Mexico City is by far one of the best cities in this continent. You can club till dawn (which is hard to do here in New York), you can shop for jewelry at Tiffany’s, Cartier and Bvlgari (all in the same block on Masaryk Ave), you can get any item from Zara in any size because in Mexico City alone there are more Zara stores than in the US. Education-wise, there are the French, German, Irish, American, British schools… Just a few years ago the French supermarket chain “Carrefour” was present in Mexico. So you could go to Carrefour for a nice, crisp baguette and cheap French wine, to Wal-Mart for cranberry juice and to Superama for rice and beans. Mexico City gives you a glance at the world in many ways.
Unfortunately, all these pros are shaded by some terrible cons. Insecurity and pollution being the worst, in my opinion… however, there is a terrible “sickness” that affects the capital’s society, which acts as a detrimental force to the cultural and social advancement of the metropolis. It’s feared by every mother -who so lovingly teaches her children to eat with their mouths shut while keeping their backs straight. Understanding fathers are also cautious and strive to afford the best possible education for their kids, hoping they will never be infected by the plague.
A plague much worse than the swine flu, a sickness that attacks you faster than the avian flu: la NAQUEZ. In such an overpopulated city, such as el DF, this terrible illness has spread all over and is now a major aggravation for many, many inhabitants. Interestingly, nacos (people suffering from naquez) from el DF are often –incorrectly- referred to as “chilangos”. This is a clear misuse, for any decent “capitalino” (native of the Mexican capital) knows that a “chilango” is someone who migrated to el DF, or who was born of parents who migrated into el DF. Strictly speaking, I am considered “capitalino” because my family has been established in Mexico City for generations; however, I call myself chilango and don’t give a damn about it [!].
La naquez, however, is not an aggravation exclusive of Mexico City. There are nacos all across the country –and the world, for that matter-, but Mexico City being so horribly overpopulated has a major concentration of people infected with the disease. Let me explain the symptoms. A Mexican naco will most likely:
[!] Be devout of the virgin of Guadalupe and might even have tattoos of her over his/her body. They also have Guadalupe memorabilia in their homes and vehicles, such as stickers, candles, and figurines…
[!] Listen (almost exclusively) and dance (exclusively) to popular musical genders such as cumbia, bachata, salsa and reggaeton.
[!] They speak with a certain intonation and inflection that is very characteristic of the lower classes, who have no access to prestigious private schooling. Naturally their vocabulary and mastery of the Spanish language is very deficient, and they mispronounce words and use others that aren’t even words.
[!] They lack sophistication and sense of socially accepted fashion, style and manners. Typically unilingual, they have little or no interest for foreign cultures. They might be nacos, but never malinchistas, which is more than I can say (stay tuned for the “Viva la Malinche” post).
All these symptoms could be corrected and the malady could be cured, only, and only, if the most terrible symptom is not present yet, which is:
[!] Lack of interest in a better (or at least more socially accepted) behavior and lifestyle.
No one is responsible for his or her socio-economical status at the moment of birth. If Deyvis is born to a poor couple that already have another four children (Mary Crysty –who was conceived by Lupita at the early age of 16-, Yeyson, Yenny and el Prieto), he can’t be blamed for that. He shouldn’t be blamed either for being raised in la Doctores, Neza, Tultitlán or any other guetto in the Mexican capital. It is definitely not Deyvis’ fault he has to attend public elementary and middle schools. Beto, his dad, is a grease monkey after all, and he can provide only so much money to his household. And that is not Beto’s fault either.
Alas, poor Deyvis was born a naco, and there is little, or nothing he can do about it. He was taken to la Villa at the age of three for his “presentación” (catholic ritual to thank God that the child made it healthy to the age of three). He danced the Sleepy Beauty waltz at his graduation of public elementary school. He was a “chambelán” (accompanying dancer) for his sister and cousins’ quinceañera parties (the most obscene demonstration of naquez). He was raised watching soccer and lucha libre every Sunday. He played la “cascarita” (informal soccer practice on the street or park) con los otros weyes de la colonia (with the other dudes from the quarter). He’s shopped for groceries, clothes, music and auto-parts at the “tianguis” (open air market, somewhat characteristic of the lower classes) since early childhood.
You could say poor Deyvis is a product of his society, a victim of his situation. Yet, when he dares going to Santa Fe, Polanco or la Condesa (highly reputable neighborhoods in el DF), he is glared at, rejected from clubs and bars, suspected of shoplifting at the stores, and yet, when poor Deyvis accidentally hits Ximena with his elbow while walking beside her, he will be very apologetic and say “ay, perdone señorita” (oh, forgive me, miss), to which she will reply “ash, fíjate!! Pinche naco!!” (ugh, just watch it! Damned naco!). Ximena, Regina and Fernanda will just glare at him with a disgusted expression on their faces, wondering what a naco like Deyvis is doing so close to Konditori (my favorite Danish restaurant, but certainly not Deyvis') in Polanco.
Poor Deyvis will leave the scene feeling humiliated, ostracized. He will think of Ximena, Regina and Fernanda (those three beautiful, fair-skinned, green-eyed bitches), as “pinches viejas mamonas” (damned snob girls), but he knows, deep down, he knows his opinion of them matters nothing when compared to the opinion they have of him. He is aware of his socio-cultural inferiority. And it is on the bus ride on his way home that Deyvis is presented with the individual, personal opportunity: Should he start paying more attention to his English and Computer-Use (yes, third world countries have such classes in public schools because computers are not available to everyone) professors? Should he start reading books? Should he stop wearing an América (his favorite Mexican soccer team) jersey all the time? Would it be possible to stop being a pinche naco, and be socially accepted in spite of his name, skin color and height?
If Deyvis says “yes”, he is in the right path. His self-commitment to progression not only makes him a better person, but will also lead to better opportunities for him and his family. He is choosing to do more with the resources available to him, regardless how scarce they might be. That is plausible. On the other hand, if he says “no” and decides to remain a pinche naco… then it might be me the next one to mutter “quítate, pinche naco” (move over, you damned naco!) next time Deyvis doesn’t move to let me walk past him on Anatole France street.
There is nothing in this world that I abhor and despise more than self-inflected ignorance. That is the one sin I judge in others. I see true naquez as the personal decision of leading a low lifestyle. Such lack of personal ambition saddens me and disgusts me at the same time. People should never be blamed or judged for their circumstances, but for their choice of not changing them.