This sign caught my eye immediately, because it proudly decorated a splendid Cadillac minibus from 1947 that looked as brand-new as if it had just left the dealer’s showroom.

There are several almendrones—those big cars that look like big almonds, all from before 1959—making their way back to the streets these days. A booming image of self-employment. Some of them are as eye-catching and well-preserved as this one, while others are less groomed but equally well-preserved. Some have even been put back on the streets after having been written-off—their clumsy bodywork and hand-painted appearance make it obvious—but they too still travel proudly along the roads of my planet, offering a service that was urgently needed.

clip image0061The self-employed worker feels happy to finally be able to experience that little chunk of labor independence, even when, in order do so, they need to deal with tons of numbers and sweat like pigs.

Collective transport, which has become more and more scarce and inefficient, makes the working day an extremely complicated endeavor. Most of the time people, tired of uselessly waiting for a bus—let alone one they can board—end up walking off. These big almonds, which after the recent economic measures have proliferated, are the ones basically solving this problem. But, that said, let’s be clear, it’s at a very high price. Some professionals have confessed to me that their entire salaries are devoured by this mode of transport, and that they are only able to have clothes and food because they have a relative abroad who supports them so they can keep their job and thus avoid bigger problems.

January 26 2011