You have to picture this in your mind because, for several reasons, I have no photos.
The other night, my teacher colleagues headed back to Oaxaca in a taxi, and I, as usual, stayed behind to take in the quiet of Tlacochahuaya and to take a bus home. I got a moto taxi to the highway crossing.
Once I hopped out of the moto, a man had all sorts of questions for me: where was I going, what was I doing, etc. Upon discovering that I needed to get back to Oaxaca, he told me I could not walk on the hot asphalt they were pouring. I knew they were pouring it. For one, I could see it. And, the bus we’d come in on had been stopped by the process. I told him I was fine, that I’d walk across the pedestrian bridge. He wanted to show me the way, but I insisted it was right there and I had crossed before.
As I sat on the other side of the highway watching the roadwork and traffic and other commuters coming and going, I watched this same “helpful” man trying to assist a local woman to get a taxi in the narrow spot where she could stand. It would be silly for a cab to stop there with the road so narrowed because of the work and the high speeds and the fact that she could have walked not even an eighth of a mile more and we all would have been safer, but she didn’t.
As I was watching the Danger Channel, a van deposited two ladies and seven boxes of produce and other goods in front of the bus stop. As they arrived it started to rain. I was helping them lug the boxes under the bus shelter before the pouring really began, and I noticed the traffic had stopped in both directions. There was a sort of quiet (except for the weather).
Then, the water truck came rolling by to cool the tar. We couldn’t hear her scream, but we could see the foolish woman gesticulating wildly as the water truck seemed to aim for her.
Unabashedly, I laughed out loud. The other two ladies looked at me, looked back at the steaming new pavement and the woman stomping down the road, and decided to laugh with me.