I RECONNECTED with an old friend recently in San Miguel de Allende. We hadn’t seen one another in 15 years.
Over breakfast he asked me about living in Mexico, what most I liked or disliked about it. After pondering a moment, the first thing out of my mouth was that living in Mexico is easier than living above the Rio Bravo. And cheaper, of course.
This came to my mind again three days ago due to an event that beautifully illustrates what I said.
Walking out to the Honda with the intention of going downtown for a nice café Americano negro and to run a few errands, I discovered the battery was stone dead.
It was the second battery in the seven-year-old car, but I had changed the first battery before it left me stranded.
That same morning I had driven the car to various places with no indication the battery had one foot in the grave. The car cranked immediately with no hesitation.
In the afternoon, however, I was surprised at the secondary effects. The doors opened, but the trunk door wouldn’t. The automatic gear shift would not budge from Park.
Here’s what happened next when the easy and inexpensive elements of Mexican life came into play:
My wife had already driven downtown in her Nissan March. I phoned her and explained the problem. She drove home, first stopping at a garage where a mechanic immediately dropped what he was doing and came with her.
I was not totally convinced at that point that the problem was a dead battery, due to the odd — to me — side effects.
The mechanic determined that it was a dead battery. We three returned to the Nissan, dropped him off at his garage, and continued to a battery store to buy a new one.
We returned to the garage, picked up the mechanic, and the three of us returned to the Hacienda where he installed the new battery. My wife headed to the gym in the Nissan.
The mechanic and I drove the Honda to his garage, where he charged me 50 pesos, about three bucks.
The entire drama lasted about 90 minutes.