Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guanajauato, Mex -- Conformity

Years ago I saw on Mexican television a public service commercial. It featured handicapped people and pregnant women boarding a public transportation bus and finding no available seating. All the very healthy looking passengers refused to get up and offer their seats to those in greater need. The morale of the story was very obvious.

We ride the buses a lot since we refuse to own a car here that adds to the already bad pollution problem. We noticed the same thing locally that the public service commercial showed.

No healthy looking person, no matter their age, would get up for someone who was obviously in much greater need. It didn't matter if the lady was pregnant and holding an infant or the man was missing a limb or two.

The only circumstances under which someone would offer their seat is if they recognized the other person boarding the bus.

This was too obvious to be circumstantial.

The one seated would greet the bus boarding person by name or title, like Grandmother or Auntie (abuela or tia), and get up offering the close friend or relative his or her seat. Otherwise, tuff stuff if you were in physical need, you did NOT get a seat offered to you.

Of course I have to mention that mentioning this in my books and articles has earned me the title (you knew this was coming), THE MOST HATED GRINGO IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

Well...let me just say I did not make up the whole thing about the public service television announcements. And, to this day (years later) no Gringolandian has ever answered or spoken to the issue: Does this or does NOT this sort of thing happen? The Gringolandian community refuses to address this but chooses rather to accuse me of "hating Mexicans" for mentioning any of this.

Would this drive you insane?

I have often wondered if they send hate mail to the Mexico City folks who produces these public service announcements? ... Oh! But Wait! ...

I have the answer. None of the Gringolandians (maybe one or two) can watch and understand Mexican television because they can't speak a word of the language!


I said all of the above to make this point: Unless a Mexican knows you, unless you are a member of their extended family, you will be treated as though you do not exist.

You can see this everywhere. I could take you to pharmacies to stores to restaurants in which you are treated as an inconvenience. Let someone with whom the waiter or vendor is familiar come through the door and suddenly the waiter or store clerk is all smiles and merry. Then they turn to you and they literally will say, "What do you want?" No "At your service," or "How can I serve you?"

If they are on their cells or land line phones when a relative or pal comes in then they put the phone down and wait on them. If you walk in they will finish their call, no matter how long, and then--perhaps--wait on you.

God forbid should you live under or over them in an apartment. You will be subjected to and forced to conform to their schedule. If you want to sleep until eight in the morning and your downstairs neighbor wants to get up at seven in the morning, guess what? You are forced with door slamming, dumped over chairs (or maybe they are bowling down there), or whatever that forces you to conform to their schedule.


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