Before walking across the border to Mexico, you have to pony up about four dollars to park your car. One of the facilities for that is a fast-food restaurant.
Usually you wait patiently to indicate the color of your car and pay the cash. The town is normally sleepy. That day it was dead.
Then the Ugly American type comes in. He asked me whom you pay. "The clerk," I answer. In a booming voice he calls out for the clerk to belly up to the counter. No one responds. Those in back continue to do their French fries. At the drive-in window one woman fills orders.
Everyone ignores him. As well they should. He's tone deaf about Nogales. Eventually someone saunters out from the back. The guy delivers a verbal spanking. Then he assesses what a good business this parking one is.
Then he describes his car. Had I been the young mischief-maker I had been in my youth on the mean streets of Jersey City, New Jersey, I would have called in my best people. We would have trashed his car. Then hid out nearby to watch his reaction.
Guns make such grassroots responses fatal. But in the old days when we carried out our sense of justice manually with our hands the tone deaf still wound up absorbing brutal lessons.
After the man left, in the little Spanish I knew, I apologized to the clerk for my fellow American. I felt such shame.