’ve routinely driven over there and back so late. It is just turning dark at 7 pm these days and I’ve discovered some interesting facts about driving across our town at 7 and 11 pm.
At exactly 7 pm or at least at dusk, all stop signs disappear. Red lights appear to be green to other drivers. Entering intersections without looking is always the right of the driver approaching from your left and right. It’s simply amazing. I had never noticed this before, but I guess I’ve never routinely been out and about in the evenings in the thick of town too much. We live on the edge of our city, and when we come back from most of our routine driving to camp, or Querétaro, or a local store, we don’t really have to tangle with the traffic much.
Since making this trek across town in the evenings (only 4 times now), I’ve seen red lights blatantly run at least twice each time in the car (i.e.at least 4 times each round-trip!), stop signs really do become rather invisible, and I’ve had to swerve to avoid being T-boned…EVERY trip! It’s crazy!
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such bad driving here on such a routine basis. Of course, if one drives enough in Mexico, nothing really should be surprising on the roadways. I don’t even blink anymore when I see such things in the middle of a road here: bricks, concrete blocks, mufflers, misc. car parts, large unidentified objects, people, dogs, cows, horses, goats, sheep, boxes, crates, holes the size Delaware, abandoned cars, tires, and probably lots more stuff that I can’t remember off-hand. Unfortunately, those things are nothing compared to the other drivers! I still get a little frustrated, and I have a tendency to mutter while driving, but I try to remain calm and pretend I still have my sanctification, especially if the kids are in the car.
My father-in-law, Ken Hanna, was a notorious driver among those who ever rode with him. He was a great Christian man and missionary, but I’ve never prayed so hard than when I was a passenger in his vehicles. I have a number of poignant memories of riding with him. I can honestly say that once when he was driving, I briefly experienced the thrill of riding down a highway on only two wheels. (I’m not kidding!) I used to say, he lived like an angel but drove like a devil! Other missionaries have told me that they were certain Dad had a few guardian angels around his cars. He drove a lot here in Mexico so I am sure he needed them. Frankly, I think he needed them no matter in what country he drove! His driving didn’t get much better in Chicago as I recall.
So, once again…just a reminder: when we ask for prayer for safety while traveling, we really mean it! Sometimes I arrive home and wonder how I didn’t end up all smashed up. Guardian angels? Maybe so. After all, with Dad no longer here to drive, those angels are probably terribly bored and could use something interesting to do. I’ll take them!