Monday I accompanied my friend, Phyllis, the owner/operator of Los Dos B&B here in Jocotepec (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g667915-d504475-Reviews-Los_Dos_Bed_and_Breakfast-Jocotepec.html) to a hospital in Guadalajara for a test she needed to take. Phyllis has been with me many times to the IMSS hospital in Tlajomulco, so when she asked me to accompany her, I was more than happy to do so.
Phyllis certainly didn’t need my translation skills like I always need hers. She’s perfectly fluent in Spanish, having lived in Mexico for 40 years, but she wanted someone to drive her home to Joco after her heart had, literally, been set aflutter by the test.
So she picked me up at 9am, and off we went. And 7-1/2 hours later, I got home. My question is this: Is this only a Mexican thing? Spending an entire day just doing a couple of things or running a few errands? Or maybe it’s an old people thing. Either way, it happens to me a lot down here Joco way, especially when I’m with a friend.
I can’t remember the last time a friend and I went anywhere and were back in less than five hours. And that’s when we basically had no plans! Yet when I worked in the US National Parks where it was often a 25 mile drive one-way to the nearest grocery store, I don’t remember it ever taking me anywhere close to five hours to do my errands.
So, what’s up with that??? I mean, I know I don’t walk as fast as I used to, but I’ve always been much closer to the speed of the tortoise than the hare, so I don’t think that explains it. I swear I don’t remember spending six or seven hours just doing errands!
But, honestly, I also don’t recall doing errands with friends nearly as often as I do down here. So perhaps that explains it. My father had a saying about hiring young fellows to work for him: “One boy is one boy; two boys are half a boy; and three boys are no boy at all.” Meaning that the more of them you got together in a group, the less work you got out of them.
I think it may be kind of the same thing with me: “One Barb is one woman; Barb plus any other friend or friends is no Barb at all” (in the shopping sense, I mean). Apparently, I lose all sense of time when I have a friend with me, and not just because there are two of us shopping. I don’t stroll casually with my friends, cart next to cart or shopping bag next to shopping bag. We go our own ways in big stores and even on Morelos, our main shopping street in Joco, agreeing upon where to meet when we are finished.
And yet it takes us HOURS.
One reason that I AM aware of is that when I’m with a friend, we need to incorporate lunch into our plans. It’s often the highlight of the entire errand-running trip. Something to look forward to. Paying the phone bill or going to the ATM or buying pet food doesn’t hold a whole lot of appeal, but, hey, throw lunch with a friend in and you got yourself a social occasion!
So as I typed that, I realized that I probably had my answer to why it takes so long to do my errands with friends. It’s not just errands with friends, it truly is a social occasion, even though it wasn’t planned as one.
I mean, look at yesterday. After Phyllis had her medical stuff done, what’s the next thing we wanted to do? Go eat! And since there was a restaurant right next to the hospital, that’s where we went. (My assumption being that Phyllis would be a little less shaky on her pins if she had some food in her. Not that she was actually shaky on her pins, but I hadn’t had anything to eat for almost 24 hours and I wanted food.)
The next-door restaurant was an odd little place. Kind of typically Mexican in the sense that the tables and chairs didn’t match, the menu was quite limited, and the cook came out from her kitchen to figure out exactly what it was that Phyllis wanted. (That happens quite a lot down here.)
What was not so typical was a bathroom wallpapered from top to bottom with Spiderman comics and a framed copy of this on a wall:
I’m not sure who the usual clientele of this place are (the only other diners were two older Mexican fellows), but the young waitress (and probably the cook’s daughter) was suitably impressed when I pointed at the poster and she said “Pink Floyd” and I said “Dark Side of the Moon.” (All of that in English, by the way, since musical group names, albums, and song titles from American or English artists are always pronounced in English, just like folks in the U.S. and Canada would pronounce Los Lobos or Enrique Iglesias in Spanish).
After we had had our brunch (breakfast for Phyllis, lunch for me), we headed home to Joco, with but one stop: Mega Comercial (kind of like a super-Walmart in the sense that it sells groceries and clothing and electronics, etc., etc.). Phyllis, in all her years here, had never been and I, for all my years here….now 5-1/2….love their vegetable display/selection (that’s an example in the photo at the top of the blog, although our Mega has a much larger selection and things are not sealed in plastic). Plus, our Mega’s escalators do not have steps and therefore allow you to bring your shopping cart down on them and not even have to hold on to it, like this guy is kinda demonstrating:
WOW!!! What a concept! First of all, a big grocery store on the second floor? And second of all, escalators that transport you and your shopping cart hands-free? I LOVE that!!!
And apparently Phyllis loved Mega! She discovered that their fruit/vegetable section had all sorts of things she might like, as did their bakery…..and apparently their other sections as well. I don’t know what she purchased, I only know that I was sitting down in the “breezeway” of the covered parking area for quite a long time before she showed up!
So, although the trip yesterday was “medical” in nature, it somehow turned into one of those errand-running, social-occasion trips that always startle me by the amount of time they take.
Not that I’m complaining!!