When Mexicans are confronted with a gringo who lives in their area where few to no other gringos go, you get odd mental gymnastics that they do to rationalize why you live there.
As I wrote here, one of those rationalizations could be that you simply married a local woman or have a local girlfriend.
That is why you live in their area!
In other cases, like I wrote here, it could be that the Mexican or even the Latin American thought you were a local just like them.
In some countries like Argentina, it's easier to pass off as a local until you open your mouth and they hear your accent.
In countries like Mexico, it's a lot less common to be assumed that unless you perfect the white Mexican look (which means no blonde hair even though some Mexicans do have blonde hair. Black hair only, gringo).
In other countries like Bolivia or Guatemala though, I have a hard time too many locals will assume you are a local right away (even though some white Bolivians and Guatemalans exist).
Not long ago though, I came across another rationalization for my white existence in the neighborhood where few white folks pass through.
And that being I am a dreamer.
"I Have a Dream"
In Iztapalapa of Mexico City, I was spending half the day looking for murals.
Like I wrote here, I sometimes get in taxis to just drive me around for 6 to 8 hours in the day.
Given taxi prices are so low down here, such a ride usually ends up being 30 to 45 bucks for the entire trip.
"Wow. Mexico. So cheap. It's magical" -- says every gringo that wanted to piss off an insecure Mexican that hates how we gringos show up to a life on easy street in their OUR country.
Anyway, I got into one taxi where the dude actually thought I was a upper class White Mexican at first as I wrote here.
Even though I don't dress very upper class to be fair.
Then he had to drop me off somewhere in an area of Iztapalapa known as San Juan Xalpa just south of the Cerro de la Estrella mountain.
His wife called him during the one to two hours we had together saying that she wouldn't be able to pick up the kids and he had to pick them up.
So we finished the ride earlier than expected but he dropped me off a point where it'd be easy to find another taxi.
Soon enough, I did just that.
The next guy was nice but a bit on the quiet side.
Not as talkative.
But, by the time he did get more comfortable talking, he ended up asking me an odd question I had never been asked before.
"When did you return to Mexico?" he asked me.
At first, I was a little confused by what he meant by "return."
Didn't know what he meant by that simply.
But I assumed that perhaps it was just a language misunderstanding.
After all, my Spanish isn't perfect despite learning and speaking it for half my life.
Perhaps I just misunderstood him and thought he meant when was the last time I went back to the US to see family and came back.
"3 years ago" I said.
But, after saying that, I don't remember how exactly the conversation came about but he basically implied that I was a "dreamer."
And he said "dreamer" in English and even mentioned some family member he has back in the US that is one also.
Which I thought was a little weird.
I thought I understood him right in the moment but was confused thinking that I might not have because I thought "wait, did he just imply I am a dreamer?"
Surely that was just a mistake on my part.
A simple misunderstanding of what he said.
But, as the conversation rolled out over the next 30 seconds or so, it became clear to me that I did not misunderstand what he said and he legit made the assumption that I am a dreamer.
From there I responded and he asked me if "I am a dreamer?" as he probably picked up on my confusion.
I clarified that I wasn't.
He looked up at me and then began the usual ol' questioning of "so what you doing here?"
I clarify that I live here.
In Colonia El Manto of Iztapalapa.
He knew where that was.
But still seemingly confused as to what I was doing in this area.
And I told him that "I simply like the area" and reiterated from before to him that "I'm just looking to take pictures of the murals."
He nodded away. Still seemingly confused by his facial expression as to why I was in Iztapalapa.
But not rude, hostile or xenophobic about it.
Just confused but went along with the story.
The ride went from there.
Took tons of photos of murals like this one here.
And he ended up dropping me off at my apartment in Colonia El Manto.
To which he remarked how "en serio, vives aqui"
The Latin American bewilderment continues...
This is really nothing more than just an extension of that previous article I cited that you can again read here about the Latin American bewilderment of the gringo living in areas of Latin America that have no gringos.
Again, none of them are hostile, rude or xenophobic usually about us gringos showing up.
And that confusion seems to force them to do mental gymnastics to rationalize why we live there.
Could we be married?
Perhaps he's confused and I'm not a gringo but a white upper class local?
Or, in this case, maybe I'm a dreamer?
Though I suspect the "dreamer" rationalization would be more common among Mexicans than other Latin American nationalities.
Yes, other Latin American countries like Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador and others have folks who got deported from the US back home.
But obviously Mexico has way more of that.
I can't imagine any Chilean or Argentine naturally assuming that I am a dreamer if I was to take a taxi to their ghettos.
So it's probably an assumption that maybe a Mexican would more likely make.
Though, to be fair to Mexicans, that was the only time ever that a Mexican assumed I was a dreamer over my years here as of this writing in 2022.
Perhaps 2023 will be the year that a dozen more assume so.
But, above all, it's just another documented case of the rationale that Mexicans and Latin Americans do to try to make sense of the strange gringo going to areas no other gringo goes to.
If you got anything to add though, drop a comment below.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.