Monday, August 3, 2009

The Corner of Tenth & Hackberry...

"Everybody's somebody's fool, everybody's somebody's plaything...." - Connie Francis

By Patrick Alcatraz

McALLEN, Texas – The weatherman tells us today's high temperature will be 100 degrees, with the expected high humidity spiking the Heat Index closer to a stunning 110 degrees. The phrase “bad chili” comes to mind; that, or tough tacos, baby. Achtung, indeed. On the blacktop of busy 10th Street north and south of Old Business 83, the hot asphalt will cut through town accompanied by hellish heat of the sort not seen since the eruption of Vesuvius that fateful, awful day many, many miles east of here. Heat & humidity: bane of the South Texan. It is one reason to get drunk or stoned, although there are others. This, however, is not about social screw-ups or yet another therapy clinic opening its doors. This is about a town drag that is getting to be, well, a drag.

North and South Tenth Street explodes every day of the workweek as if it knows the world will come to an end. Up and down they go, cars and trucks and buses and SUVs and 18-wheelers and mobile homes being relocated to Mexico and U.S. Border Patrol agents goofing off in puke-green vehicles – from the airport south of town to danged near state Highway 107 west of the passive metropolis of Edinburg, home of the lousiest college baseball program south of Falfurrias.

We have an idea whose time may have come. It is, after all, The Year 2009, so moves the locals forever believed to be unattainable are now quite do-able, as they say in bordello offerings.

It’s about tunneling a subway from that airport south of La Plaza Mall to the outs of northern 10th Street, a subway system that would allow for entering and exiting at various stations up and down the street, unquestionably the noisiest, busiest in the entire Rio Grande Valley. Why not? Is there no federal stimulus money left? Where is the city government of McAllen on this? Has Mayor Richard Cortez, recipient of – what? – 2,500 votes in his re-election a few weeks back (He was voted in by 2,500 citizens in a city that claims more than 100,000 residents. Can you feel his pain?), even thought about the Grand Dream for his community? Has the city manager, a relatively obscure fellow, been working on something spectacular? Who knows? It’s not playing-out in the local newspaper, from what we can see.

And it’s not as if the danged thing would have to be underground. Dallas has done fairly well with its above-ground rail system. I say, “Look into it.” What’s to lose? Every aspect of government has its contingency plan. The subway would alleviate traffic on 10th Street and likely make for more jobs: Hot dog and pretzel and tamale kiosks below and above ground near the entry stations, strolling musicians, ambulatory cops (ha, ha), perhaps a nurse somewhere below, custodians from H.E.B south to H.E.B north.

I can see it, absolutely.

Come on Cortez. Dare to be great…I'm stuck at the corner of Tenth and Hackberry, behind a battered station wagon full of brats, a two-tone El Camino just in from a Mexican drug film, and a truck carrying a load of oranges bound for the Big City. The guy in the flatbed has his dash radio on superloud, and, Jesus knows, I can't stand country & western crap...

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