Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Notes From Life in the Twilight Zone

"I would like travelers, especially American travelers, to travel in a way that broadens their perspective, because I think Americans tend to be some of the most ethnocentric people on the planet..." --Rick Steves

I've come to believe in recent years that living in Mexico, and for a variety of reasons, is as close as you can get to living in The Twilight Zone. The reasons for this are not all Mexican, I have to say from the beginning. Some are, maybe even most, but it is most certainly like living in another dimension in which time itself functions along a different quantum phase making living here, well, interesting in a maddening sort of way.

In case you've forgotten or are too young to recall,

"The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. Each episode (156 in the original series) is a mixture of self-contained fantasy, science fiction, or horror, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist." – Wikipedia

Let me just venture to say that this describes Life in Mexico depending on where you live, or course, and to what degree genuine education has infiltrated and usurped Mexican provincialism.

For a little bit of "self-contained fantasy, science fiction, or horror…" go to YouTube and type in "Flying Humanoid" and be prepared for a belly-busting laugh. In Monterrey, according to one report, a policeman, mind you, a Cop fainted when we saw the flying and cackling thingee zoom at him, so he says, from a tree.

Whatever "The Flying Humanoid" is, and frankly I don't care, this sort of thing happens in this country and is accepted as real as the air through which the thing flies with nothing to prove otherwise. "Let's test this hypothesis" does not apply in a lot of Provincial Mexico.

Another reason this is like The Twilight Zone is, in a word, Gringos! Apart from being rabid liberals, most of them anyway, they move here with the nuttiest ideas and beliefs.

"Are they all Mexican here?"

"Look at what that Spanish man is doing."

"I wanted change, not pesos."

"You call this a taco?"

My wife and I were in a church in the Mexican highlands when a funeral procession began. As we were trying to politely and reverently excuse ourselves from the family's mournful gathering, we saw a handful of Gringos parade past us, dressed in "Gidget-goes-to-the-beach" wear (I was frankly surprised no one had folding patio chairs), with cameras at the ready. As the family opened the casket these California-Dreamers rushed the front for a photo shoot. We could hear the whine of the snapping shutters and see the subsequent flashing.

Here's a tip: Believe it or not, just because you had to re-mortgage your home to afford a trip to Mexico does not entitle you to take pictures in a church of dead babies, walking into the church like you were going for a romp on a beach, nor disrupt any services. The Church is not a museum.

Here's another tip: In Mexico they are called Mexican and not Spanish.

What prompted today's Blog was my wife and I witnessing yet another funeral procession being regarded by Gringo tourists as a photo-op. There they stood as the hearse pulled up to the church clicking away trying to get as many photos of some poor family's loved one's funeral.

Do you suppose that these Americans who stood there gawking like they were at the circus snapping photos of a parade as fast as they could would react kindly to foreigners imposing themselves on their mother's funeral?

Why Americans come to Mexico and engage in behaviors they would not possibly try in the States is beyond my ability to comprehend. In America do they jump in the car when they hear the neighbor's infant died with camera in hand just frothing at the mouth to get photos? Can you image the ensuing fist fight, or worse, that would erupt? The lawsuits? And, yet, I have seen this now more than once happen in Mexico. Is it that Americans think because they've forked over money to come here that they are ENTITLED to commit such a barbaric act of filming some poor, mourning Mexican family's funeral?

I mean, really!

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