Sunday, March 25, 2012

Friendly Neighborhood Cartel


The cartel (or plural I should say) is everywhere here. EVERY. WHERE. Every family has somebody, at least a cousin or a neighbor or freind that they know who is in it. I've talked about this before and I'm pretty over it. It's an every day thing.

Any business that's larger than a garage sale in your house is run or maintained or somehow once-in-a-while controlled by them. Sometimes they show up in the flea market where my husband works and demand payment for the "right" to sell there. If you want to set up a new business in your neighborhood you better talk to "the guy." Every gas station has a "guy" that'll hang around sometimes. Yes, there's the violence here, not on our street thank God, and even a couple of weeks ago my husband was hired a wee bit by force to fix some special peoples washing machine. Not physical force, more of a you-better-get-your-ass-over-here-by-tommorow kind of force.

The same special people also wanted to buy a washer from us and they didn't want to pay full price. They demanded that my husband bring it to their house at a certain time and that they would "bargain" there. We were freaked. We figured they'd just steal it and hoped they wouldn't beat my husband up but all was well, too much soprano watching I guess. The guy still tried to bargain down but my husband held his ground (eeeeeeee!! he's a live wire my husband! I totally would have caved!) and the guy didn't blink an eye, just had his "girlfriend" pay what my husband asked and told him that his cousin wanted him to go and fix his washer next.

Sometimes word-of-mouth is great. Sometimes it's interesting.

Anyways.

You see them driving around everywhere, THE ARE everywhere, it's life.

But today, hooray! They came to the rescue.

My husband was at a stop sign this morning and a big Semi-truck wasn't paying attention and RAN OVER the front corner of my husbands truck. Just like that. He was sitting there - and got ran over. The guy must not have seen him, it happens. Anyhoo, my husband was flipping out and arguing with the trucker that he or his company would have to pay for the damages and the diver was denying everything and about to drive off (to which my husband would have followed to the end of the earth!) when our freindly neighborhood cartel man pulled up.

My husband was across the street trying to find someone with a cell phone to call the police and the cartel guy was talking to the truck driver. When my husband got back he asked the guy if he could use his cell phone to call the police but there was no need. The truck driver was already shaking in his boots and his boss was on his way. The boss came and the cartel guy stood there and made sure everything went favorable in my husbands defense, made sure that the company was going to fix and pay for everything, and went off on his way. My husband tried to thank him but the guy was in a "yeah whatever" mood, and was gone. Kind of like a REALLY moody Spiderman. With an AK-47. I digress.

That simple. A few threats from cartel guy and our truck is being fixed as we speak.

Why?

Um. Well I don't know exactly. We don't KNOW this cartel guy and aside from fixing some washers and paying "dues," my husband has never been involved with them. The guy didn't even SEE my husband and was already threatening the truck driver.

I think, and this is just my babble, but I think it has to do with the underlying culture of Mexico. Here in Mexico the urge and willingness and basic NEED of people to stick together and help one another out is SO strong. Families, friends, co-workers, neighbors and just aquaintances will go WAY above and beyond what I've ever witnessed in the U.S. to help one another here. Not that people aren't helpful in the U.S. but these folks make sticking-together put super glue to shame.

And where do the cartel workers come from? Here. They are Mexicans and it's in their blood-culture to help people out. Maybe their day job isn't exactly kosher (uh, ya think?) but when it comes down to certain situations their blood kicks in and not only do they help out, but they use their position to get it done - RIGHT QUICK. I've heard lots of stories of this happening but never known if they were true before.

So. Well shit you know? If it hadn't been for this guy today the police would have come and mayyyyybe made the trucker's company pay. MAYBE. But if they did, they sure as hell would have "charged" my husband for their "services." Police work doesn't come free here. 'Sposed to, but well, you know. Not so much.

And that's that. That's what happened today and that's my blabber. Not much else to say, just wanted to share what happened today.