Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Immigrant Experience

We drove to the Superama in the exclusive Milenio III subdivision yesterday to stock up on some provisions - Saturday is "Make Your Own Sundae" night here in the interns' dormitory - and, in the first bit of good luck we'd had all day, spotted a parking space right near the entrance. It was in the next lane over, on the other side of a handicapped space, but having learned to drive in Boston, we simply drove through the handicapped space on our side and straight into the regular space - much to the chagrin of one of the local "Desperate Housewife" types who had been heading toward the space in a more conventional (and therefore more roundabout, less effective, and ultimately fruitless) manner.

Oh, but such is the sense of entitlement of the spoiled, idle, twice-facelifted-before-the-age-of-40 breeder units that populate the hills around this city that the mere fact of having desired the space meant that it was rightfully hers. "Excuse me. Excuse me!" she called to us as we were walking towards the store. "I had driven around to this side in order to take that space." Not quite grasping that in her head the matter was now settled and we were supposed to walk back to our vehicle and move it, we shrugged weakly and kept going.

"Oh, so that's how you do things in your country," she said - correctly. (Was she pouting, or was it just the collagen?) "How lovely! Why don't you just go back to your own country then!" [Emphasis in the original tirade.]

In more than four years in Mexico, this was the first time anyone had yelled at us to go back to our own country. Part of us admired the karmic justice of it: Mexicans up in El Norte probably hear that sort of shit all the time, now it was the pinche gringos turn! Then we remembered that the gringos in question were us, and that while something like that is always small-minded, it's particularly so when it comes in response to being beaten to a parking space. Furthermore, Superama is a subsidiary of WalMart. To be tagged as undesirably foreign and deportable by a cosmetically-enhanced housewife sitting in gas-guzzling SUV in the the parking lot of a WalMart is a bit rich; surely we were already on American soil? We offered up an anatomical epithet and kept walking.

Of course, we're wildly overthinking this now. Really, she was just a crank. Inside the supermarket we soon ran into our plasticized antagonist who, forsaken by God, had been forced to park almost 30 feet away. As she walked past us, she scrunched up her face, theatrically pinched her nose and, with her other hand, furious fanned away an imaginary stench. We wish we could report that we yelled after her: "The feminine hygiene products are in Aisle 5! Hurry!" but we didn't think of that until half way through happy hour. So instead we just laughed.


EL CHAVO! said...

Yeah, I think you basically cheated. But whatever, I'm just here to tell you I love your insights into life in Mexico. Plus, your Sabado Gigante posts are the main way I keep up with what's happening in my parents homeland. Thank you for doing the dirty work!

Saludos desde Los Angeles!

Anonymous said...

Pinche Sr, Burro is giving the gavachos a bad reputation.

Anonymous said...

I see that El Chavo writes about important topics which concern me the most....huevos rancheros and tortas.

Anonymous said...

Something worst happened to me long ago while parking in Plaza del Parque, I was already entering the parking space, half the car inside, and suddenly a fat woman arrived runnig and stay infront of the car, I was scared for the moment, tell her to move, but she reply "this space is being saved (está apartado)" I was amazed, so I said "by whom?, that is not possible to do" but the woman remain there. As I understand, her husband saw the space when they were entering the mall parking, so they decided to "save it" until he could reach the place, but I was already entering the space, half the car inside, I told her (being rude I must admit) that she was very fat, but not enough to use the parking space, so she moves or I move her with the car or with the guards, the guards arrived and move the lady.

She was crazy!, is a freaking parking space, many people need to get perspective of situations, the farest space in the parking lot may be 200 meters away from an entrance, so is not a marathon, and in my case, I was already inside the space.

Well there are tons of stories in parking spaces.

Burro Hall said...

Anon #3 - as a New Yorker, I totally understand the strong feelings generated by a parking space. In this case, the lot was half empty, though.

El Chavo - thanks for the kind words...but using Burro Hall as an actual source of news is a violation of our Terms of Service. Your account is officially suspended.

Gary Denness said...

From my experience of Mexico, albeit in DF, pushing in queues etc is just how it's done.

You should have told her you're just trying to 'fit in'.