¡Viva Mexico!

Mexican Time

by P.G. Meier

I live in Gringolandia and when I am here time is time. One of the things that I cherish of my Mexican experiences is losing that sense of time.

Once I got up early to be first in line at a Laundromat in Oaxaca. I hurried past the Juarez market as vendors set up their shops, sanitation workers swept, swept, swept, and bicycle messengers delivered magazines, ice, bundles of sisal.

I ignored the glorious lush cool air and arrived two minutes before the scheduled opening of the Laundromat. I was first in line!

The only thing was, there was no sign of the owner at opening time. Nor was there 10 minutes later, nor 20. The line behind me grew.

When the owner arrived 40 minutes late there was a push to get in the door. A man wanted to know why the owner had not arrived at the scheduled opening hour. The owner replied "That's not important. The important thing is that I'm here now."

That statement encapsulates Mexican time for me.

By the way, our clothes weren't ready when they were promised. While our clothes were being folded we got to talk with two young Norteamericanos who were sitting on the floor of the Laundromat writing postcards. They were off on an ADO bus for Chiapas that night: by traveling at night they saved on hotel money. We left the Laundromat with clean clothes and an expanded sense of time.

©1972-2000 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens
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