Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Mystical Mexican memes to move the morose

The time has come for more memes! Whether you’re looking to improve your Spanish and Mexican cultural fluency or just here for a laugh, we’ve got you covered.

Sit back, grab a cold, cold drink and enjoy this week’s edition!

Meme translation: “Oof it’s hot, I’m going to turn on the fan.” “The fan…”

What does it meme? It is hot, y’all. If you live in Mexico in a place where it’s usually nice enough of the time that no one installs air conditioners, then you, like me and many others, are hardcore suffering right now. 

Chances are you’ve also discovered that turning a fan on in a non-airconditioned environment does not actually do a whole lot to move things around…especially if you’re on a top floor.

As of this writing, we’re in the third of five predicted heat waves. I’ve stopped fantasizing about when it will end and have simply resigned myself, like the famous meme of the dog having coffee at a table while surrounded by flames…to having coffee at a table while surrounded by flames.

(A note on the “oof” instead of “but” in my translation by the way: when Mexicans want to emphasize an exclamation, they’ll sometimes use “pero” at the beginning to express their surprise, or in this case, being suddenly fed up. We don’t use it for the same purpose in English, hence the adjustment!)

Meme translation: “Coffee first… I’ll deal with my problems afterwards.”

What does it meme? Not to keep going on and on about the heat, but really, folks – that level of discomfort is what it feels like, and I identify with the woman in this picture more than any others in any of today’s memes: sometimes you have to accept that there are things that suck, and just get on with it.

I might be dripping in sweat during every moment of the day, but at least I have coffee, water, and a working coffee maker. It literally gets me out of bed in the mornings.

Meme translation: “Just imagine I marry some dude who doesn’t know how to cook. What am I going to eat?”

What does it meme? One of my favorite styles of humor is when sexism is flipped on its head to expose its silliness (for more of this silliness, check out the social media pages of Man Who Has It All). A friend in one of my “mom chat” groups sent it, and I crack up every time I see it. 

And in my case, this is, unfortunately, a problem. I can spend hours and hours cleaning, organizing, decorating…I will get on my knees and scrub under the sink and think nothing of it. But I hate hate hate anything to do with food preparation. I am a princess: I simply want food to appear in front of me when I’m hungry and have absolutely nothing to do with getting it there.

Alas, I must eat, and my own partner, while also very clean and organized and a hard physical worker — our house always looks fabulous — is not a natural food preparer, either.

We do our best to plan and usually have at least one decent meal, but left to our own devices, we’re like two six-year-olds wandering around the pantry looking for crackers or something when we suddenly, seemingly unpredictably, feel hungry.

Meme translation: “I don’t know if the sun is too bright or if there’s a surprise party for the bus driver.”

What does it meme? I added this (obviously) for adorableness because the idea of passengers throwing a surprise party for a bus driver makes me smile real big. Remember in the late aughts when flashmobs suddenly got really popular? 

Seriously, let’s organize this.

Sadly, the above picture is almost certainly not of passengers planning a surprise party, though I can imagine the surprise(ing dismay) on the faces of passengers already boarded when everyone pops out from the shade…especially if they’re standing up! (Have y’all seen how many people can pack onto a bus in Mexico City? It’s downright grotesque.)

Meme translation: “I don’t know if she went to kindergarten or to work at a construction site.”

What does it meme? Another “No se si…” meme, I just realized. No matter, I’m leaving it in here because it’s funny!

If you’ve got a kid in school or have a kid in general, chances are they come back pretty messy. Fun fact: there’s a kindergarten here in Xalapa where their uniforms are white. White. You can imagine all the bleach employed to get those suckers clean.

Also, a note on my translation above: “echar colado” is technically a little more specific than “work at a construction site”; literally, it’s to construct the roof of a building, and it’s a very specific process here that involves a lot of concrete (check out the video in the link for a play-by-play). Mexico’s got some Habitat for Humanity organizations if you want to try your hand at it at some point!

Meme translation: “Dear diary…damn.”

What does it meme? Okay, so this is not totally in Spanish, and the guy in the picture looks more like your stereotypical “cholo”  the word for a specific subculture of Mexican-Americans in the US who are very urban and very cooler than the rest of us.

The “chale” part was what cracked me up. It’s kind of a defeatist-sounding version of “damn,” like what you’d say when you’re really disappointed in something, like “Oh, man,” with a defeated sigh. Another good translation is one of those smacking/tongue-clicking things you do with your mouth that basically means, “Dang it, that’s so disappointing.”

The good thing about chale is that, though it might signify a setback, it doesn’t have to mean defeat!

Sometimes, though, you’ve just got to give the constant positivity a rest and take a minute to let yourself go, “chale” with a long, disappointed sigh (I’ve actually been doing this daily when I look at the weather forecast and see there is no rain or relief from the heat in the next 10 days).

Meme translation: Six pictures are worth…6,000 words, right? Note to self: don’t forget to bill this wordcount to the paper. 

What does it meme? In three rows, a summary of the favorite wrappings of Mexican foods:

In the north, of course, we have the exquisite flour tortilla. Though we’re all about the corn tortillas where I live further south, I’ll admit to sometimes missing those soft, buttery bites. *chef’s kiss*

In the middle of the country, mainly Mexico City — there are SO many memes about this — they love themselves a good bolillo, which is the kind of panadería staple you see in the picture. How many memes have I seen positively about every food, including pizza, popsicles, and complete sandwiches, being put in between two halves of a bolillo? Too many to count. They’re okay, I guess, but nothing, like, out of this world, I’d say. It could be my Southern Mexican prejudices talking. 

Finally, the southern tamal. Down here they’re called “rancheros” (country tamales, I guess?), and unlike other tamales you might be familiar with, these have a softer consistency than the others that are much drier. They are delicious and hands down the best tamales. I’m willing to fight people on this, by the way.

Sarah DeVries is a writer and translator based in Xalapa, Veracruz. She can be reached through her website, sarahedevries.substack.com.

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