Last Night in Carrillo

On my last night here in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, I had dinner and drinks with Alfredo and Monica. Monica is actually the one who, almost completely on her own, set up my next stop for me. Her friend Mauro is a wildlife vet studying vultures around the Calakmul reserve in the neighboring state of Campeche, and he always needs volunteers in his field studies.

    Last week, Monica very casually mentioned that she had talked to her friend and that he wanted me to email him. A couple of emails and some rearranged plans later, I was on my way out, almost a week ahead of schedule.

    As we were drinking, Monica stopped holding back all those questions about the US she hadn't yet asked me. Monica was a sociology major in college, so a lot of the questions were along those lines. After a couple of these, I asked her what her impression of the US was, and the results were quite interesting:
"I see the US as a really violent place, with a lot of problems with guns and drugs... but also as a place with a lot of advancements, a lot of education, a lot of money"
     The first part was a surprise to me, especially since we think of Mexico as a really violent place! When all you ever see of the US is news and (mostly violent) movies, its really not surprising at all that you would have that impression.

     The conversation drifted to Columbine and other school shootings, to the "Lockdown" shooting drills  held at my High School in Gloucester (VA), which were really just an excuse to search our lockers for drugs. At the mention of lockers, Monica's eyes lit up and her age halved itself.
"You have lockers?"
      I knew exactly where her mind was. You see, when Monica and I were growing up in our different parts of Mexico, we both formed an impression of the US based largely on the television program "Saved by the Bell." Much of the show's dialogue took place by the lockers at their high school, so when I learned that my family would be moving to the US, I naturally imagined myself standing with one hand on my locker, talking to some hot American "babe."

      I was quite disappointed to learn that, in fact, there are no lockers in the 5th grade, but Monica never moved to the US, so she still had that Saved by the Bell imagery in her mind.

      Hey, its better than Columbine.


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