As everyone who has been to lakeside’s north shore knows, the Carretera is the only artery to thread through all the many small villages that surround the lake, and, as a result, is often choked with traffic, traffic signal breakdowns, cement trucks driven by former stunt drivers, and, recently, roadside excavations almost as deep as the potholes.
That said, as a longtime pedestrian who has spent hours crossing and recrossing with a coach to make sure I get it right, I’d like to offer some advice and advanced planning, plus a list of who to call for traumatic head injuries.
Before you do anything, seek the advice of a trusted friend. First ask: “Do I really need to cross the Carretera?” If he or she becomes morose and asks you to sit down and have a drink, they are probably going to try to talk you out of it.
If you insist ...
1. Wear bright clothing. Red is best. Other useful clothing options include a large white-plumed hat.
2. Avoid crossing at spots where there are flowered shrines commemorating an accident. Steering clear of these areas adds to your probability of arriving safely on the other side (of the Carretera, that is).
3. Arrange to cross with a friend. In this way, if one of you becomes light-headed from the fumes and the long wait for traffic to clear and wanders off, the other can call for emergency assistance.
4. Pin your IMSS card to your hat – possibly at the base of your plume.
5. As you approach the asphalt portion of the road, be sure to look both ways at least three times. If there are no cars or trucks coming from either direction or from hidden laterals, take out your white surrender flag and wave it briskly over your head to alert everyone in the area that you will be making a risky maneuver.
6. If you decide to look for a cop controlling traffic before you cross, make sure the person you see in the intersection is a traffic officer. Someone signaling with his arms could mean he has been stuck in the middle of the Carretera for hours and is gesturing for help or has decided to do Tai Chi to help relax himself.
7. Leap across in long bounds, shouting, “Please don’t run me down! Please don’t run me down!” until you are safely on the other side.
8. Once across, be sure that you have accomplished every possible chore. If you are going on a shopping trip, also add in a trip to your doctor and your lawyer. If the church is there, stop in and thank God that you have made it across and pray for the safe crossing of others. If you are considering a sex change operation, try to have it done while you are there, too.
9. Plan carefully for your return trip over the Carretera by retracing your steps and following the exact same procedures for re-crossing. If you are carrying heavy groceries or other purchases and they are unbreakable, throw or roll them across before you start. This will make it easier to race across between raging cement trucks.
10. Update your will.
Finally, once you are home safely, remain there until you have the cement dust and emission fumes out of your lungs. And always, as a Good Samaritan, make yourself available for counsel to others who are thinking about making the trip.