There is a local teamster´s chapter for babies and their mothers in each south american town. They gather before sunrise each morning amidst cigarette smoke and nescafe to negotiate. The veterans get the choicest routes while the rookies are left to earn their reputation on the cold altiplano routes. Their mission is simple, to make sure there is a crying baby on each and every bus on the continent. It is imperative, of course, that every bus route is covered. Otherwise, there might be one person, somewhere, sometime, that accomplishes a modicum of sleep on a night bus.
They´re everywhere. Even on the nicest buses, with first class leather seats and fully reclining ¨cama¨ seating. They come in all shapes and sizes, all bundled up for warmth and full screaming power. They look innocent enough–adorable bronze faces with dark pools for eyes and noses that sniffle just enough to be cute. But when the lights go out–watch your ears, you´ll think a siren is going off in the row behind you. Believe me–common ear plugs and I-pods are no match.
The mother´s role is to clear the scream passage, set the baby up for the best acoustics, and let ´er rip. The key is to give no effort whatsoever to actually stopping the baby´s crying. A requisite ¨shush¨ just for show is the extent. The most common strategy is to prop the baby up on the mother´s lap. That way, the appearance of pacifying is given, while the noise is lifted to cover the entire bus. It´s really quite well done.
Military strategists need to learn their organizational strategy, for it appears flawless and without gaps. Big buses, small buses. City buses, rural buses. Camionetas and Colectivos and Combes. Corporate or privately-operated.
In an era of increased political power for leftist latin american leaders, it is clear from the ground who has the true political power here. The Blessed Union of Babies and Mothers. Community organizers, mount up.