You can say we survived the "Winter Storm of '07" here in our end of life. Personally, I didn't think it was such a big deal. Diego thought it was a REALLY big deal and wouldn't stop calling everything snow. "Look daddy, SNOW!" "That's ice, mijo." "Look daddy, SNOW!" "Put that dead cat down, son. It's frozen." Stuff like that. He also went stir crazy. I found him one morning running circles on his bed and laughing a goofy laugh. "Honey, grab your purse! We gotta run the boy out!" So we went to that bastion that so definitively marks us as being "civilized" -- the mall. Did the trick, though. A couple of hours later and he was wishing he could go home again. Ahh . . . nothing like miles and miles of pavement.

Along the route, I discovered some of the old familiar roads we travel were worn for the wear. Seems mother nature had taken her toll on the older portions of the roads, worn by busses and the sun . . . certainly the recent water and freeze didn't help matters much.

Up the road from our parking lot, there are two particular spots that, after every good soaking, open up all over again -- perpetual pot holes, it seems.

Oh, people come by and fill them in after a couple of weeks. At first, I was a little suprised that they would re-appear after a rain . . . not so suprised anymore. In fact, it's so predictable, I just instinctively swerve to avoid hitting the holes. They appear in the sames spots, every single time; I know exactly how far to the left I should go, then to the right, then back left again . . . straight, quick left, slow float to the right (middle of the road), slow float back the left and I'm turning left into my parking lot. Kinda like a combination lock. Speaking of those. I hate combination locks. And why are we required to spin twice before executing the combination? And more importantly, why do I do it? I mean it, I'm an idiot. Even if no one's looking, there I am, spinning the thing twice before I attempt the combination. . . but I digress.

Maybe dodging pot holes is in my genes. Boy, do I wish that were true! Metaphorically speaking, of course. True story: About 12 years ago I took a bus trip down to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico to try to bring my grandfather back to San Antonio for a visit. He was about 80 years old and my father didn't want him taking the road trip on his own. So, my father thinks up the brilliant idea to have me go down there, and "trick" my grandfather into letting me drive him back to Texas. Stupid idea. My grandfather knew what was up the second I called from the bus station. "Papa Arturo? Si. Here I am, out of the blue, in Mexico. Yes. Yes. . . yes. I came just to see you. Yes. No, I'm not drunk this time. Yes. No, for real, I'm not drinking . . . yet. I'm coming over." The first thing he tells me when I get out of the taxi in front of his house is, "You can tell your father I'm not letting you drive me to SA." I thought, "Crap! What the heck did I just ride 5 hours with a chicken and a goat for??" Oh, well. We proceeded to have a couple of beers and shoot the bull. The next day, I drove us over to visit one of his daughters (my aunt, you see).

Let me explain something to you. In Mexico, an engineer's idea of city planning is a lot like . . . how should I put this . . . a musician's idea of city planning. They just kinda go with the flow. If they need a street, they build a street. Never mind that in about 10 years, people may need to connect another street to it, without thinking that they should erect street signs, without thinking that a straight street is important, or that maybe the thing should be even driveable. I'm not saying it's a bad system, it's just a system I'm vastly unprepared to drive in. But my grandfather, this was his jungle, boy.

So, after a nice visit and fabulous dinner at my aunt's house, it's time to go home. The sun is setting and I want to get my drink on before it's too late. There we go, driving along. My grandfather couldn't much see in the day, at twilight even less. I couldn't, for the life of me, remember how to get home. "Papa Arturo? You think you could set me hip to some directions back to your pad?" "Oh, si, mijo! Just take Guadalupe to San Fernando, hang a left at Santa Clara, do a dog-leg at the corn vendor's stand, hang a "U"-ey at the spotted goat, turn left at Revolucion, a right at Simon Bolivar, and there you are." "Um. . . right." "Oh, don't worry, mijo. I'll tell you as we go." This really instilled confidence -- a nearly-blind man leading me, throught the dark, home. Right.

Sure enough, though. There he was, sitting shot gun and telling me exactly where to turn, how far to go straight, to watch out for that traffic light because it never stays green long enough (as if it really matters in Mexico!), to slowly start getting into the middle lane ("There are lanes??), and even -- yes, no lie -- "in about 5 meters there will be a HUGE pot hole. You'll want to avoid that."

Let me tell you something. That summer night, so long ago, I'll never forget it. Here was this man, nearly blind but with the tallest vision of anyone I knew, so grand in my eyes, leading me -- a young upstart who thought he had the world by the testicles -- through the night, in a foreign world, down foreign roads into the darkness of unfamiliarity, this truly had an impact in my life. I will never forget it.

I wondered how many times did he smack those pot holes that he knew where they were; and could tell me about them? How many times? How many people had he seen cream those holes only to be left without an axle on their road? How many times had those holes been covered up only to be drilled and carved out again by the rain that always comes? And it always comes.

Seems these holes up my road have been there at least a couple of times before. I should go wake up Diego and tell him where they are.

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