Today I got bitten by a chihuahua in El Paso.
I didn’t just get bit by a dog, it had to be a chihuahua.
I was out for a roam among the homes of El Paso’s elite, which nudge up against the place I’m staying, past the shiniest little fire hydrant in the west, through a neighbourhood of surprisingly assorted homes.
The tinkiest little fire hydrant is outside a hacienda built on an island – a traffic island. I tell myself the mayor of El Paso lives there. Up the road, is a replica of a Southern plantation, over there a house built for western Europe and around the corner Canberra! and up the hill, the sweetest yellow mansion overlooking the city . . . maybe the mayor lives there.
It was at the foot of those hills, on a dusty stony pathway, that I thought I’d trodden on a stick and look down to find that stoopid chihuahua snapping at my toes.
He drew blood.
‘He’d better not have rabies,’ I said to the woman at the end of his lead, recalling the $5 rabies signs in LA.
She assured me he’d had his shots – being American for the moment, I photographed her number plate anyway.
I turned for home, two pieces of my mother’s advice trailing in my head: get the Betadine (cures everything) and I shoulda had shoes on (protect your feet), and struck by the incongruity of fresh grass in the desert.
El Paso, where the success of a man can be determined by the spread of his green lawn.
For those of us still under the illusion that the word ‘man’ is generic, I use it specifically.
If women own 1% of the world’s resources, they sure as hell don’t own much of El Paso.