Mexican Space Filler

photo: gallery.sjsu.edu

Bajadock:  This is funny and true.  Where there is no noise, a Mexican family will fill it up with music and chatter.  Where there is space, like a wall, a Mexican will fill it with art, murals, photos, crosses, velvet Jesuses and candles.  Where there is no smell, Mexican will brew up intoxicating food aromas that will have you begging for a meal. 

Related info, including 2 from 2007 BajaNomad discussions worth visiting on this topic:

Baja from the Nose

Baja from the Noise

Following is from Ask a Mexican …

DEAR MEXICAN: How come Mexicans don’t like negative space? I was thinking about this important question on Saturday, while staring into a huge bowl of menudo at Delicious Mexican Foods to Go on Fort Boulevard in El Paso. It was stuffed with tripe and pozole and greasy red sauce, and then I threw in chopped onions and cilantro and dried chile peppers and salsa verde and whatever that green dried herb is, and then I squeezed a half of lemon on top of the concoction. The nice lady also gave me two buttered bolillos hot from the oven, a glass of water and a cup of coffee. There was no space left on the table for anything except hunger.

I began to eat. The menudo was glorious. But in the midst of my reverie, the menudo got me thinking about Diego Rivera and the Aztec calendar and Pancho Villa, for God’s sake—even Frida Kahlo. If any of them saw even a little bit of negative space, they would fill it with paint or blood or prophecy about the end of the world. It was like they wanted to answer every question there is to ask. Then Japan popped into my head. The Japanese love negative space—like miso soup and strange little sushi on a big platter and Zen and haiku and inked scrolls showing some monk sitting on a stone dwarfed by the totally empty void. Lucky for me, I remembered you. Am I right? Do Mexicans have a thing against negative space? Maybe Mexican culture is an antidote for Japanese culture and vice versa, and what we need now is an antidote to gringo culture. And why is it I can like Mexico and Japan at the same time? Am I crazy or what?

Chuco Bobby

DEAR GABACHO: You are absolutely right—we despise negative space. Gabachos see a manicured lawn; Mexicans see a place to park a car. Gabachos silently mourn during a funeral; Mexicans hire atamborazo. Gabachos stand respectfully apart while in line; Mexicans get so close to you they’re nearlypito to culo. It explains our love for murals and poofy quinceañera dresses and fruit salads with chili powder. Why do we fill up negative space? Because life was meant to be lived crossing borders—DUH.

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter@gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

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