LIVING IN Mexico can be a challenge. Don’t let anybody fool you with that “it’s magical” hooey.
The pluses outweigh the minuses, of course, but some of those minuses can be maddening, especially to me.
Way up the list is what I call the “Mexican yes,” or as I often say it to my child bride, “el sí mexicano.”
She does not dispute the point.
This refers to the custom of responding positively to pretty much everything. Are you coming tomorrow to fix the faucet? Yes! Are you coming to lunch tomorrow? Yes! It’s always yes, and it never has any connection to reality whatsoever.
Maybe you’ll come. Maybe you won’t. No telling.
The only exception to this occurs when the positive response is not yes, but no. Are you going to drive my car that I’m loaning you 200 kph over potholes? No!
But, like all Mexicans, I have become accustomed to the “Mexican yes,” knowing that it’s meaningless.
By the way, the “Mexican yes” is just one example of a broader problem, which is rampant lying. This habit stems from trying to make other people feel good on one hand, and avoiding embarrassment to yourself on the other hand.
Mexicans get embarrassed a lot.
Most of the lying falls into the “little white lie” category, the fib. It’s no big thing really, but it becomes a bigger thing due to its being spectacularly widespread.
What all this means is that you often cannot depend on what people say. I am convinced this is a major factor in our not running a First-World economy, which relies on trust.
There is little trust between the Rio Bravo and the Guatemalan border. Probably not south of the Guatemalan border either, but I have never been there, so I don’t know.
I suspect this is not a Mexican thing, but a Latino thing.
But it’s not lying or lack of trust that inspires me today. It’s another Mexican habit that drives me nuts.
It’s the drop-in.
If relatives want to visit, they just do so with no warning whatsoever, and it can happen at any hour of the day or night. And they rarely do so individually or in couples.
Think groups. I call them mobs.
Do they phone first to let you know they’re on their way? Do they wait for an invite? Do they think for a nanosecond that you may be busy with someone or something else? Do they attempt not to come right at a meal time? No.
My wife says this is just part of the culture, and nobody thinks anything of it, including the recipients of the drop-in. Relatives are always welcome. Always!
I very much doubt this. I think the recipients of the drop-in often are faking it to avoid that widespread embarrassment.
We usually end our days the same way. I make a big salad for the two of us. We’re in our PJs, and we sit in our recliners upstairs, eat and watch a movie on Netflix. This rarely varies, and I do not want to hear the doorbell. It will be ignored.
We had been eating our salads for about 45 seconds last Saturday night when my child bride’s phone rang. Here we come! it was said in Spanish, the five relatives driving down from Querétaro.
They were five minutes away. They knew when they left Querétaro hours earlier that they were coming here. They surely knew the day before, but did they let us know? Of course not.
It would have ruined the drop-in!
The five of them sat in our living room for over an hour, shooting the breeze while our salads wilted upstairs. Then they got up and headed downtown at 9 p.m. to “drop in” on other relatives who had no clue they were coming either.
Actually, we got off lucky because they did not decide to spend the night on our floor. The other relatives won that prize.
Living in Mexico can be a challenge.