Thursday, March 12, 2015
my inner mexican
"I don't like making plans for the day because then the word 'premeditated' gets thrown around in the courtroom."
I should have those words carved over my front door. For 60 years, my life was all about timeliness, planning, organization, meetings, projects.
When I moved to Mexico, I did my best to kill those annoying personality traits. And my neighbors had the cure. Appointed times are merely suggestions. Volunteering to do a project is merely a polite way of saying: "I will get around to it when I can." Numbers are merely abstractions.
Pretending I am Mexican does not always work out. For instance, I am terrible at relationships. And I am no better at them here than I was in my cold climate culture in Oregon. Being alone is my highest goal -- and my Darwinian plateau.
My new persona works well with my Mexican neighbors. Not so much with the northerners (expatriates and tourists) who make up a remnant of my social life. They still tend to get quite anal when I show up late -- and have not done my homework. I don't take it personally.
My new attitude also gets me into trouble with Mexpatriate. Let me give you an example.
I recently read two news stories that had essay-material written all over them. The first was about a new Mexican political party forming in Mexico. At least, that is how I remembered the story. But I forgot to clip the article for future use.
I just spent over an hour searching through back issues of The Economist -- and I found nothing. I found nothing because there was no such story.
What my faulty memory had misfiled was a story about the Free Brazil Movement -- a free market organization of young people who have sponsored teach-ins in São Paulo to counter socialist protests for free bus tickets. Imagine Milton Friedman with an edge.
The bottom line of the article was that classic liberalism was making inroads amongst Latin American youth -- as a way to counter years of failed let-the-other-guy-pay policies.
The article did not mention Mexico. Apparently, my mind tried to wish my own dreams into reality.
Mexico does not have a classical liberal party. If you look at the descriptions that follow the names of Mexico's parties, you will find: "right of center," "establishment," "left of center," "laborist," "environmentalist," "social democratic," "unionist," "left-wing nationalist," "humanist," and "centrist."
Where a classic liberal hangs his hat, I have no idea. Each party on the list is essentially statist, in the sense that it sees the government (and usually the central government) as the source of solving problems and dispersing goodies (to its supporters, of course).
I had hoped to write an essay about the prospects of this imaginary party in the next local elections. The germ of that idea was another article showing the high negatives of the four leading parties.
A recent poll showed that each of the four larger parties is burdened with a negative image -- up to 40%. The article speculated that voters might be in the market for one of the minor parties to register their discontent.
I can see the article. It had an incredibly helpful and full-color graph (I initially mis-typed that as "graft;" calling Dr. Freud) listing the parties with their comparative negatives.
But, can I now find it? Nope.
Had I stored copies of each article, this essay would have taken a far different tack. It might even have contained some useful information.
For me, it is a reminder. If I see something that might be of interest to you, I will clip it.
On the other hand, forgetting to plan gives me an opportunity to ramble on with you on things that I may as well have made up on the spot. I am not certain which is better.
That reminds me, I watched Birdman on Tuesday night. I was going to pass on my initial thoughts. But I want to watch it once again.
I'll be right back. You can plan on that.