Mar 14, 2008, 11:59 AM
Post #17 of 44
I am not sure why you singled out my ďWish ListĒ saying that virtually all the items there, that I would like to see change or improve, are the things you like about Mexico and that that leads you to conclude that I must not be happy here and ought to consider going back to the USA or finding some Gringolandia Gated Community to live in. I certainly am not going to criticize you for that. That is your business.
Why didnít you suggest to Rolly that his wish for enforcement of the handicapped parking laws brings into question his commitment to life in Mexico and explain to him just how much cuter and quainter Mexico is when able bodied drivers occupy all the handicapped stalls at the park he loves to visit. You might suggest to him, like you did to me, some places he might consider moving if he has a problem with this quaint arrangement at his city park.
Why didnít you point out to Georgia and several others how much less cute and quaint Mexico would become if there were safety shoulders on the sides of the highways.
Several posters expressed wishes for driverís ed for all drivers on Mexican streets and highways. Perhaps you can tell us how actually learning how to drive and then using that knowledge to drive properly, making the streets and highways safer, how that is going to diminish the cuteness and quaintness of Mexico that so beguiles you.
Perhaps not on this thread but elsewhere on MexConnect, on countless other threads, people have expressed their dismay about the littering problem. Many of us have to come to accept this reality and we know it would hardly even look like Mexico anymore if suddenly all the basura were magically swept away and kept away. I donít think anyone here on MexConnect finds it cute and quaint that armies of Junior High School aged boys come through our neighborhoods, two, three, four times a week, sometimes that many times a day, stuffing flyers the size of Sunday morning newspaper inserts from WalMart, Soriana, and Papa Johnís Pizza into the iron fences we have built around our houses to protect us from all the other cuteness and quaintness, that almost immediately fly off the gate or door and spread themselves through the yards and streets of the neighborhood. How does all that totally unnecessary litter make your Mexican experience so warm and fuzzy and give you the right to question mine?
It is so beautiful right now here in Sonora. Temperatures in the upper 80ís and lower 90ís every day. The locals are still shivering in their jackets and sweaters, but I am out there, walking the neighborhoods. I go to the central market and sit with the other old geezers for a cup of coffee and hope that one of them will talk to me so I can practice my Spanish and learn something from some men my age living here in this new home of mine. I walk all over, sit in the park, just letting it all hang out there, hoping and praying for a nice new experience every day, a new friend or acquaintance. What part of that sounds to you like I am not committed to living in Mexico, that I would be happier locked away in a gate community with a bunch of snobby gringos who would never speak to me again once they figured out my annual income is only five figures and the first figure is less than five. Or that I share my life with Mexican man?
My partner and I walk for an hour or so every late afternoon, early evening. Actually he is the one who wishes that our dusty vacant lots here would grow over with lush green vegetation like so many vacant lots we have seen in Sinaloa, Jalisco, and Campeche. Of course the climate there makes that possible. And the climate here makes that impossible. But as we read the frequent articles in the local newspapers about the increase in childhood asthma that is directly attributed to all the orangish-colored dust and powder that constantly and incessantly blows through the city, we wish for more green if for no other reason than for the sake of little kids who canít play outside as much as they might like to. I guess you donít live in Hermosillo, but if you did, I suppose you would find this layer of orange powder hanging over the city playing a large part in what you would find so cute and quaint about Mexico and you would continue to begrudge me my little wish that it could somehow go away.
My partner complains about his compatriots who throw open their iron garage doors across and blocking the sidewalks, back their vehicles out onto the street, and then speed off, too lazy to get out and close the gates. The very gate they built to keep the cute, quaint thieves, murderers, and rapists out of their houses, they leave it wide open. My partner thinks these people are rude, unconscious, disrespectful. I just had the audacity to wish they would close their garage gates so that we donít have to step into the cute and quaint traffic in the street in order to pass by. And donít even get me started on what he has to say about his fellow Mexicans who decide to build their garage right out to the edge of the street, straddling the sidewalk, as if they owned it and it were their property. Or about the people who donít pull all the way into a parking space and park their vehicles over the sidewalk, once again forcing us into the street in order to pass. We wish these things were not so, and we feel ever so sorry that were it not so, it would diminish the cuteness and quaintness of Mexico for you.
We go a few times a year, especially at the end of January, to the beautiful, truly cute and quaint, colonial city of Alamos in the south end of Sonora. The good people in the government in Mexico City have passed laws to protect and preserve these colonial cities. Among these are laws against playing loud, loud music in or near the historic buildings because the vibrations are known to compromise the buildings, literally shaking them apart. Also, there are real laws about not urinating on the walls and foundations of these old colonial structures, for that too has a very immediate and detrimental, negative effect on those old buildings. And yet, there, 500 meters away, in the historic city hall, sits the mayor and governor listing to classical music, while just a short distance away thousands of drunken teenagers and other people old enough to know better, are blasting away at the buildings with their loud, loud music, right in the heart and center of Colonial Alamos, all the while pissing on the walls, boys and girls, I have seen it with my own eyes, and the mayor and governor do not have a set between them to get the police to enforce the laws.
