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Monday, July 12, 2010

Modelos, with a side of Cries

I love going to Mexico.

I love the friendly faces, the warm smiles and the hospitality of a people with a rich heritage.

I love the food.

The spicier, the better . . .

I love Coronas. And lest not forget, Pacificos.

I get that I stay on a resort most of the time. We go to Cabo every few years and given how quickly we can get to Cancun, Playa del Carmen has quickly become one of our favorite vacation spots.

When I go there, I make every effort to torture these very people I just said I love with my high school level Spanish.

They are sweet about it though, and by the time I leave, I am stumbling a little less and not relying as much on my comfort phrase of "Yo hablo un poco" (I speak a little).

So I take my love for my Mexican friends VERY SERIOUSLY.

And I get mad - really really mad - when I see anyone from my own country resorting to any type of behavior which might be indicative of an ugly American.

Not the nice American, which I believe that most of us are and strive to be.

By nature, I am an overtipper. I always develop a story about the people I meet as we go about the mundane aspects of our life. For example, the tired looking waitress who appears like she is going to drop to the ground from exhaustion but never stops smiling as she refills my coffee.

(Single mom, husband was an alcoholic and used to get "mean". She finally got tough, said she's had it and that she and the kids deserved better. She looks especially tired because one of the kids wasn't feeling well last night and was blowing chunks all night).

The sweet looking Afghani taxi driver who is driving me home from the airport after a long business trip.

(He moved here from Afghanistan in the 70's. He used to be a professor back home and fled to the United States post-Taliban rule, trying to make ends meet for his family. His wife makes a mean kabob and he still misses the home he once knew . . .)

It's pretty bad. I don't know how, but John can usually tell when I seem especially taken with a person and based on that, he will usually say, "Let me handle this one," lest I walk away giving them a 200% tip.

He also has the uncanny ability to ask me how much I tipped someone and know when I am lying. "So what did you tip?" he will ask.

"Oh you know . . . like, 20," I say, avoiding eye contact.

"20?" He looks suspicious.

"Yes . . . give or take a (cough) a few," coughing into my hands.

"A few how many?" not deterred by my sudden appearance of a cold.

"I tipped her 28 dollars."

"What? 28 is not 20!"

"She looked like she needed new shoes. Leave me alone." And I will walk off in a huff.

Now, let me be clear. John is also a generous tipper - so he is not trying to be cheap. He is just trying to make sure we can pay our mortgage next month given the fact that I want to give away our salaries.

Last week, John and I went to Mexico for our 5 year anniversary for 4 days. We hadn't had a break in a while and needed some time to relax and just re-prioritize each other.

The first night we got there, I hadn't eaten much at dinner and got hungry around 10 PM. I tried to dial room service, but our phone wasn't working. I opened the door to see if there was any wait staff around so I could torture them for my request for "una hamburgesa con queso."

I was in luck.

Across the hall - a waiter was bringing up four Modelos for the couple in the room across from us. He knocked on the door to deliver the beers.

I watched in astonishment as the guy he was delivering the beers opened the door, took the tray and literally slammed the door in the face of the waiter.

The waiter jumped back a few feet, clearly startled, and actually motioned as if to protect his face. It was quite startling to watch honestly.

I looked at his tag and saw that his name was Victor. I explained our situation to him and asked him if he could help me out and get us some food and drinks.

And then I asked him if he wanted me to go knock on the door of the asshole who had just slammed the door in his face.

"No, no es necesario, Senorita. It must be windy."

Listen, Victor. The only thing blowing any wind is the asshole of that dumbshit who just slammed the door in your face. You and I both knew that.

I was ready to go kick some ass.

John poked his head out the door. As if some Sixth Sense was drawing him out at the sign of me gearing up for a bitch fight.

(I swear, this inner Jersey thing I have unleashed is not going to end well . . .)

"What's going on? What was that noise?" he asked.

"The wind," said Victor.

"An asshole in that room!" I said, at the exact same time, pointing at the door in front of me.

Victor promised to get my order - he was probably more scared of me at this point than the dumbshit in the other room.

When I got back to our room, I cried.

There was something about watching a grown man being treated with such utter disrespect by another human being. There was something about the motion of him holding up his hands to his face as he jumped back from the sudden and screeching slam of the door.

There was something about watching another person literally take something out of the hands of another person and turn their back without a "Thank You" while also then being a subsequent obnoxious asswipe.

I just felt really down. I cried and I cried. John looked at me like I was a nut, but he gave me some space, because if nothing else . . .

I am the nut that he married.

I sat down and got the hotel stationary and wrote a three page letter to the assholes in the room across from us. I wanted to tell them exactly how I felt and how they were the ones who gave traveling Americans a bad name. That poor Victor really didn't deserve that crap and that if they didn't want to tip him, the least they could do was treat him like a fellow human being.

Three effing pages.

I wrote three freaking pages.

As I got up to go deliver my message to the vermin across the hallway (Don't ever disrespect my friend, Victor!), John looked over at me and said,

"Why don't you hold off on delivering that them tomorrow?"

"Because I won't then," I replied.

"Maybe that's the point," he said.

And so I started crying again. I wasn't doing any good for the world crying about the injustices against humanity from my room at a luxe resort and I certainly wouldn't be helping the world by starting a fight with a douchebag drinking Modelos across the hall.

