Mexico "Way"

My stupid blurbs about anything and addition to the ups and downs of living in Cancun, Mexico.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Don't say "No", It's Illegal Here!

It's true.

You never say "no" here. Or, "I don't know".

If you invite someone to your house for a party, you will always get an answer in the affirmative. Whether it's a party or something else, you will often hear the following:

"Yes, of course! See you there!"

"Yes, I'm coming!"

"Oh yes, lets do it!"

And if you ask someone a question, they will always have an answer for you. They will never say, "I don't know!". They will almost always have a reason or an excuse or an explanation.

So if you say to the lovely lady on the telephone, "Can you tell me why I don't have internet?", she will most definitely answer with something (without checking a thing of course) along the lines of, "Oh yes this is a neighbourhood problem and you should have internet within an hour.".

Isn't it wonderful? Everyone has answers and everyone ALWAYS shows up when they say they will.


Yeah not so much. For some reason it's really rude to say the following when you know damn well you will not be attending whatever invite you are invited to:

"No, I'm sorry, I have plans and I cannot make it."

"No, I won't be coming, I'm allergic to cats."

"No, I'm not coming because I am associated with the aliens, and we will be stealing the Coca Zero that night."

It's apparently also not kosher to say, "I don't know". And the following is not acceptable either:

"Sorry I'm not sure, let me get someone else to help you!"

"Let me ask my boss because I DON'T KNOW!".

"I don't know but try calling your neighbour?"

(And that internet problem you called about? The problem was strictly related to you, so after waiting an hour and getting no internet, and checking with friends who have internet, you call back. But you get the same answer, to which you explain to her that it's not and that you want a tech right away and only then will they be bothered to look into the problem for you. This happens a lot.)

So you know, I just run with it. I end up doing the same. I say I'm coming over when I'm not and I make up answers because sometimes it's just easier than having the person yell at you on the other end.

I even do it when I go back home to visit. My family has scolded me and called me on it more than once, to which I respond, "Manana? Come see come sa? No speaky the language?". And they look at me with that WTF look? And then leave me alone because they are scared.

I don't normally notice that I do it here in Mexico because it's so normal. But back home I catch myself saying that I will phone people or that I will go out with them or that I will stop by when I really don't have any intention of doing so. It really is a bad habit to get into, but only if you do it when are outside of the land where it is considered acceptable.

I once had a friend in Vancouver call me when I was visiting. I tried really hard to adhere to the standard practice of manners back home by saying, "No sorry, it's late and I'm tired and I don't want to go out now." I said it. But it didn't work. Because the said friend wouldn't give up. They kept pushing and pushing and saying COME ON COME ON LETS GO OUT! NOW! GET UP NOW! I kept saying NO NO NO NO NO and then I just got annoyed and tired. I couldn't be bothered to argue the point so I said, "Ok, I'll be there in 20 minutes. See you there!". I promptly hung up the phone, turned off the t.v., and went straight to bed. :) See how much easier that is?

So, the next time you're down in Mexico and someone says that they will totally show up at your party and then don't. Or they give you an answer to a question you know they couldn't possibly know the correct answer to.......... just feel special. Do not take offense. Because you too are now part of this culture. Think of it as being welcomed into a secret society.

So then. Now that we have that clear.....

I'll call you later ok?


  • At 5:44 PM, January 17, 2008, Anonymous lisaloveloca said…

    I cum to partay if I's kin has cheeseburgers!!

  • At 6:28 PM, January 17, 2008, Anonymous Malcolm said…

    It's's almost like people don't want you to be disappointed in the short term, forgetting that you will be more upset later when the date/visit/appointment/etc. is broken.


  • At 3:39 AM, January 18, 2008, Blogger Fned said…

    You're right on... I still feel bad when I have to say NO to people("sorry boss, it's 10h30pm and I'd like to go home now, I'll take care of that tomorrow" or "NO, dearest MIL, you CANNOT stop by our place right now, we're not in the mood for company"....) but I'm getting better at it.... ;-)

    When I was back home for the holidays, one day my mom and I were backing out the garage when suddenly her chismosa and overly annoying neighboor came out and, after boring us for 20 minutes on her problems with her ex-husband, started ranting about how I should absolutely come over the following day to "catch up"... I didn't blink an eyelash, looked her straight in the eye and said: "Sorry Lynette, I'm only here for 4 days and I'd rather spend them with my family, so no thanks".

    My mom's jaw dropped open and later (when we'd finally gotten rid of her) told me she was so shocked that I'd been so "direct", she started telling I could've just "lied a little" and said I was busy or that I didn't know.... I cut my mom off and replied now why the hell would I do that? I genuinely don't feel like going so why not say so??

    Geez!... my mom's been living in Mexico too long (or perhaps it's ME that's been living in France too long)!


  • At 7:11 PM, January 18, 2008, Blogger mexpat said…

    Hmmm... yes, I've had an expat stand me and some friends up for dinner. She's lived here 25 years, so I guess it's "normal."

  • At 12:19 AM, January 22, 2008, Blogger 'Eddie Willers' said…

    LOL! Didn't you think about this post when you called for gas??

    'Can I have some gas?'
    'Sure. Our truck will be there tomorrow.'

  • At 9:24 AM, January 22, 2008, Blogger Mexico Way said…

    Eddie, you made me eat my words. I feel like such a dumb schmuck now!


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