Sunday, February 28, 2010

Guanajuato, Mexico - Working the Culture #5

My next installment of a "Working the Culture" blog I was going to use an example from page 89 of Ned Crouch's fine treatise called, "Mexican & Americans Cracking the Cultural Code to demonstrate one of the three components of Mexican culture that you will most certainly encounter no matter why you end up moving to Guanajuato or anywhere else in this country.

Space, Time, and the evolution and practice of language are three cultural truths which sets Mexico across a gigantic gulf from the Gringolandian. The Mexican sense of these three cultural truths are as different as light is from day or an apple is from an orange.

American Gringolandians erroneously assume that because they've eaten tex-mex, hired an illegal to do their domestic bidding, or vacationed in a Mexican resort that catered to their Gringo whim that they know Mexican culture.

Tisk, little do they know Mexico.

I was going to use Ned Crouch's example to demonstrate Mexican's sense of space and how radically different it is from the Gringo's. However, I had an incident this morning which happened to be a perfect example of what you can expect to happen to you each time you walk out your front door living in Mexico.

If you don't send your maid to do your shopping, which many Gringolandians do, then when you go to the Super expect the following:

We were standing at the deli/cheese/meat counter where the wife was asking for a certain cheese to be sliced into sandwich size slices. The joven (young Mexican man) dutifully said he would be glad to do this and began his cheesy labors. After finishing the slicing he went to weigh the cheese on a scale. So far, so good.

In the weigh process of this transaction a group of Mexican babes came up to the counter and wanted him to help them NOW. And, he did just that. He set our cheese aside, told us he would be right with us in a moment, and left to help these Mexican jovencitas (cute young women).

He helped them while making us wait.

In the meantime, some other worker threw our cheese order to the side and began using the scale. The joven (young doofus man) had to make us wait even longer until his coworker got through. He re-weighed the cheese, tagged it with a price, gave it to us, and apologized.

What just happened here, culturally?

I can just see all hell breaking loose in American if some kid tried this. What happened is a demonstration of the Mexican's sense of space and a little bit of time.

There was the Supermarket employee's space behind the counter. That was their group. There was the store customer's space in front of the counter. That was my wife, me, and the hot Latina chickadees in the customer group. Two groups. The employee group, the customer group.

In the minds of those young hussies who interrupted us and prevented the kid from filling our order, they were not doing anything rude. Neither was the young man rude. In their Mexican sense of time and space, my wife and I were standing in the customer group with the girls and for the male employee to stop our order and help them was nothing bad at all. In his mind he was helping the customer group. No one was neglected, all orders were filled, and in his mind everything was right with the Mexican world.

In the mind of the young man, logical sequence was not even considered. American Gringos want logical sequence, Mexicans do not. The two events, ours and the young women's events--our orders--were all happening at the same time. There were no lines, only circles.

Everyone was being helped at the same circle of time. The employee group was helping the customer group and in the end all will be well.

First come, first serve is not in Mexico. You will rarely find this axiom here and if you do you will find yourself wanting to swoon to the floor.

In very rare cases will you find a Mexican vendor, employee, or store clerk who will tell his or her fellow Mexican he or she will have to stand in line and wait their turn.

Now, that is what I experienced today and that is what Mr. Ned Crouch would have said in his assessment of what I experienced. He would go on to tell you that as soon as you start clinging to your American need for sequence, "I was here first so get the hell out of my way...", you are going to get into trouble.

What Crouch then says is really true. You can pitch a fit and do a war dance but it will get you absolutely nowhere.

But, to all of that I say, "What a piece of crap!"

This practice, and you will see it everywhere in the Provincial Mexican Highlands is as Byzantine as it comes.

I know Mexican "transplants" (not originally from Guanajuato) who balk at this just as much as we do. They are from a more modern, upscale, and intelligent Latin spectrum and feel no compulsion in telling these "folks" they are just going to have to wait their turn.

One lady, Lucy, told us when we inquired into this behavior that they are nothing more than "badly raised" or in Spanish MALCRIADOS.

So, there you have it. If you are planning moving into Provincial Mexico you will have to expect this and learn, somehow, how to cope with it.



Click On This Link Reach The ROCKET SPANISHROCKET SPANISH Website!

Learn Spanish Like A ROCKET With Rocket Spanish!...
Who Else Wants to Learn to Speak Spanish Confidently and Naturally In Less Than 8 Weeks??...AND take all the frustration, difficulty and headache out of YOUR practice time with this EXPLOSIVE interactive 'learn Spanish' package!

No comments: