Back in my last post I said some stuff about Mexican music. About how in San Miguel in Mexico I hadn’t heard any rap and rowdy music on the streets because the town was so small & quaint, etc. etc. Most of those ideas had to be changed the next night when the neighbors next door had a crazy pool party. Or maybe it was the neighbors. Actually, we think it was probably some of teenagers who were doing construction on the house, which to that point consisted primarily of a concrete shell and a hot tub and a swimming pool. So with the tarps flapping over the window spaces the guys switched on the lights, brought in the stereo, and got the water ready. By midnight the pool was filled with girls and the wheelbarrows with beer. And the music went on all night. Loud. Right by my room. Thus I got a good overview of what a party full of Mexican teenagers listen to all night.
Really bad pop, really bad rock, a little rap, and (by 2 a.m.) mariachi. A few American songs mixed in, but nearly all Mexican. The only thing that got the sing-along chorus going outside was the mariachi–and the wails and the yee-haws went on for quite some time, until I finally fell asleep. Until then most of the music was pretty wretched….It’s funny how bad cliched tunes transcend all languages, especially in the early morning when nobody wants to hear them. I’d be moved by this idea if it hadn’t been so painful. The kids seemed to be in disagreement about the song selection, with the volume turned up then down, a love song replaced by a rap song, etc. In the morning, the detritus of the night (empty bottles, clothes, who knows what) lay scattered across the cement until finally someone woke up and cleaned it all up again. Since most of the large walled houses on our street were owned by rarely present whites, it’s unlikely that the owner would ever have known. (Unless, of course, the house is owned by Mexicans–but Mexican owned mansions didn’t seem to be the norm in our part of San Miguel. The full time residents seemed to live in the small adobe houses abutting the little fruit stands. The trend seemed to involve razing these houses to construct walled complexes for the gringos, like us.) At any rate, the drunken house party gave me a chance to hear some watered-down mainstream Mexican rap. The next night I heard it again, playing quietly on our street as a pack of six kids loitered around a low-slung Chevy. Just like in our neighborhood at home.
Once back in the States, I found that the carniceria a few blocks from us no longer looked so forbidding, even if I didn’t speak Spanish. Mexicans, even Mexican Americans, seem to just take us stupid gringos in stride while they work and collect our cash. I guess when we leave town, they have a celebration. I vow yet again to learn Spanish and to go engage our neighbors in conversation. I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to it.