Thursday, September 28, 2006

Some Things are the Same in SMA and Chacala

This morning I heard the sound of the garbage truck bell. I was still in bed. The maid had asked me to watch/listen for the garbage truck because it didn't come on Tuesday, when she was here. When I asked, she said I didn't need to tip the driver. I ran outside to make sure it was the garbage truck, opening the house door, and then the locked patio door. And it was.

The maid next door was bringing her bags out, and she said to carry the bag down to the corner. I ran back inside for flip-flops, and the house key, and dragged the bag out the patio door. Some animal had been at the bag, and it was dripping some liquid. Dragged it up to the corner and waited with the other people. There was a gringo man and a woman waiting too. The woman helped me lift my leaking, over-full bag into the truck. Very nice of her. But it turned out people were tipping the driver. Very embarassing. Went home and hosed the walkway and sidewalk off and came back inside. Didn't realize I was still wearing the white cotton tee-shirt and boxes I sleep in until I was back in the house.

When I got home the cat had gotten on of her claws stuck in the screen door and was not a happy little camper. Unhooked her, fed the dog, and cleaned the cat box. Kind of an energetic start to the day.

Casa en la Colonia de San Antonio
The garbage truck boogie in SMA is similar to how it used to be in Chacala, including the boy with the bell, and tipping. Except the trucks came right to your house, and the boys lifted your bags in for you. Now, in Chacala, using the truck and MX$10,000 the school kids won for the town in a trash collection, uses a local driver (rather than County truck). He comes every other day, and also drives right to you door also, and lifts the bag. I drag my trash can down the bumpy driveway to the road once a week ( I don't have much trash) and leave the tip on top, under a rock.

There's another similarity between SMA and Chacala. In Chacala, the local people are very polite and friendly, and would never pass you on the road without making eye contact and saying "Buenas dias" or Buenas tardes". Never. And often we make conversation. Same in San Miguel. Mexican people here make eye contact on the street, and chat with me on the bus, in the park, wherever.

Ninos a la tianuis circa Gigante

Parque de Guadalupe

This morning, at the garbage truck, was the first time a gringo has spoken to me here, in San Miguel de Allende. Except for another gringa who was visiting SMA, and seriously lost out near the Botanical Garden. I am pretty friendly, and Mexican people approach me and talk to me all the time.

My current interpretation of this rude behavior runs along these lines:
1) they only acknowledge those they see as being in their social class,
2) they are too disinterested or busy to be polite to strangers,
3) they don't like the looks of me
4) they have poor social skills,
5) they believe there are too many gringos in SMA
6) they are just oblivious to their surrounding.

Maybe it's nothing personal and maybe it is. Who knows? Actually, I was going to say, "who cares", but I do care a little. It feels funny to be totally and deliberately ignored by gringos, when Mexicans are generally friendly, and always acknowledge you if you make eye contact. And chat with me on the bus, the bus stops, and in stores and restaurants.

Oh well. The truth of this situation is that I probably have very little in common with most of those folks anyway. I don't own a house in Mexico, drive an SUV, buy art and antiques to decorate my house, have a large bank account, or even health insurance.

Escuela circa la iglesia de San Antonio

I guess I woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning, because this is certainly a negative post. I'll probably delete it tomorrow. And, actually, I have gotten four nice notes from SMA people who apparently read this blog, commenting nicely on my posts, and one invitation to met at the Jardin for a visit.


Jill said...

The same thing happens with the gringos here, and I have no idea why. Shouldn't we be friendly with our own people? We don't get the yacht type in my city-just the hippies, and they are REALLY unfriendly. I feel awkward not dressing pretty nicely here, because everyone tries really hard, so maybe I look like and Imperialist. Funny how snobbery goes both ways.

Anonymous said...

Hi, we find the same thing here in Guaymas. All of the mexican people are friendly, smiling, waving, etc. whereas the gringos walk past you as if you are invisible, they never smile, say hello or anything. I thought the same thing as you, that they do not percieve us to be in the same social class as they are. We also do not own fancy clothes,home,vehicle. That's OK with me as we get more enjoyment from our life by not having to keep up with the "Jones" and our free entertainments like a walk in the park or sitting on a bench people watching means more to us than their idea of entertainment (guzzling down margaritas and boasting of all their possessions while sitting in the bars.) Each to their own; but they can keep theirs. LOL.
Brenda in Guaymas