Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Annals of Douchebaggery

We realize that in the grand scale of criminal activity in Mexico, the attempted robbery of $1.70 is pretty far down on the list of outrages, but we're going to indulge ourselves here, because this one really pissed us off.

The guy in the jacket and cap at left is part of the security detail at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City. The Palacio is home to a series of Diego Rivera murals, and a number of important government offices, including, until recently, the president's. So, far from being just a rent-a-cop, this guy stands guard over a national cultural and political treasure. And as we alluded to above, he tried to steal a buck-seventy from us.

Passing through the metal detectors at the Palacio's entrance, we emptied our pockets of camera, cellphone, a couple of pens, and about a dozen coins, and placed them in a plastic basket, which Juan Candy here then picked up and carried for us as we walked through the detector. But when he picked up the basket, he scooped up two 10-peso coins and hid them under his fingers against the inside of the basket. It was a move performed with all the subtlety of a Mexican sitcom, prompting us to wonder, "What do we look like, fucking rubes?"

This guy - who is, by the way, an officer in the Mexican Army - then makes a great show of holding the basket out in front of us so we can retrieve the camera, cellphone, a couple of pens, and ten of the original dozen coins. Which we do. Then we stand there. He stands there. No one moves.

"Y las otras?" we ask. Pause.

Plink! Plink!
Our amigo releases the coins and lets them fall into the basket. He does this without flinching, without looking away, without showing the slightest hint of embarrassment or remorse, despite being caught in the act of pickpocketing a tourist inside the Placio Nacional.

"Thanks a bunch," we say to him, as we take our money and walk away. Later, we took several photographs of the Rivera murals despite the prohibition on flash photography. The atmosphere of impunity here really does breed lawlessness.

2 comments:

Krellinator said...

Outstanding post. Not that you need my say so.

Burro Hall said...

We always welcome words of encouragement.