Secret Pop

Mar 7, 2003

Border Crossings, Real and Imagined

It takes more than stripes of paint to make a zebra of a donkey. So many other truths can be lifted from the grimy surface of a day trip to Mexico. What a rich trove of semiotic treasures lies just over yonder, past the trash river and just to the right of the soul of the place where the bad smell originates. You've also got to be exceedingly clever and sharp-minded and focused to be able to carry on a conversation or attempt an anecdote. Just as you're getting to the climax of your sentence, you'll have to pause to tell the mariachi band that you don't want a song just now or to regretfully decline the urging of the silver jewelry salesperson who is certain he has something you will like. One frank entrepreneur called out as I passed, "I need your money!" And I thought that was a refreshingly honest description of the transaction that would have ensued. He needs my money. In exchange, he will give me a colorful pile of crap. Or braid my hair for me.

But what then? What if you follow your tequila-rimmed excursion with a trip to the Asian market? Now, that's what I call adventuresome. A sort of ethno-bending escapade into that special place where -- whatever the language they're speaking -- they're able to read the markings on your cash currency. And that's all the reading they need. Asian markets are also disarmingly smelly. And there is a curious lot of yucky-sounding, isn't-that-actually-garbage foodstuffs being sold in your choice of fresh or frozen packaging. Many of these items have the required nutritional disclosures affixed to their outsides, but if you look closely you'll see the ingredients list says, "You don't want to know, sailor." So very little of this is true. I hope Asian marketeers aren't discouraged by my gibes. I'm known to buy cartloads of curiosities of the edible variety, and I'm not sorry anyone knows it.

My brain is all a-scatter. How far can a girl get on ninety minutes of sleep?

No comments: