Keeping Warm in Mexico

Today I got my Honda smogged at Nissan in Guanajuato. Then I drove over to the new Honda dealership and pulled into the Service entrance. A young woman in a jacket came out of an office to greet me. It was 11 in the morning, long after cars had pulled in for service. She held out her hand and said Buenos Días. I reciprocated, bowed a little the way my mother must have taught me, and brought my heels together—maybe from seeing movies. There was no click because I was wearing sandals. I did have to go to dancing school when I was about eight years old. I do thank my mother for that, since it gave me a life-long advantage over male competitors who are reluctant to or don’t know how to dance. Your value as a male leaps when you know how to dance and bow a little. The young woman was a facilitator. I told her one of my lights wasn’t working, on the left side. She went away and came back with a mechanics’ supervisor. I turned on the lights, he nodded and walked away. He came back with a mechanic. I had thought the matter was going to be complicated, involving removing a lot of things under the hood to get at the delinquent bulb. He signaled that I should open the hood. He reached in and in maybe eight seconds had the bulb in his hand. With a look of satisfaction, a detective finding key evidence, he held it up to show us all that it was blackened from the short inside it. The two men went away, the supervisor to the Parts window to inquire about the bulb. I did not expect them to have the bulb. They are a relatively new branch of Honda, plus it is my experience that in Mexico you often have to come back for something you need. I believe that comes from a culture that has learned to avoid the cost of maintaining an inventory that may not be sold. The work area was a high-ceiling shed, with big doors open at either end and a chilly wind passing through the work space. I chatted a little with the young reception woman. I am sure, aside from cleaning people, she is one of the lowest paid employees at the dealership. She had a jacket on and was clearly still cold. I stood in front of the engine looking in. “It’s pretty clean for ten years old,” I said. She agreed. The supervisor came back and said they would have the new bulb the next morning after 9. Maybe, I thought. The engine gave off heat. I was like standing in front of a very warm radiator, the old fashioned steam kind. I mentioned this to her and invited her to join me. We stood with our backs to the motor and chatted. She was a smart person, personable, friendly. And poised culturally and socially that she could stand beside an unknown gringo of years and feel relatively comfortable. If I were head of Honda, I would make sure she rose in the ranks as far as she wanted to go. I just thought I’d mention it. The moment. And where a burned out headlight bulb can lead. 

Leave a Reply