Yes, I think a little banda music in the wee hours is cute and quaint. I do. No sarcasm. I like to listen to it. I have nothing important to do tomorrow. I will sleep in. But the willful, wonton damage being done to Colonial Alamos and to some old buildings elsewhere here in Sonora is something I thought I might at least wish something could be done about. Little did I know how the cuteness and quaintness of that destructive behavior might affect you and your Mexican experience.
I have been in Mexico almost a year. During that time I was away in Europe for almost two months, so weíll call it ten months that I have been here. I am in a long-term, committed relationship with a Mexican. I moved here so we could be together here. When I got here I knew about as much Spanish as most gringos do: tacos, cerveza, Cinco de Mayo. That was it. Other than my partner, I knew no one.
I am 63 years old and a native speaker of American English. I don't think it is easy for me to learn Spanish at my age or to make a lot of new friends. It all requires a lot of time, energy, and commitment. Most of us in retirement want to relax, take it easy. We are happy with the familiar. Our long established friends and family. Starting all over completely from scratch, socially and in a new language is a pretty demanding task.
I guess I probably know 40-50 people here now. 100% of them are Mexicans. 0% of them speak English. There is one gringa in my Spanish class. We speak only Spanish during class, but after class I have been known to exchange a few pleasantries with her in English. I suppose that brings further into question my commitment to living in Mexico in your mind. Another student is French-Canadian, married to a German, and their permanent home is in Munich. I speak German with her, when we are not in class. And the other student is a girl from Shanghai. We have to speak only Spanish. For the last two months my partner and I have switched from English to Spanish. I have bought hundreds of dollars worth of Spanish languages books and materials, and I use them, daily. I am enrolled in classes that I attend religiously.
I speak only Spanish with all my friends and acquaintances here. Many of them tell me I am the only gringo they know who knows how to conjugate Spanish on the fly and use them in my speech, in the correct tense, correct mood, correct voice. I can even use the present subjunctive. How many of you who question my commitment to being in Mexico even know what the subjunctive is yet alone use it in your daily speech?
I live in a rental house in a middle class Mexican neighborhood. I know and speak to all my neighbors, and they all know me and speak to me when they see me. I know my partnerís elderly, illiterate parents, whom I love like my own, and who seem to love me. And I speak only Spanish with them. They donít know any English. As is the case with all my partnerís siblings, their spouses, and their children. I accept them and they accept me, and we all speak Spanish.
Does this sound like I am not committed to living in Mexico or that I donít enjoy it here?
I am buying a little middle class Mexican house in a new residential neighborhood. Many of the houses are still empty but I have already met two families across the street. There are zero English speaking people in my life and my world, other than my partner, and we speak Spanish.
I speak Spanish with the insurance agent, with the real estate agent, with my doctor, with the oil change guys, the pharmacists, with the yard and lawn guy, with the mailman, with the fruit and vegetable seller who passes through the neighborhood a couple of times per week. Now if you want cute quaint, that fruit and vegetable rig is cute and quaint, and I love it. I look forward to it coming, with its loud blaring recording of the wares for sale. That is cute. That is quaint.
How many of you can say this? There are some, but I donít think any of those people are questioning my commitment to being here.
There is a dentist down the street from me. She drives a mid-90ís full-size Ford Crown Victoria. The security alarm is obviously on the fritz. Every morning when she arrives and parks on the street outside her office, gets out, and attempts to lock the door, the alarm starts. She has to fiddle with it quite a while to turn it off. Then when she gets in the car at midday, it goes off again, then the same scenario when she comes back from lunch, and again when she leaves for the evening. Apparently she has had some emergencies to attend to in the office on a few evenings, because we hear the sirens, whistles, beeping, the whole array of noise from the alarm when she comes into the office in the evening, and again when she leave.
Truly, I do not find this a cute and quaint aspect of Mexican life. I think this woman is a lazy, selfish, disrespectful person. At a minimum she can call someone and have them come and disconnect the alarm. She could take it to a place that specializes in alarm systems, they are ubiquitous here, and get it fixed or replaced. But no. She continues to torture this neighborhood with it, going on now a year. No, no. This is not the cute and quaint Mexico I know. Nevertheless the worst thing I have done about it, as far as I have gone, as aggressive and hostile as I have become is to innocuously wish here on my little MexConnect Wish List, that she would have the decency not to disturb this neighborhood, day in, day out, and into the evenings on occasion, with her damn alarm. And my Mexican neighbors feel the same way. They lament, however, that if they call the police nothing will be done. This barrio does not rank, has no clout, is economically not influential enough to rate that kind of service from the police. The words of Mexicans. Not mine. How cute! How quaint!