Don’t Look Now…
As I was sitting in the waiting room of the United States consulate here in Merida, something caught my eye. Taped awkwardly to the bare white wall behind the cashier’s window was a printout of the photo to the left, paired with this scripture from the New Testament:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.”
– Matthew 11:28
This rather ungracious public display of power was both a reminder and a challenge; a reminder that the playing field is not always even, and a challenge to anyone who dared say anything about it.
This was not some encouraging or inspiring scripture quote someone hung in their office or cubicle. This was a statement to all who dared enter the hallowed halls of the United States consulate. My first instinct was to complain, but realizing that, when all is said and done, I am completely reliant on these people, including whoever this person is who decided to emblazon the words of Jesus Christ on the wall of the cashier’s desk for all to see, I decided to keep my mouth shut.
Displays like this in federal buildings are nothing short of intimidation, because all Americans and Mexicans entering the consulate know that we are more or less at their mercy, and the last thing I need is to show up on the no-fly list because I opened my big yap. After all, what proof could I get? You can’t take cell phones or cameras into the consulate, so it’s my word against theirs.
I nervously passed some hushed jokes back and forth with Hugo about the cost of labor in Mexico and how easy it would be to hire a full cast of actors to entertain those of us sitting in that waiting room with the drama and gore of a full-on Passion Play.
And after the joking was over, I breathed a sigh of relief that Hugo left his Star of David necklace at home.