Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Late or not Late, that is the question...

"Doc"  - Hector
On Saturday we were invited to our friend, Hector's, (also lovingly referred to as 'Doc' or 'Ochoa") birthday party.  It was held at his weekend place in Ajijic, about an hour's drive from GDL.  Friends, who were also going, asked if we wished to just go along with them, which we said yes to.  Wherein lies the rub...

We arrived well after it had begun. We got a phone call before we were even out of the city, asking where we were.  For, you see, we are known to be early, or right on time.  Thus the question began to circulate as to where we were.  Yet, by Mexican standards, one is NEVER late! So, were we late or not?

I felt late.  Ernie tried not to feel late because we went with friends (who I might add are not usually late for things).  They, most likely, would not have felt late, aside from the fact that many made a huge thing out of the Koop's being late.  It was interesting to experience.

You see, here is what I am been pondering; is time a core issue or a flex issue? Mexico has been notorious as a culture of 'mañana'.  They are known as a people who are not very time conscious, arrive late for everything, and overall don't consider time important.

While those from the Western world are known as extremely time conscious; almost a holy grail.  We run our worlds by the clock.  We punch clocks.  We set appointments and show up to them on time.  We live in a hurry hurry world of rushing from one event to another.

To personalize this somewhat, I was raised to be time conscious.  My mother said her father used to say, "if you were always late you would be late for the rapture."  Covertly said things like that, and our culture's subliminal messages regarding time,  getting marked late, one learns to be on time.  I, being somewhat Type A, found this easy to embrace and was always punctual, as was my husband.  Fifteen minutes early was 'on time', arriving at the given hour was 'late'.

Thus you can imagine we need to constantly adapt to this loose idea of time.  Constantly needing to remind ourselves that if we are invited for 8, best to only leave the house at that hour, not arrive at that hour.  But we are often one of the first to arrive.

I would say that time is solidly in our core and not in our flex.  I feel like I am losing my 'self' if I am late.  I have found that it is harder to adjust than one would think.  I think the shift is required in order to not live in frustration.  However, as noticed by the above story, time may not be as solidly in the Mexican's core either.  I have noticed a much more clear time consciousness amongst the middle class, or the city folks, over the rural mentality.

So I continue to battle this issue.  It was not the first time I have encountered it.  I have heard my friends speak ill of a person for always being late, or mocking someone for showing up late. I have been part of discussions where they have referred to those who are always late as being rude and inconsiderate.  On the flip side, I have heard the saying, "Tarde, pero sin sueño.'  {Late, but not tired}

So, what do I do when I arrive 'late', and feel somewhat out of sorts because of it?  I put on my game face and try not to lose the joy of the event. Because, in the end, its about people and relationships.
Porfirio and Ernie
Ernie, Claudia and Carmen 
kneeling: Gaby, left of her, Karla, me, Tere, Turning away, Betty, Carmen and Martha

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