Friday, May 01, 2009

The Real Reason Why Mexicans got the Swine Flu

According to a study, it's because they are far more sociable than gringos.
Actually, I'm totally making this up.
Mexicans are far more sociable than gringos, but that's not why they got the flu. Although it may be why it spread there so fast. No one in Mexico is ever alone.
There is a Mexican candy called muégano, which is a ball of fried dough pillows glued with molasses. It is delicious, but good luck dislodging it from your teeth.
Well, the word Muégano is also used to describe the Mexican custom of always going everywhere with the entire family, as in familia muégano. Where there can be 17 people, there will. One lonely soul arrives at the airport and 35 relatives come to greet him. Mexico simply is not a place that understands aloneness. I once had the temerity to eat lunch by myself on a Sunday at my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in Polanco (Adonis) and everybody looked at me like I was a martian, or an orphan, or an orphaned martian. The food was yummy, but it was the worst lunch of my life.
Here in New York, it's almost the opposite. You can go everywhere and do anything by yourself and nobody bats an eye. Bars, restaurants, movies, anything. In Mexico it's like you are a pathetic object of pity or you are an alien, perhaps insane (particularly if you are a female). One feels very alone, when everybody else is surrounded by 17 people or more at all times.
But because we are more sociable, we do have a very strong social network. When I look at the homeless here in the US, I always wonder where is their family?
I always complain about Mexican mueganismo, but I wouldn't really want it to be like here.
Thanks to Karie, for sending this my way.

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