today is beautiful in san pedro. warm and sunny and blue-skied, with the sound of our neighbors' wind chimes, and the best part being the smell of cut grass. patricio worked in the yard today. it feels like early summer.
i should have paid the phone bill on friday, but the film festival quickly put a veto stamp on that plan. neither of us were worried about it, though. if the water bill hadn't been paid in two years, a three-day delay couldn't possibly pose too much of a problem. so i headed out the door late this morning with a pocketful of exact change, enjoying the light outside and making my way up to the telmex offices of nicolas romero.
i have finally found a line to beat the new york department of motor vehicles; click on the image to see more detail. this is the third time i've paid the bill since we connected our phone here, but the line today was so long that i think my jaw really did come close to hitting the sidewalk. in the first picture, you can just barely see the company's blue logo peeking out above the flags of political campaign propaganda.
the first time i paid for phone service , i eagerly took advantage of our neighbor's kindness, asking her to accompany me to the telmex office. she'd offered to take me there for a number of reasons: to help me figure out where to find it, to help ask why i hadn't received a phone bill but rather a number of automated calls telling me to pay, to help me sign my life away to internet service, and also (bless her) to see if we could skip the line. one of her brothers works there, and just as we'd hoped, he kissed his sister, shook my hand, and quickly ushered us over to a desk where he discreetly checked my balance, made a note to look into the mysterious missing bill status, processed a payment, and introduced me to the lovely internet lady.
the second time i went, five automated payment machines had just been installed, so i skipped the line again and happily fed my paper pesos into the feeder. most people seemed uncomfortable with trying out the new system, preferring to wait a couple hours in line so a person could handle their payment. as much as i hated to see them suffering in the sun, i was secretly glad that it turned my payment time into a brief matter of minutes.
today, though, it seems that the automated payment has begun to catch on. the line in the photo above was, fortunately, not the one i had to stand in, but there was still a half-hour wait for the telmex atm's.
still, the day is lovely, and with the queue, the hundreds of conversations, and the food carts set up outside, paying the phone bill felt almost like going to the fair. i'm sure it would have lost it's appeal had i no choice but to wait in the other hours-long line, but i didn't, so i enjoyed it. and now i have another month of internet, sweet internet.
*when the grand majority of people answer the phone here, instead of saying "hola," they say "bueno?" apparently, the custom originated with those testing out the new system here to see if it really worked. somehow, it stuck--unlike the greeting alexander graham bell suggested for answering the phone: "ahoy hoy!" one of the few people to stick to that one isn't even real: mr. burns, of the simpsons.