May 25, 2005, 12:22 PM
Post #1 of 11
Whenever a TV crew decides to find the "real" USA they head for the "heartland" and talk to some Midwest farmer usually spouting code terms for how terrible the folks in LA/NY/SF are for attempting to destroy American "values."
I lived 11 years in rural Midwest towns of 2000 population and will never live in any country's "heartland" again. I'm a NY/LA/SF kinda gal, and I enjoy others like me in SMA (San Miguel de Allende, which keeps being bashed as not being the "real" Mexico).
Before the heat this morning Norma and I walked about two miles doing errands around San Juan de Dios Market and the church, and on Insurgentes and Pila Seca. We didn't see another gringo in two hours.
We spent our Social Security money in tiny Mexican-owned shops who didn't give a damn what we did the rest of the day just so they got a share of the money. They didn't want to be our friends, nor we theirs. Neither of us have any desire to have us in their lives.
This evening after the heat we'll get in another two miles walking to Villa Jacaranda to see "Spanglish", through the Jardin, past the new Italian gelato shop for a 7-peso dip of amaretto, and we'll see about half gringos, half Mexicans in our walk. Both parts of town are the "real" San Miguel.
Both San Miguel and Comonfort are the "real" Mexico, just as Baja and Chiapas and Juarez and Cancun are all the "real" Mexico. We're all real. Somebody in Manhattan dressed in chic black and working in a skyscraper is just as much a "real" U.S. citizen as the gay guy in a yellow Speedo in Provincetown or the muu-muu'd retiree in Palm Beach or the farmer in Dubuque or the lesbian mom in West Hollywood or the machinist in Detroit or the lobster fisherman in Maine or the sharecropper in Arkansas.
A Mexican in the top 1% of the economy living high in DF is just as much a real Mexican as the woman selling rattlesnake skins along Highway 57 or the farmer prodding his burros through a field or the woman frying grasshoppers in Oaxaca or the ceramacist turning out dishes for export in Tonala or the university student hoping to become a professional violinist in Guanajuato. We're all "real." Why the need to assert anybody is more real than anyone else? To each her own.
We all change the world around us, even by stepping into a river and making ripples. The entire world is changing at an ever-more-rapid pace, and not all the change is bad. None of us is particularly important in the larger scheme of the universe.
If the hardware store guy I bought some cup-hanging hooks from this morning or the woman who sold me bananas don't care whether I go see a U.S. film tonight at a gringo-owned hotel and don't especially want me at their pentacostal church service tonight, I don't care if they go to that church service, or see a shaman, or whatever tonight, and they're not very likely to come to the Villa Jacaranda tonight either. That's just fine with both of us. We coexist. I don't think they want me to move next door to them, just so I drop some money in their pockets when I spend. I can't afford to buy a house and I'll always be renting from a Mexican family, so I'm no threat there.
Why this need to bash San Miguel? I love-love-love it here. My NY/LA/SF friends do, too. The red state folks want us to drop dead in the U.S., we should be living set little ways and living set little values in the "real" "heartland," and now some gringos in Mexico who prefer to live in other areas think we ought to live according to their expectations in their acceptable areas of "real" Mexico as well.
Not everyone likes it here. That's fine. A couple of people I really liked didn't like SMA and have gone on, one gay guy even moving back to the Midwest. That's fine. Everyone has the right to pursue happiness.
I'm not saying anyone else must live any kind of way in any kind of place. Why should others be insisting we in SMA, the NY/SF/LA kinda folks, are wrong for being who we are? If we have fun putting on silly little plays or singing Broadway tunes in our off-key choruses or painting our trite sunflowers or watching U.S. artsy films drinking watered margaritas, who are we hurting?
Norma and I do our part in social causes here, working with the American Legion Women's Auxiliary to help four impoverished country schools with basic school supplies, computers, software and Three Kings Day gifts. We do our bit with the feral cats. We go to the benefits we can afford. I don't think we are taking a thing out of Mexico, we're putting back as much as we can and living our lives, having fun.
Why all the snide comments, the outright hatred, of San Miguel? Tell me what's great about your daily life, don't knock mine. I can't help telling everybody about the heaven I've found here, for me. None of us here are saying we're the only "real" Mexico, why must some of you insist you are? Brag about your heaven, too! There's room enough for all of us to coexist.
New members of Mexconnect interested in learning more about different areas of Mexico would rather hear what you love about your area, not hear you say over and over again how "phony" SMA is.
(I wrote this post to the General forum where the SMA bashing is going on but it was moved back here.)
(This post was edited by Carol Schmidt on May 25, 2005, 2:01 PM)