Thursday, April 14, 2005


I've moved recently to Huajapan and one of my first orders of business upon arrival here was to try to get a video rental membership set up. There's a rental place just a few blocks from my house that has a pretty good selection, but before they'd let me check out one of their DVDs, I had to go through basically the same rigamarole that I did at Videocentro back in Queretaro: They wanted proof of residence (copies of water bills, an electric bill, rent receipt, etc.), I had to give them copies of my passport and visa, and I had to provide 2 local references who could vouch for me as video rental-worthy. Maybe I had to give them a urine sample as well, I can't really remember clearly now it was all so overwhelming...

So I managed to get all my paperwork in and waited anxiously for my references to come through - it was like waiting to hear on a college application or something. Finally, a few days later, I got the good news: I had been accepted for membership! I could come back later that evening when the owner was in and pick up my card.

I felt giddy all day, like the junior manager who's just found out he'll be getting the key to the executive washroom. Then, when the designated hour finally came, I rushed down to the shop and was handed this membership card that was an old cigarette carton.

The four-digit number crudely typed on the back of a piece of cigarette carton wasn't quite the golden key I was expecting. Still, it does the trick, and now I can rent cinematic classics like Oye, ¿Donde está mi auto? (Dude, where's my car?) and Señor Deeds with no problem. The funny thing is, as strict as they were about admitting me into their exclusive rental club, they're totally laid-back now that I'm in. In fact, when I rent a movie, they ask me when I'm planning to bring it back. Membership has its privileges, I guess.

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