If you believe the back windows of the taxis they drive, the taxistas of Oaxaca are a very moral group. For several months now, selected yellow taxis in the city (not the orange, blue or pink, mind you) have been sporting painted one-word virtues. Like the highball glasses my dad used to have. Though who wants to down a drink while thinking of Chastity or Prudence? And it’s not just taxis: José’s VW bug now sports Copiloto: La Reyna de Dallas (copilot: queen of Dallas) on the passenger side. Yeah, it’s misspelled: it should be reina.
. . . in the suburb of Santa Rosa on the hill above Oaxaca near José’s brother’s house, where we were taking a walk and suddenly ran into the whole gang on the wall behind a restaurant.
I can still sing the song: The indisputable leader of the gang, He’s the boss, he’s the pip, he’s the championship — He’s the most tip top Top Cat! (Now that I think about it, he was really a mafioso boss, wasn’t he? Or at the very least, a wise guy with his own gang of not-so-smart hoodlums like Benny the Ball). It only ran for one season in the 60’s when I was a kid, yet here’s Top Cat in Oaxaca: poetic justice since a cat in Mexico only has seven lives, not nine like in El Norte.
Just yesterday, after nearly five years of speaking – or trying to speak – Spanish, I meant to say to my tour group that the restaurant owner was saving up to buy a big screen TV, a pantalla (also the word used to describe a lamp shade). Instead, I said she was saving up to buy arch supports, plantillas.