A Good Show


The taxi driver tells us we have bad information. He is as blunt as a DMV employee, but for 60 pesos (fewer than $4) he agrees to the adventure. The address we have, he shows us on his iPhone, features no tianguis, no organic market. He stops at a tire shop to ask directions, mostly to appease us, to show he has tried. He’s not sure what to do with us, but he wants his fare, so he takes us to another market, knowing it is not our desired destination.

We walk though the crowds, people audibly noting our light hair and skin. They’re half aware that we have no idea of where we’ve landed.

I shyly ask a woman selling silver, “What is the name of this market? Where are we?” And she answers as if she knows us and understands how it might happen that we are part lost and happily wandering.

She says: “5 Senores,” and I know instantly the bus we can take home, how home is 40 cents away.

So we stop and have tacos at a table with two families.

The people all around us watch us as if we are television.

We make a good show.

This incident reminds me of Naomi Shihab Nye’s lovely poem “Famous.” Here is an excerpt:


The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds

watching him from the birdhouse.


The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

  • To whom and what are you famous and why? How does this fame make you feel? Like a stranger?

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