Latino light lunacy

I have long contended that living among Latinos is like living in Alice’s Wonderland, that place where logic exists in short supply. And it’s not just Mexico.

Back in 1976, my last wife and I were in a rental car in downtown Barcelona. It was dusk, that time between daylight and utter darkness, and it was quite dim. I turned on the headlights as any sensible person would do.

At the next stoplight, a cop walked up to me and told me to turn the headlights off. I did, but I never understood why, except that I was visiting another odd neighborhood of Alice’s Wonderland, that world where Latinos live.

And more than four decades later …

This evening we drove about a mile — in about the same sort of dusk as that evening in Barcelona — to a car repair shop down the highway to pick up the Nissan March that we’d left there earlier in the day for routine maintenance.

It was raining, and it was almost completely dark as we headed back in two cars toward the Hacienda. Most cars coming toward me had their full headlights on, but some just turned on the parking lights, and I saw two barrel by with no lights at all.

Not rare at that hour.

I have a theory that drivers here think that if they can see where they are going, it’s not time to flick on the lights. That others cannot see them is another matter that never occurs to them. The less the lights are turned on, the longer they last, which will cost less over time.

I imagine that’s the thinking even if they’re not consciously aware of it. Does the Cheshire Cat know we see little more than his grin and his eyes?

But we both made it home intact, which is the important thing, ¿no?

It should not be raining in December. It’s unnatural.

Get your D.L. right here!

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IF YOU WANT a Mexican driver’s license, the State of Guerrero is the place to go. And you don’t have to go there in person. For a price, they’ll send you a real driver’s license, no test required. And the price will be lower than the cost in the state where you live.

I found the above on Facebook, a page where people advertise things for sale.

Also, the State of Guerrero will sell you a car license plate, quite legally, it seems, and it will cost less than paying for plates in the state where you live. A nephew of ours has a Guerrero license plate on his car. He’s never set foot in Guerrero.

Just one fresh example of the Alice’s Wonderland that is living in Mexico.

The weekend update

MEXICANS VIEW Friday and Saturday as the weekend, not Saturday and Sunday. At least that’s what my child bride tells me.

So I wonder what Sunday is. Maybe it’s just the day you go to Mass.

This business of Friday and Saturday being the weekend is akin to Mexicans’ thinking that a week has eight days instead of seven, and two weeks amount to 15 days instead of the 16 they would have if one week has eight.

Where’s the logic? There is none.

These are a few examples of why I say living in Mexico is like living in Alice’s Wonderland. There’s always a huge cat grinning in a tree somewhere.

Phil in Arizona emailed me yesterday, asking about the progress on the upstairs terraza dome. I’ll tell you what I told him. There is none. We’ve been shopping for glass, which turned out to be a whale of a lot more costly than I anticipated.

I finally got a price of 98,000 pesos, which is a bit over $5,000 in dollars. The initial price I got from the first business I asked was a stunning 280,000 pesos, almost $15,000 U.S.

That’s what I paid for the Honda CR-V new, and it’s one-fourth of what we paid to construct the entire Hacienda. Sure, those were 10 and 16 years ago, respectively, but still.

On Wednesday, I made the 50 percent deposit on the 98,000-peso deal. They say it will be installed in two to four weeks. Don’t count on two weeks. With luck, it’ll be four.

* * * *

Stunning stupidity

In one week more, I’ll have a story to tell. It’s a very Mexican story, one that made me steaming mad, and I do not get mad easily. I’m still mad.

It’s a two-pronged story of stupidity. But, for reasons I will explain in another week, I cannot get into it now. It may bring bad luck. I am superstitious.

And as things stand so far, all is well. Fingers crossed.

The Legal Mexican and bad cultural habits

WHEN I SWITCHED WordPress themes almost a month ago, some things were lost in the transition. One was the Legal Mexican logo that you may see now to the right, depending on where you’re reading this.

It’s been reinstated because I take pride in being a Legal Mexican. The term is even part of my primary email address, which is visible on the “Felipe” page. You’ll find a link in the header. Say hi.

I believe the term is disturbing to the political left because of its proximity to “illegal alien,” which is usually associated with Mexicans in the United States who have not bothered with the inconvenient detail of obeying the law.

Yes, the Legal Mexican is a hot-button term, which is why I use it.

There are two Yahoo forums that focus on our neck of the Mexican woods. On my bookmarks, I have them labeled Commie Forum and Capitalist Forum. Given the sort of Gringos and Canucks who move to Mexico, you can likely guess which forum is the most lively. Hint: It ain’t the Capitalist Forum.

I’m a member of both, but I’ve been banned a time or two from the Commie Forum, not because of any trouble I’ve caused but because of my politics, which are obvious on the Moon though I never mention politics on the forum.

You might wonder: Why even bother with them? Because I occasionally see some useful information there.

The forum focuses on helping old people and orphans, the occasional movie schedule and announcements of hikes through forests. I do not help old people and orphans. I don’t go to local movies (exception: Coco, which I wrote about here), and I don’t hike through forests.

Nor do I attend their monthly cocktail parties at a restaurant downtown. I don’t drink. I don’t need to polish my English. And I don’t want to lament Hillary’s (or Bernie’s) loss in last year’s election. I rejoice in it.

My posts on that forum are very rare. I’m mostly a lurker. When I do write something, it stays in limbo for a day while, I imagine, it’s examined for any hint of “wrong thinking.” Sometimes I get published, sometimes not.

(In contrast, when I post something on the Capitalist Forum, it is immediately visible to one and all across the globe.)

* * * *

Bad Mexican habit

A few days ago, I ventured a post on the Commie side, and it never appeared. I think I know why, and it had nothing to do with the topic.

I signed off with the term “the Legal Mexican.” Oh, dear!

The post I left should have been of interest. It wasn’t about feeding old people and orphans, movie schedules, or hiking in forests. It was about a bad Mexican habit. Of course, the post might have been rejected due to its negative aspect about us Mexicans who are all absolutely lovely people.

Here’s what I pointed out: Mexicans often hide prices on things they’re trying to sell. This habit is completely counterproductive as countless marketing studies have pointed out above the Rio Bravo. But it applies equally here.

I was responding to a forum post by a Mexican woman advertising a house for sale. She, of course, mentioned no price, which is one of the first things anyone would want to know. Email her, she said instead.

A for-sale ad with no price is silly.

Why do Mexicans do this? Because there is no set price. A Mexican wants to get a look at you or at least get a feel for you, particularly a feel for your economic status. The better off you seem, the higher the price you’ll be quoted.

(This is often misunderstood as the Gringo Effect, but it applies equally to well-off Mexicans. It does, however, usually apply to Gringos due to their being perceived as universally wealthy and foolish with money.*)

This practice means things are not sold as quickly as they might have been had a price been attached to the initial advertisement. When there is no visible price, a percentage of potential buyers move immediately to other matters.

Listen up, paisanos! No price = reduced buyer pool.

It’s part of the Alice-in-Wonderland aspect of living in Mexico, which I mentioned in the previous post about Magic Dirt.

On further thought, maybe my entry’s disappearance did have to do with the topic, not the signature line of Legal Mexican. Or both.

Only the Goddess knows.

* * * *

* If you’d quit colossally overpaying for everything and stop leaving massive tips, maybe Mexicans would stop seeing you as easy pickings. By the way, don’t ever buy a house that’s priced in dollars. I mean, really!