Near where we lived were some great houses left over from the days of the hidalgos, now hidden from view behind tall, anonymous walls, closed in with heavy, iron-studded doors and veiled from the eyes of curious passers-by such as ourselves.
But my companion is the sort of person to whom no doors are closed -- or at least she appears to assume so -- and one afternoon we walked through a fortress-like door left ajar by workmen because we wanted to see the inside of one of these grand old houses, and in no time at all found ourselves talking to the owner.
In these situations you quickly pass over the question “what the hell are you doing in here?” in the most casual way and move immediately to admiring the architecture, their choice in furnishings and so forth, and if you are sophisticated and presentable folks as my companion and I, unless you have wandered into a narcotraficante’s warehouse (in which case you will probably already have encountered men with large guns), you may get a tour of the place and maybe meet someone interesting, as was the case this time.
Our unexpecting host was an artist preparing the house as a gallery for her paintings, which were on pre-Columbian themes of a peculiarly erotic sort, with large, misbehaving rabbits. While I knew that rabbits were associated with drunkenness in Aztec usage -- “400 rabbits” was very drunk -- I had not known of this erotic aspect. But my companion had earlier told me that art was one more of many things about which I knew nothing, so I smiled amicably and admired the big old house and the lady’s paintings and quietly speculated on her inspiration.