Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cartoon 3: El Metro, Whoa!

I am here in Mexico City until July 15th (my bday!:)) getting everything ready to leave:  [getting the van fixed up, designing and getting the portable aerial rig built, creating a show with Joaquín and Daniel that we can perform along the way to make some $, etc.]   And guess how lucky I am? A friend of a friend happens to desperately need to learn a little English because he is traveling to Germany for work! So I have a steady income for about a month! Yupiiiii!! Its interesting because for homework I asked my
student to bring in an article about the differences between folks in the US and folks here in Mexico. One of the things that the article noted about people from the US is that we base our lives around our work.  I guess in other places life revolves around family? spirituality? I'm not sure because I've never experienced anything different.  Anybody have an experience of this?  For me, I think its really true.  Having a regular job somehow makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing even though I may not believe in the work I'm doing or feel like I'm really pursuing my unique path.

Anyway, I ride the metro to and from my job and goodness gracious it is just crazy the quantity of people that are stuffed into these trains! And the informal economy is really strong here so every five seconds someone passes by selling something.  On the way here for example, I was offered BandAids, Klennex, lollipops, ink stamps, Disney coloring books, gum, permanent markers and bifocals.  With this comic I want to share a little laugh I had the other day when I remembered something that happened in the metro in New York.  A guy got on the metro with his drum and started singing Bob Marley's 'One Love' and the man next to me said 'Ugh! How annoying.' I think he felt like his personal space was being invaded.  The contrast just made me giggle, here people are so used to it. Its funny how a behavior in one place can be seen as so wrong while in another it's just plain normal.

Next week I'm going to tell you about something
amazing and beautiful that happened to me in the metro. :)


  1. i love you and you/this are/is amazing. fyi.

  2. You never subcribe to my blog! mmm... hahahaha...

  3. I love the cartoons!! Having traveled all around Latin America myself, dealing with my own preconceived notions, I think it's beautiful you've found such and amazing way to share your thoughts and feelings. Go clown Sara!

  4. We went downtown today on the metro today and ran into the same thing. I really believe that many people in the U.S. live to work. When you see the people of the informal economy here in Mexico, you see the opposite: they work to live. Basically, it seems that their lives revolve around work for different reasons. What are yours?

  5. I like your previous observation of the rigidity of form in the U.S.A.. Seems part of that comes out in compartmentalization of spaces and people like expecting a subway car to be a place just for getting from A to B. In India I was surprised one morning when walking past a community shrine in a city with steps leading up all four sides to the little stone building with room inside for an old statue and one person. On that occasion the person inside was an older woman doing puja. On the front steps below her were a few young guys hanging out eating chaat. On the steps to the right were some vendors sitting surrounded by trinkets and cloth. On the steps to the left was someone lying down asleep while others debated what I'll assume was politics. And someone else was urinating on the steps on the back side of the shrine while a beggar gave me his best performance out front. All of it facilitated by the shrine, and all as sacred as the rest in the melange of Indian life. Hope the beggar master (beggars' manager) was happy with his cut that day.

    A latino friend illumined the work/family differences on the two sides of the Rio Grande for me when he told me how -after asking quick questions on a few occasions of the latina manager of a group he was working with at a company here in the states- he saw her in the hall and asked her a work related question that only warranted a yes/no answer. She looked at him ignoring his question and with great flourish greeted him saying how it had been so long since they'd talked and asking how he was doing and how his family was and ... After a pointed ten minutes of catching up with social matters she finally reminded him that they were latinos and had their proprieties to take care of before finally asking what his work question was.

    I compare that with a friend who worked for Coca Cola and received training on site and at retreats, gifted books, and repeated management encouragement to set and remember personal priorities -such as family concerns being the reason for working a job. Not what some might expect from a large corporation, but it wasn't uncommon twenty years ago. In both cases friends were encouraged to evaluate their priorities and adjust them accordingly. The difference lies with one encouraging reflection and growth and the other encouraging adopting what someone else considered normative for a subset of interactions. Basically the corporate stance in this setup promoted integral development of the person while the demand for special cultural treatment pressed for maintaining multiple personas. I've never managed more than one persona convincingly. How about you?

    Time to grab a drum and head to the park. Seems normal for a Sunday afternoon to me.

  6. ok, so this is my third attempt to write something, obviously i´m better moving from line to line on the subway than posting on your blog.
    Anyway, your drawings made me think of the public spaces in big cities and how much goes on there: parks, streets, buses, the subway, and also how people try to take a piece of those public spaces for their own use, moreover when it is time and space what we lack the most here at defectuoso, and we´ve got to have just a little of both to experience life.
    And so, people create a perfect stage on the trains of the DeFectuoso metro system: we EAT our meals (something i couldn´t do in paris cause an old lady scolded me and pointed out my bad manners); we SLEEP(it´s always amazing how people manage to wake up a few seconds before they have to gef off); women get their MAKE UP or their HAIR done (as you pointed out in your spoon lesson, something that takes practice); we READ(men usually "read" or better scan pictures of murders and almost nude women in the cheapest papers that are also sold inside the subway system / other options are sports newspapers, self-help books or copies from university books); young people do HOMEWORK(for some reason, it´s usually theiR English or math exercises); we enjoy or suffer different PERFORMANCES(the elderly and the blind singing with or without music, people telling their sad, sad stories asking for help, people trying to convice others to hace a political education, teenagers that live on the streets doing a fakir act -something that is quite confusing); we share our LOVE(young and not so young people kissing, and kissing, and kissing)... And then again, you could just IGNORE all of this, and start your own personal musical, phylosophical, etc. journey.
    All of this only stops when all the passengers hear the sound of the doors closing. And just when the train start its way again, each passenger grabs his/her own journey bag to continue in the same way or with a new destination.
    So far, I´ve just loved your travel bag, with your drawings and words, and thoughts and feelings. Love sharing DeFectuoso with you!