The process of adapting to life in Mexico is a cultural adventure, one of bewilderment yet discovery on a regular basis.
Early on I discovered I lived in a country where all the utility companies distrusted the national postal service to the extent that they hand-delivered their own monthly billings. This type of revelation generates trepidation in the average gringo.
“Should I trust that anything sent through the postal system will reach its destination in a timely manner?”
“How will I ever know when I win the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes?”
Dilemmas such as these plagued my every waking moment before I received the help I needed. I got my life back by enrolling in the Acme Expat Immersion Therapy and Attitude Modification Program. I was diagnosed with a classic case of Gringo Anxiety Disorder.
Coping with the vagaries of the Mexican culture was taking its toll. But thanks to Acme I am able to deal with situations which in an earlier time produced excessive exasperation and required a significant quantity of tequila to assuage.
The Acme program taught me how to no longer be shocked by, but to appreciate the requirement of having to test light bulbs prior to purchase. I used to think to myself, “Do I look like the type who would attempt to return a burnt-out bulb?” Thanks to Acme, I am grateful for the opportunity to test the light bulbs I buy because it makes me confident that some pendejo has not exchanged a bad bulb for a good bulb.
Now when I shop for electronic devices and I’m told there is no guarantee past the front door, I fully understand that the same pendejo that would swap bulbs would want to return a cleverly disguised, non-working device which exudes a slight scent of burnt plastic.
Also, the cumbersome process of dealing with any government agency or large commercial institution in Mexico runs from terminal frustration to psychotic aggravation, both precursors to severe Gringo Anxiety Disorder. I used to be bothered by anxious thoughts: “Why doesn’t this line move? Why does it seem like time has stopped? It can’t be that hard.”
If the same convoluted process of registering a motor vehicle in Mexico existed anywhere in the States, there would be bloodshed. Gringos naturally expect all things in life to be properly expedited and professionally handled. If not checked, these types of cultural expectations can lead to acute Gringo Anxiety Disorder.
However, after completing Acme’s 12-step program, I am able to stand in a queue as well as any Mexican. It does, however, require a book, a snack, a water bottle and sometimes a lawn chair, but I can wait it out with the best of them and do it with a smile on my face.
Acme has helped me overcome the social stigmas deeply implanted by my previous culture and now I live a stress-free life in Mexico. A life without any complex social quandaries as to why things are they way they are.
A good life in Mexico requires an almost Zen-like level of cultural acceptance at any given moment. This is because in Mexico, anything or everything can change at any given moment without warning and it often does.
One of the most important steps in the Acme program is time separation therapy, which begins with disabling your wristwatch and permanently setting it at five o’clock. This helps to reprogram the mind to accept the notion that it is always time for an adult beverage. After a few weeks of this therapy, your anxiety is a thing of the past and then it’s time to lose the watch entirely.
So if your life in Mexico is plagued by insecurity, vexation or continuous mortification, you need to enroll today in the Acme Ex-pat Immersion Therapy and Attitude Modification Program. You will be glad you did.
Bodie Kellogg describes himself as a very middle-aged man who lives full-time in Mazatlán with a captured tourist woman and the ghost of a half wild dog. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.