Thursday, July 29, 2004
There is this public phone at the end of the parking lot here where I work. It’s attached to the wall by the doors of the County Unemployment Office. During any given hour of the day, one can find a seasonal worker using this phone.
You see, the town I work in, has a large agricultural base to it. There are blueberry farms and dairy farms and plant farms and pretty much every other type of farm you could imagine.
With the farms come farm workers, and most of them are from South America, Mexico it seems.
Getting back to that pay phone; like I’d said, the seasonal workers use it constantly. If you look down on the ground, you’ll see dozens of discarded calling cards with names like “Uno” or “Americana/Mexicano”, no doubt used by the workers to call home. To tell the family back in Villa Juarez how much money they’d be sending their way. Sometimes you can hear the voices of the men on the phone as the ramble on and on; talking excitedly to somebody in a place they themselves escaped from in the back of a pick up truck.
The other day, I noticed something was written on the side of the phone, on the metal plate that covers the side of the phone itself that offers the caller a supposed sense of privacy: There on the wall the following is written in a hurried scrawl, “Injections Letal for main-heads that steal people.” It’s obvious that letal should be lethal and so this odd little rhyme seems to be some dark curse on someone or something that has been taking lives. Beneath the few lines are several names, “Sylvia, Eric, Raoul…” I wonder; are these some of the stolen people?
I also wonder what a “main-head” is -- a boss, a company, a corporation…the whole thing seemed pretty creepy.
The next day as I pulled into the parking lot at work I saw a police car and two officers were standing by the pay phone taking photos, then they moved to the other side of the phone and started taking pictures of the wall and the mail boxes. I had to go see for my self what was up.
More scrawls, even more bizarre; “Injections Letal --- Black Magic being used --- this is not an act of terror, it is the work of Satan “Even more odd were the strange misspelled names of local business and farms and restaurants all being accused of “stealing people”… I confess the whole thing had me break out in a cold sweat.
Then, the social worker in me nudged the mystery loving part of me out of the way; “What we obviously have here is a poor soul with delusions, possibly a schizophrenic person letting the world know about the imagined conspiracy he or she is seeing all around themselves.”
Like I mentioned earlier, there is a very heavy concentration of these workers in this little town I work in. You see them in the fields of the farms, or in small groups walking on the side of the road or riding bicycles … they are kind of the new sharecropper. I am sure few if any of them make a decent wage, or have any type of medical coverage…I wonder truly how bad things were for them in their own country that they risked their lives to come here and be treated little better than slaves.
I wonder a lot about this kind of stuff.
I wonder about the “main-heads” and I wonder about that poor tortured, displaced soul, so desperate to be heard, he or she shares their personal gospel of paranoia with a grease pencil on a phone booth wall and a mail box.