– an excerpt from the book: “Agave Marias” by various authors.
I’m sorry your husband couldn’t come today. He’s a much better driver than you are. No offense, its just that, generally speaking, women aren’t very good drivers. Watch out for that kid on the bike. Driving in Mexico here, its not easy, especially for a woman. These Mexicans, they drive like madmen.
You don’t have to worry about being out alone with me. I would never cheat on my wife, she’s a good lady, so you’re safe, you’re perfectly safe. No point getting ideas because I’m not like that.
Do you know where were going? It’s on the highway towards Guadalajara. Want me to tell you how to get there? Well, okay, but if you get lost, I know the way.
You see over there, that yellow-and-white building? You ever need your TV fixed, that’s the guy to go to. He’s honest, for a Mexican. Doesn’t lie to you, just gives you the straight goods. Cheap too, doesn’t overcharge. I tell all my gringo friends to go there. He’s honest, for a Mexican.
There’s a place were gonna pass, Ill show you. Before I married my present wife I used to go there all the time; its a bawdy house. You’re not shocked, are you? Because they’re a fact of life. They been with us since Adam was a pup, and they’ll always be with us. I went there with a friend one time, big macho guy. He insisted we hadda stop there.
Personally I got nothing against them, prostitutes I mean, but I didn’t want to go with one cause of AIDS and that. But I was afraid if I didn’t go with one, he’d think I was, you know, queer or something, and I didn’t want him to think that. So I went along with it but I wasn’t happy about it.
There! That’s it, on the side of the road. Used to be called Night in Paradise. Oh look! Windows all boarded up. They must of closed down. Wonder why? With all the gringos down here for the winter with their tightass wives, it should of done good.
Anyway, I was telling you – hey, we have to turn at this corner, otherwise we go through downtown Jocotepec, and it’s market day, much too busy. Now turn again, right. Oh, you know how to go around downtown. I guess your husband must of showed you, right?
So this night, there I was, on the horns of a dilemma, if you know what I mean. I hadda go along with him but I didn’t really want to. We went into the bawdy house and you know what happened? There was nobody there except the bartender. The whole place was empty. No girls. “Where’s the girls?” my buddy asks.
“It was such a slow night, I sent them all home,” says the bartender, “but what’ll you have?”
“Whaddya mean, sent them home? We come all the way from Chapala, and you sent the girls home?” I says right away, acting mad. So he gives us each a free drink and we leave. See, that’s how lucky I am. Didn’t have to go with one of them girls after all.
You know my wife, she’s Mexican. She likes being married to a gringo. I don’t beat her like her first husband. She had to wait on him hand and foot, and she wasn’t even allowed to eat at the table with him, mealtimes. That’s how they are down here. I always tell her, “Once you put the food on the table, you sit down with me and eat like civilized people.” But she don’t like to. She stands by the stove, ready to bring whatever I need, bread, ketchup, more coffee.
She’s a great cook now. I taught her to do steak and hamburgers and fries, stuff like that. I let her make Mexican stuff for herself, just to keep her happy, but I don’t eat that shit. You never know what’s in it.
Do you cook down here? Your husband says you mostly eat out. Is that true? Most gringa women, they don’t take very good care of their men. I should know; I was married to four of them. Not at the same time, of course. I never got taken care of so good as my Mexican wife does. I just call her and she drops everything and comes running. She’s eager to please. Like a good dog.
She’s hard to train, though. I tell her and tell her how to wash dishes but she keeps on doing it her way. Same with cooking. She don’t understand Teflon pans; burns them every time, cracks the finish and I have to throw them out.
Doesn’t have a clue about money either, none of them do. I cant give her an allowance, she just spends it on junk. Send her to the store with a hundred pesos, she don’t bring back no change. Spends every peso. And I can’t never find nothing; she never puts things back. They’re like that, though, Mexicans. They don’t respect other people’s property.
And time! Shes a true Mexican. You think that’s funny? Try living with someone who’s never on time for anything. I like to be early, but not a chance down here. Drives me nuts.
Watch out for that bus. You can never tell with them Mexican buses, they go all over the road. Okay, he’s stopping, you can pass him. Go.
I been down here seventeen years. Seen a lot of changes. Came down here with my fourth wife, but she hated it. I hadda send her back to Texas. She divorced me back there, but by then my money was hidden down here, so she didn’t get much offa me.
Then I met Lupita, and that little lady, she fell for me, hard. What could I do but make an honest woman of her? And she’s a good wife. No need to hit her, just threaten her once in a while. Never argues with me. Doesn’t understand much English, but she knows more’n she lets on.
Follow that red pickup there, and we’re on the highway. Watch out for the big trucks, they don’t give a damn about you.
It’s a shame your husband couldn’t come today; he was sick, you said? How come you didn’t stay home and look after him? Oh, you think he’s well enough to look after himself, do you? Spoken like a true gringa. Poor man. But its good you were able to drive me to get the part for my truck, seeing he couldn’t make it. I can’t get my truck started, and this guy on the highway, he usually has what I need.
You drive pretty good for a woman. Not scared to drive in traffic, are you? Most women got no balls when it comes to highway driving, especially here in Mexico. The place is just down this hill a bit. See that Corona sign? Turn right there. Watch how you go over the… too late. I was trying to tell you, there’s a big bump. Don’t want to mess up your husband’s car.
Oh, its your car? Did he buy it for you? Well don’t get in a tizzy, I was only asking. No offense. Most women with cars, someone buys it for them.
Wait here, I won’t be long. I just need to get the part. This sort of thing, its men’s business, not something a woman would understand.
Well, I got the part… Now where in hell did she go?
– Mexconnect features full-length excerpts from the book Agave Marias – border crossers, boundary breakers.
- First Flight by Gloria Marthai
- The Virgin Dialogue by Judy Dykstra-Brown
- The Wedding by Gloria Marthai
- Going for a Mexican Ride by dory jones
- Maid in Mexico by Harriet Hart
- Three Señoras Named Lola by Gloria Marthai
- The Lady Is a Tramp by Nina Discombe
- The Delivery by Harriet Hart