Perhaps it’s because of being a product of two large cities on both U.S. coasts; (Miami and Los Angeles) or perhaps as a product of the baby boom era; whatever the basis, I see now what people living in smaller cities and towns possibly experience, on a daily basis. I now get a small fraction of it.
Is this why we live where we do? Are we all maybe, just secretly, in search of the simpler way of life? Those without a long commute or jobs we hate may already be there.
Take for example the picture above taken by me today while shopping in La Paz, Baja, California, at a non descript mercado (supermarket). Inside, a well stocked grocery store complete with deli and meat counter; while outside, a charcoal fed rotisserie awaits the morning chickens and other cuts of meats.
Inside, like most of Mexico, the correct amount of employees to assist in every way. Memories of the not too distant past, from Portland to Los Angeles, where large chain stores can’t seem to provide more than one or two employee to ring up your purchases or a teenager to bag up your purchases. And why won’t they let us tip them? Store policy, I’m told. I recall as a teenager bagging groceries, “where shopping is a pleasure”, Publix. A one dollar tip was considered a great tip, here ten pesos is a great tip.
Easy in, shop, easy out and with plenty of parking too. From my vantage point is a taxi stand with a friendly senior willing to drive you and your groceries home or to your party. His vacated taxi stop fills up almost the moment he gets a fare.
The man riding in the back of the pick up truck does not concern himself with double parking, meters or even meter patrols. He chats to his friend on the street, also not concerned about getting run over, cursed at, or given the evil eye by a passing motorist. The motorcycle driver chooses to wear a helmet or not; helmets down here seem to be more a style choice, as most don’t strap them on.
The bike vendor, now smoking a cigarette is selling street donuts and sweets, locally made by his wife of 35 years. This market has employed and fed generations. Today the outside could use a little sidewalk power washing, paint and updating of the lighting. Otherwise it is as it was when it first opened.
On this Saturday, the outdoor organic market is about two blocks away and around the corner, you could buy anything from homemade tamales to fresh organic produce, and without a vendors license. At the market Patti purchased two bottles of Mexican wines, salmon pate, a homemade loaf of rustica bread and “finally” the last touches to tonight’s dinner party meal.
Yes, we are taking it all in and experiencing daily life as a cruiser. We wake daily on a boat. We shop twice a week. We eat out. To me, a Norman Rockwell sort of moments. What would Norman paint now, if he saw the same scene, right here ad now. Everyone in the picture I took is looking away. Perhaps Norman would get everyone to look our way, add a dog, a Mexican sombrero, and the missing children.
This guy Norman Rockwell painted America the way America was. “A Simpler Time”.
Electronics, in my picture don’t now appear so evident. No one is now talking on the cell phone and employees are not texting. They are in tune with the jobs they were hired to do. No blaring televisions in the store to remind us of how we need to spend our money.
The kids are missing? Of course, why should they feel the need to go shopping. Here the aisles are full of real f o o d – not junk food with two aisles of cereals and one of candy. Kids are somewhere else playing. Once again, another Norman Rockwell moment.
And above another Spanish lesson. To the left “ellos” means HIM, as in Men. To the right, “ellas” means, HER, as in Women.