The Mirror And The
By Mark McGrew
is a mirror, a reflection, of your own attitude. If you come to Mexico
and act like a human being, Mexicans are the nicest people in the world.
But if you come here with an attitude problem and act like a jerk, they
will, most assuredly, show you what a serious jerk can be. Mexico is
Mexico and it is no different than wherever you are from. Mexicans are
kind, generous, helpful, compassionate, considerate, everything we respect
in our friends at home.
American people are without a doubt, a
lot more uptight than the Mexican people. I feel safer in Mexico, than
I do in America. So, most of all, relax, meet some new friends, learn
some interesting things, enjoy the scenery. Browse the shops. Be nice
and be willing to learn. You will see a lot of strange customs that
don’t seem to make sense and appear ignorant or stupid. Be aware
there is a reason. It is the spirit of reason and logic. Consider that
there is reason or logic to all you see, and maybe you will discover
a sensible answer to what you thought was silly.
My brother was in a remote village and
saw zip-lock baggies, half-full of water, hanging on a porch. My brother
asked what they were for and he was told, “It keeps the flies
away.” He does this himself at home now, and in a land of lots
of flies and screened-in porches, he has no screens, or flies.
The mirror. You respect me and I will
respect you. As a way to earn a little respect for the Mexicans, consider
this: Their homes may be small, but they are paid for. Their car may
be old, but it is paid for. No mortgage. No credit cards. As the family
goes, so goes the nation. We are a debtor society. They respect cash.
Take all the assets of the United States
of America, and liquidate everything, sell it all off. Balance the books.
Start from scratch with a new economy. What would each American end
up with as their reward in this society? A bill due for $35,000. If
you were to do the same thing in Mexico, each and every Mexican citizen
would receive a check for $30,000. So who’s poor?
So have a little respect for the Mexicans.
Sure they are different. Thank God we are different. And their strange
customs actually do make sense. The mirror of Mexico is: show respect
and you will get respect back, usually more than you gave. Be a bad
guy and they will show you incredible injustice. You will hate Mexico
and swear never to go back. And that is what they want. They don’t
want you here if you are a self-righteous, opinionated jerk. I don’t
want you here either if you act like a jerk. Stay in America. You are
embarrassing to me.
Now, there are jerks in Mexico.
If you are accosted by someone, and you are innocent of wrong doing,
face up to them. They know right and wrong. It usually only takes you
to point it out that they are being unjust. Be polite, but firm. If
you still are not satisfied, walk away. And remember “The Force.”
Some people only understand force and you have to know how to apply
it. Violence is seldom necessary. The majority of the times that “Force”
is necessary, it is wielded out as a stern look, as a disappointed father
would look at a son who boo-booed, for the tenth time today. The look
should say, “I know this is wrong and you know this is wrong.
Are you going to be stupid enough to argue with me on this?” If
that does not solve the problem, walk away. Enough is enough.
Learn the game and learn the rules. Just
like America, some people in Mexico will try to take advantage of your
ignorance. Some of them think that just because you can’t speak
fluent Spanish, you can’t count your change either. Always count
your change. And if your change is short, mention it to the person.
Usually, like here, it is just an accident, and with embarrassing smiles,
they will recount your change for you. If they don’t want to correct
the problem or even attempt to, it is because they know what they did
and don’t want to get caught at it.
Just go with the flow, because somewhere
down the road in your trip, someone or something will replace the change
you lost before. It’s weird, but it always, always works out even.
You pay more for one thing and get another thing the next day at an
incredible unexpected discount. It is almost as if they are all in communication
with each other and when you are 300 miles away from where you lost
five dollars, the person who has your five dollars, clairvoyantly radios
ahead to someone else to return your five dollars.
I love Mexico. I love the good and the
bad. There is an overriding sense of justice and fairness and respect.
Sure there are bad things. So what? No place is a Shangri-La. Remember
the Mirror and put on your best face for a trip to Mexico. A lot of
times I had to rely on blind trust. I had no other choice. The trust
won every time. Treat the Mexicans well. You are in their country and
you are in their home.
Enjoy Mexico. I sure do!
(Ed. Note: Mark is a business consultant
specializing in Mexican investments. This is his debut article for us.)