Illustration by Mark DancyDear Mexican,
I'm Polish/Italian, but nearly every time I encounter a Mexican, they ask if I'm Mexican. No other nationality ever asks me this. Why do Mexicans?
I need more details, LLL. Were you wearing Dickies at the time? Cleaning a house? Maybe you're fat and/or sport a mustache? It could just be Mexicans think you're some distant cousin. Unlike their American counterparts, who wiped out the indigenous population, the various ethnic groups that migrated to Mexico over the centuries weren't ashamed to coger(fuck) the natives—and the natives cogered them right back. Thus, the phenotypical diversity of la raza cósmicais so dazzling many extended Mexican families include people who can pass for the darkest Nubian or the bluest-eyed Norse (and have you seen those recent shots of Saddam Hussein? Doesn't he look like the guy selling mangoes off Fourth Street?). Conversely, our mutability means other ethnicities frequently assume we're members of theirtribe. For instance, my large eyes, wavy black hair and light-olive skin lead people to believe I'm Persian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian, Arab, Chinese, Indian, Lebanese, Greek, French, Croat . . . in fact, I've been called nearly everything but Mexican—and Guatemalan, thank goodness!
Why do Mexicans drive so goddamned slowly? Whenever I have to drive through downtown Santa Ana, I inevitably get stuck behind some shitbox CRX doing 25 in a 40 mph zone. Typically driven by a Hispanic man with the bewildered look of someone kidnapped from their home planet and unexpectedly dropped on Earth.
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You realize this column is ¡Ask a Mexican!, right, not ¡Ask a Geezer!? Accuse Mexicans of any other driving sin—accuse us of lowering cars until the steering wheel scrapes asphalt, of adorning windows with Pissing Calvin decals, of driving without insurance. But don't say we drive slowly. Vieja Gringa, why do you think Mexicans make the sign of the cross before starting the car? When I learned how to drive on the mad streets of Tijuana, my father taught me a simple rule: if you brake, you die. Mexicans learn to drive with finesse but also with speed in Mexico's hairpin glorietas and epic boulevards lest a VW Bug taxi rear-end us straight to hell. That mentality carries over to the United States—just look at Santa Ana, which has one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in Southern California, if not the nation. If you think Mexicans drive slowly, then there's some beachfront property in Mexico City I'd like to sell you.
Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican atGARELLANO@OCWEEKLY.COM. And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym,por favor, or we'll make one up for you!