Humanities Information

Mexican Living: The Unexplained

The inexplicable bothers me. It always has. You know, the "Unsolved Mysteries" that plague mankind. I know I must have some brain damage from all the headache-inducing mysteries I have tried to figure out in my lifetime.

Mexico isn't any different from America in that regard. There are all sorts of mysteries here that vex me to no end. I want answers and none are forthcoming. I need closure and everything remains open. Some of these Mexican mysteries are mindboggling and that is the topic for today's column.

1. Why is it that when you are hunting for the scorpion you saw ten minutes ago, now that you are armed with something to kill it, it is nowhere in sight? But, when you have settled down and gotten over the fright, it reappears.

2. What does a fly do all through the "no-fly season" to get so big and fat? Where does it go? What does it eat to get so big?

3. Where are Mexicans going in such a hurry all the time? It is a culturally documented fact that "time" does not mean the same thing to Mexicans as it does to anal-retentive Americans and that they NEVER get to an appointment on time EVER! So why are they driving at breakneck speeds and why do bus drivers honk their horns furiously when stuck in traffic?

4. What exactly does "time" mean to a Mexican?

5. Why is it that a waiter will tell you a dish is NOT hot and spicy but when you eat it, you feel like running through the restaurant screaming bloody murder and looking for a cow to suckle?

6. Why does the little tubby indigenous man in the park keep asking us if we want to buy his indigenous tree bark art? He has seen and asked us 5,000 times and each time we've told him no; but he still asks us.

7. Where is the invisible marching band that always starts at the same time every night but no one ever sees it? Why does it always play the same tune, each night, and play it badly?

8. Why do our Mexican parrots hang upside down after they have a meal?

9. Why is it that no one in this entire country knows the exact species of our Mexican parrots?

10. Why is it that mail going out of Mexico seems to get to where it is addressed fairly well but mail coming into Mexico rarely gets here?

11. Why is it when Mexican parents pick their kids up from school, the parents take the kid's backpack and carry it instead of making the kids do it?

12. Why do Mexicans believe they must own a car when public transportation makes it unnecessary?

13. Why can Mexicans eat food sold from street vendors and never get sick? When an American tries that, he can count on hugging the toilet all night long.

14. Why at paying public toilets do they give you such a little bit of toilet paper? (I mean, really! Come on!)

15. When Americans move to Mexico, why do they have this seemingly genetic imperative to gather into gated communities and call them names like, "Gringo Gulch?" (Why do they bother coming here at all?)

16. Why does there have to be a "rainy season?" Why can't we have what little rain we get spread over the entire year to make it more tolerable?

17. With regard to the Minuteman Project in Arizona, a.k.a. the Mexican hunters, whatever happened to this:

"...Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." (Emma Lazarus penned these words in her 19th century poem, The New Colossus.)

Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico. His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at


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