I’m dating a 38-year-old Tijuanense, born and raised in Tijuana. Enrique (that’s his name if you’re me, but his real name is Javier) is showing me the ways of the border world, changing me slowly but surely. Take, for example, my Saturday afternoon. Enrique took me to his friend Mota’s seafood shop, a stand set up on the sidewalk just outside of downtown Tijuana.
For four hours, we did nothing but drink Tecate and bullshit. Enrique calls Mota’s shop “The Love Shack” because most of the bullshitting was about their crazy love lives (yes, many Mexican men like to have more than one girlfriend).
Normally, this much hanging out and doing nothing would make me anxious. I’m an admitted workaholic, so too much down time truly does make me crazy (an all-American affliction, I believe), but Enrique and his strange bunch of buddies somehow got me to calm down and actually relax, Mexican style. I think the Tecate had something to do with it.
Also, on more than one occassion I have had five grown adults in my tiny Honda Civic; a direct result of Enrique demanding to drag around an entourage at all times. Cramming into cars is a Mexican tradition, a fun Mexican tradition I might add (I felt like I was back in high school cruising Main Street with all my ladies). Mexicans seem to maintain their adulthood friendships better than we white folk do. That’s a fact.
And one more thing; I’ve been eating cactus, nopales to be exact. It’s the vegetarian asado option and it’s freakin’ phenomenal. I had tried it before I met Enrique, but he reminded me of its tastiness. I’m finding that the more obscure Mexican foods are fantastic. Sometimes I wish I could stomach meat so I could try more of the traditional Mexican menu, but that just ain’t an option.
Oh wait, here’s a scary little tidbit; the more Mexican women I meet, the more I can hear the mostly muffled ticking of my biological clock. I’m 25, and many of the Mexican women I’ve met who are around my age (or even younger) have at least a few kids already. They’re just so cute. I find myself thinking about popping one out within the next few years. Enrique’s down, of course, he already has one kid, a 15-year-old boy, and he’s lookin’ to add a baby girl to the mix.
Anyway, we’ll see how much of this sticks. My inner productive, money-loving American may erase Enrique’s Mexican effects.