Whenever I get good and fed up with the intransigent bureaucracy and general inefficiency that is so much a part of life in Mexico, I find myself falling into the trap of romanticizing American efficiency. Back home, I’ll think, I’d never have to deal with this kind of hassle just to get a library card. Or I’ll find myself thinking, man, in the USA, if the plumber says he’s coming by at eleven, he comes by at eleven!
Once I get back on US soil, however, nothing will cure me of these idealized misconceptions faster than a trip to the local DMV. That’s what I’ve been dealing with lately as I’m back in the States for a long enough spell to warrant putting my new 1973 Volkswagen Poptop Camper on the road. And man, wasn’t I wishing that I was back in Mexico during the whole infuriating procedure. Auto insurance, registration, title, plates, and inspection – not to mention all the line-standing and telephone key code punching that goes with it. And of course through the whole thing I kept thinking, if I were in Mexico, I’d just slip this guy 200 pesos and I’d have my VW legal and on the road in no time.
So yeah, Americans can make morning coffee with water straight from the tap, we can flush toilet paper down virtually any commode we find, and we can bet on slightly better than 50/50 odds of delivery when we drop a letter in the mailbox. But it’s not all a bed of roses – we still can’t top Mexico when it comes to getting a perfectly fit vehicle on the road in a reasonable amount of time.
I leave tomorrow to Oaxaca, driving my new 1973 VW from Tucson...