On my way to Glorieta de Insurgentes I stop at a crosswalk and marvel at the man cleaning cars at an intersection. He wanders up to each car with a plastic bottle filled with soapy water and a scrub brush, and scrub scrub scrubs the windows clean with a practiced, precise motions. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become a master — this man is a grandmaster; a Jedi of window cleaning. He bends and sweeps and pivots with the elegance of a ballet dancer, practically pirouetting around cars. He asks for permission wordlessly, locking eyes and acquiescing to subtle nods and glances from drivers, ending each performance with a quick exchange of pesos. The light turns green, he pirouettes off the street and disappears into the crowd like an apparition.

Beggars are industrious in CDMX. It is rare that one is asked for money without being offered something in return — music, a car wash, or even a simple line drawing. This cultural nuance pervades, and lends a softness, at times even a joviality, to interactions between classes.

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