The hidden dangers of lamp posts

An almighty crash woke us in the early hours. Inevitably we were startled, convinced that it was the aftershocks of the earlier earthquake and we began preparing to evacuate. But then we heard a voice outside claiming that he had only tried to fix some ‘political propaganda’ to the lamp post when it fell over, and another voice begging our neighbour not to call the police and to please remain calm. It was 1.30am!

Mexicans love politics. Local and general elections are to be held on 5 July, so campaigners, from all parties, are now out in force and apparently they can be found roaming the streets at all times of the night.

Later in the morning, as we surveyed the damage, Jaime explained to me that lamp posts are the ideal struture and height for candidates' posters. Political campaigners often like to work at night; not, as I had suspected, because it is illegal to flypost, nor due to any fear of meeting the opposition, but because there are less people, cars etc to hinder your movements. (In addition, this kind of campaign work is often voluntary, so many party supporters  fly-post on top of a full-time day job).

But for a street lamp to just keel over in this way still seems inconceivable to me. And what the hell happened to the unfortunate individual whose ladder was leaning against the post when this occurred?

On closer inspection, we could see that the base had rusted, but I guess Mexico’s frequent earth tremors also cause untold damage that remains unseen; only becoming visible as the result of an accident like this that can happen days, weeks, or even months later and at any time of day or night.

I can’t help but be reminded of some Mexican politicians. A lot of the rot remains hidden, only coming to light at unanticipated moments, when leant upon,  or during the notorious election campaigns when the gloves come off. And the eruption, when it happens, is not dissimilar to that of an earthquake.