If you haven’t experienced “A Mexican Minute” true mexican style – it is both frustrating and enlightening.
I had my first taste of the mexican minute when I first met Ricardo, and it’s been going strong ever since.
The mexican culture is very relaxed where time just isn’t important. When you ask a Mexican how long it’s going to take to get from A to B, or what time they will meet you.. Normally you will get a response of “5 minutes” which could mean 15 minutes, 1 hour, or __fill in the blank__.
I was raised to be early for everything. Time is hard to come by in Canada, everyone is busy and if you are lucky enough to be squeezed into someone’s schedule then you had better be on time. Here in Mexico it feels as if the days are longer as time just isn’t important.
I spent the first 6 months of our relationship trying to teach Ricardo how long 5 minutes actually amounted to. I gritted my teeth whenever he would tell me 5 minutes, when in reality he meant something else. I would almost feel like chasing him out the door when we first lived together. He would be 10 minutes from starting work and he still had to walk 3 blocks to the road, catch a bus, and walk another 3 blocks to the resort and he was just doddling. Sometimes he would be 5 minutes late, sometimes 20 minutes… but never was he in trouble. It was then that I realized, this is the Mexican culture. I can spend all of my energy stressing about it, or I could learn to accept it.
For the most part, I learned to accept it. I’ve learned when to ask ‘in a mexican minute, or a canadian minute?” when I really want to know.
The first week I arrived to Mexico, we had planned to meet in Puerto Vallarta at the mall after Ricardo got off of work. I was naturally 15 minutes early and was quite happy to be. Ricardo was off at 3pm which would put him at the mall at approximately 3:20 at the latest. I waited, and I waited. 3:45 rolls around and finally I change benches to be faced directly in front of the mall doors. 4pm… He had better have a sense of urgency in his step or else I’m going to lose it… 4:15pm.. Ok, now I am getting a little bit worried, and with no cell phone I cannot do anything about it. I head upstairs to find the local payphone, only to find they don’t accept cash nor credit card. You need to purchase a calling card. Defeated I headed back down the escalator. 4:30pm- 1 hour and 45 minutes of waiting later, Ricardo finally arrives. If this is what they mean by a Mexican Minute, I had better participate or else I’ll spend half of my life waiting.
Another time I had met Ricardo after work and we were walking to Scotiabank, I turned to him and asked, “Ricardo, how many blocks is it to the bank? Should we walk, or take the bus?”
Ricardo replies, “It’s not too far, maybe 2 blocks… 5 minutes.”
After walking 12 blocks for 30 minutes in the 40 degree heat I was again, not impressed with the “Mexican Minute.”
I think when I said for the most part I learned to accept it, I really meant “When are we going back to Canada? I could really use a Canadian minute right about now!”