A number of Yucatecos and Yucatecas, and in particular the Yucatecas, love their warmth. Growing up in Merida has left some of them hyper-sensitive (hiper-sensibles) to what they perceive as cold and with the advent of air conditioning this has lead to the occasional complaint about it being ‘too cold’. Women from the pueblos, who work as maids in Merida, acting on traditions handed down from generation to generation will not iron (clothes) with a window open, since this will make them ill. That frigid Yucatan breeze blowing in from the back yard might give them pneumonia, apparently. I always point out, when discussing this interesting notion, that the Swedes seem to be pretty healthy, in spite of their insane practice of heating themselves to the boiling point in a sauna and then frolicking naked in the snow.
I know of at least one (and there are others, I am sure) local woman who, if she is going shopping at Sams or Costco, will take a sweater; ditto for an outing to Cinepolis where she will sit usually at the back or some place where she won’t feel the air conditioning directly. “Donde no me da el aire” is the expression used; where the air doesn’t get me. Getting some fresh asparagus or the latest imported Washington cherries from the icy room in the back of Costco – no matter how fresh they might be in spite of their whopping carbon foot print which is of no concern to anyone – is completely and utterly out of the question. She is aware of her unique-ness and consequently is prepared with a shawl or sweater when she goes out.
What I find irritating is the insistence of some of these ladies – the ones who refuse to take a sweater or shawl “why should I, I am in Merida!” – to complain, in a restaurant, for example or a meeting room at a conference about the air conditioning to the management or their waiter; asking them to turn down the air conditioning because they are cold. What about all the other people in the restaurant or at the conference? Are they cold too? What if they are menopausal or Canadian and are actually hot? Should there be a vote held on the temperature of the room? You have to admire the self-confidence of these individuals who consider their body-temperature issues far more important than those of everyone around them and believe that they are the only people (that matter) in the room.
Imagine this happening elsewhere. You ask the waiter at Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach to turn down the air conditioning because you are cold and you would be laughed out of the place! “Who the hell are you” the waiter would think to himself before saying “yes, of course” and promptly ignoring you. If he was a Mexican American waiter, which might be a possibility in the United States these days he would also think “ta loca” a la George Lopez. Try visiting Smith and Wollensky’s in New York and asking one of their seasoned waiters from Jersey to “turn up the heat” because you are cold. You would get quite an earful I’m sure.
I had an interesting exchange with someone on Twitter recently – which prompted this rant – in which she was complaining that she should have asked the restaurant manager to turn down the air conditioning “before she asked for the bill, not after, when they were going to turn off the air conditioning anyway” (her tweet) I suggested she take a sweater if she was one of these people who are hiper sensibles to cold air and she replied sarcastically “Oh yes, of course, I should carry around a sweater in Merida if I go out. Good point”
I think so. Turn it down a notch, dear. You’re not that important.