Welcome to Mexico!

By Victoria Schmidt

Do you have the time?


cartoon-clockTime has been an illusive concept for me.  When I lived and worked in the USA, I had a large day planner where my day was scheduled in 15 minute intervals.

When I first came to Mexico, I took off my watch. It was a short-lived act of rebellion.  Some habits are hard to break. One day I was standing in line at the bank and I looked at their big red clock and mentioned it was off by an hour. Others customers smiled and corrected my error telling me that Mexico had changed to daylight savings time the week before.

Recently the USA and Canada “jumped ahead” one hour.  And Mexico will do so on April 6. So for the next month, our satellite clocks will tell us the time in Canada, and household clocks will tell us the time in Mexico, and I will be confused for a month. 

I’m even more confused when calling my friend who is on Pacific Time.  So there’s a two-hour difference, except now, when there’s a one-hour difference—oh forget it!

When I came to Mexico I didn’t want to be tied down by time.  I wanted to live as I assumed the Mexicans lived. Sure, we live in the Land of Mañana.  But I see many are up before the sun, rush to get their kids to school and hurry to get to their jobs on time.  But they always seem to go about it in a manner that is less—well, rude, than Americans seem to get.  Mexicans still allow for the common courtesies of respect in their culture.  They greet one another, exchange a few pleasantries, and when they are very rushed they say “Adios.” Meaning both “goodbye” and “go with God because I don’t have time to chat.”

At my usual breakfast hang out, “Does anybody know what day it is?”  is a common question asked.  Even while doing volunteer work, I had a hard time answering that question.  I worked to reconcile yesterday’s work, do today’s work, and prepare the register banks for tomorrow, yet the work all had to be properly dated to appease the accounting gods.  What day it was, was determined by what I was doing at the moment. 

But after so many years of retirement, I’m back to carrying a date book again.  Oh, I don’t fill every 15 minutes as I did when I was working.  In fact, there are days I forget to look at it to my own detriment.  Last week I didn’t look and we nearly missed our Saturday doctor appointments. That’s imbedded timing. Doctors in the USA don’t take appointments on Saturdays!

I spend a lot of time trying to find time. Who knew that retirement was going to be so complex? Friends have begged me to slow down, and my doctors have ordered it. I just have this imbedded time schedule in me that keeps up a constant push-me-pull-you existence for me. In rare moments I find myself alone in the house thinking, what do I do now?  I feel sort of lost for a few moments, and then I remember there are some chapters waiting for me to review, an article I have to finish, and then there is that book I’ve been writing. 

Time, my friends, is a precious commodity. Someone once said “Life is what happens when you are busy doing other things.”  When someone discovers the secret to slowing down and pacing themselves, discovers the way to defeat the imbedded internal clock, would you share it with me?


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