As traditional as the very symbol itself, every Winter– well after fresh snow falls some unsuspecting person walking along 18th street will slip on the bronze marker on the sidewalk and fall, sending whatever mandado or food they had with them in the air. I’ve witnessed this far too many times and resolved to do something about it.
I caught myself kicking off the snow from the symbols of a once great ancient society, to prevent others from slipping- and yes, also to keep the symbol of my culture exposed. So, if you’re walking to the Pink Line or going to the Jumping Bean for some coffee, and happen to see a bearded man kicking off snow from the markers, say hi, or throw a snowball at me; just know it’s not some deranged vago, really I’m just doing my part.
I highly doubt the Mexica or Aztec people thought it was a good idea to live in such a cold place like Chicago, yet here we are thousands of years later, rushing to catch the bus or train in these low temperatures and bundling up to stay warm. Don’t let the otherwise powerful reminder of the Aztecs in Pilsen become an insane medical bill or a bruised reminder that the city couldn’t think of a better place to lay these than on the cement of 18th street.
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