But God, it felt so right.

I put the pad away. I think John may have crumpled up the note and threw it away.

Heck, maybe Victor swiped it when he delivered our food.

I tried to make up for the rudeness of the guy across the hall by promising Victor our firstborn (Sorry, Shaila, it seemed like the right thing to do) and ended up just telling John to tip him enough to cover my shame over what had just happened.

And for all the three pages of that letter that went unsaid.

"Men are respectable only as they respect”-- Ralph Waldo Emerson




Ruby said...

gah!!! i love cancun!
I too am the big tipper in the family and i end up the same way as you almost giving all i have just because i felt some sort of connection and/or felt the person deserved a little something extra to brighten up their day heck even life sometimes. I would have probably acted the same way and had the hubs come to the rescue and kick some booty for me (hes the one from jersey in the family lol) which probably would have led me to stop a fight half way thru. My husband thinks we should only tip a dollar per person not counting the kids (whats up with that ugh totally annoying) and i like to go by how i feel 5 has been the minimum and he gets soooo upset. I dont think you a nut tho its totally understandable to feel the way you did. I can so relate!

Goodmood Masala said...

I would have cried too! I see, on a daily basis, how people disrespect each other on so many levels, and it really does something to the soul each time you feel helpless and can't do anything about it. It's sad that people don't know how to respect every other person's dignity.

Heather said...

How very sad - poor Victor! :(

I hope that you were able to look past this incident and enjoy your time w/John. 5 years is an amazing anniversary and I know how difficult it is to leave the kidlets at home. love you girlie!

xoxo, Heather

foxy said...

OH MY GOSH! That is so unbelievably frustrating AND EMBARRASSING for those of us that act like you're supposed to. What is wrong with people these days?? How could anyone ever act like that? I just don't get it.


And disgusting.

I want to kick that Modelo drinking douchecanoe right in the teeth. So, yes, I understand your emotion.

Anna See said...

Oh Kiran, this reallly resonated with me. Some people give human beings a bad name. Argh. I truly believe that your care and concern made Victor's night much, much better.

Ruth J said...

i think you would have felt better if you went with your first instinct and knocked on their door and asked them to apologize to victor.

maybe they were drunk and that would make their behavior easier to explain. but the only way you would have found out is if you had knocked.

nmaha said...

You should have delivered that letter, or reported them to a human rights organization.

I do the same thing when it comes to tipping.

Thumbs up, you are a good human being, and that's what counts. said...

Ugh I go through this at the grocery. We have several older gentlemen who work as bag boys at our local Publix. It never fails that I will see a fully capable young man using their services and I'm just thinking to myself, "WHY?" You can carry your Coors Light JUST FINE. Let this guy take a break!
American Entitlement is an ugly thing, indeed.

Caroline said...

You are so one of those people I wish I knew in real life. My husband used to be a server, and I can't tell you how many times people left him horrid tips or no tip at all. Almost like people had no respect for the fact that he was performing a service for them (and doing it very well), while at the same time trying to provide for his family. People don't consider that. Why should they? It might mean that they have some sliver of respect for their fellow man . . . . I know, right? What a concept?


webb said...

Both you and John were right. Unfortunately confronting assholes - even by letter - only makes them worse. What you CAN do, tho, is raise children who will not ever do that to their fellow men and teach them why. We can only return humanity to our world one person at the time. You could also find the asshole's mother and ask her "what were you thinking?" Maybe not.

Lemon Gloria said...

You are a sweet, sweet person. And I think John was right in asking you to wait until tomorrow. That's what Nick would have done, and I appreciate that kind of restraint, as it's not something I have. Assholes are assholes and they're not going to change based on a stranger's input. I do wish you could've done something stealthy like smear dog poo on his door handle, though.

Sara said...

I hate this shit.

You do not go to another country and treat people poorly just because it's "not like back home" or because you can.

These are the people I wish would just stay home because clearly, going anywhere else is just too much for their tiny, little brains.

I hope the rest of your time was enjoyable and I'm sure Victor appreciated your kindness.

jessalyn said...

this was written amazingly. people who are rude to anyone for no reason make me livid. the only thing that makes me feel a little better is knowing that odds are, that huge asshole has a miserable life. something has to cause them to be such a dick.

hope you had a nice anniversary otherwise though!

When did I become my Mom said...

I can't stomach seeing injustice like that. I usually WILL talk just a little too loud, a little angrily, to let them know that what's done in the dark does come to light. my poor husband.... he'd relate to John. :-)

MiMi said...

I've never been to Mexico, except for Tijuana... :)

*Maybe* Baby ♥ Mama said...

Our journey has begun!... secretly though =) 

If I’ve left you this message, you’re probably a follower of my original blog or just someone I happened on and really wanted to invite along for the ride! Though I won’t be revealing who I am just yet – until we’re TO and THROUGH the first trimester! Just getting the word out about our new site – further explanation of all the secrecy and what we’re about on my first post now up. I’d love for you to stop by. 

Exciting things going on around here!

~ the {secret} *Maybe* Baby Mama

Mrs Montoya said...

Despite the obnoxious gringo across the hall, I hope you were able to recover and have a great trip.

SurferWife said...

I love Mimi's comment.

And I love you. You are such a special person, Kiran.

The End.


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