One of our new neighbors commented on the tiny scrawl she found on her front wall. Her water meter was recently stolen, so now she’s more acutely aware of what goes on along her sidewalk. She was rightly alarmed that someone would vandalize her house like that, even with tiny scribbles that looked like a math equation written by an idle juvenile delinquent waiting for a bus.
Walking down the street, we noticed similar scribbles, discreet and with small variations. This wasn’t algebra, and it wasn’t tic tac toe. If it were a street gang’s tag, it would have been the geekiest street gang ever. It was a systematic code of some kind in an adult’s handwriting, starting with SSY in the upper left quadrant. Maybe the meter reader? Would a government official write on your wall like that? I’ve noticed the ease with which Meridanos write on walls.
So at lunch, I took advantage of the La Bohème wifi and posted a photo and query to Mexico Amigos on Facebook. Soon after I checked and got several responses: Some sharing my alarm, some guessing along with me that it was a meter man keeping track of his zone. Then, one answer made more sense: SSY is the acronym for the city health departement, which has been going door-to-door offering mosquito spraying and checking for standing water (which breeds mosquitos), all part of a defeat-dengue campaign. The codes explain who got sprayed, who has standing water, who didn’t answer the door, etc. Another speculated that it had to do with garbage pickup. Whose paid up and who isn’t. But the consensus seemed to be that it was the mark of the mosquito sprayers. Not answering your door to the SSY representative equals more scribbles. “The reason you see lots of marking on some homes means that they could not get access so they keep trying,” said one Amigos group member.
Wellll…. anything to combat dengue!