The Probability of Forgetting Something…..
January 4th, 2011 by Les

Roger Angell has said: “Whatever it is that hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.”  Roger calls this his “Law of Probability Dispersal” (the New York Times chief fiction editor for many years)

“The probability of someone laughing at you is proportional to the stupidity of your actions.”  Oddly, no one seems to want to take credit for this quote….now what is the probability of that?!

is directly proportional to…to…uh…okay moving on.  The probability of many things in Mexico is certain.  The complexity of that certainty is the hour upon which it (whatever it is) will arrive, be done, be started or be finished, for that matter.

I believe being able to find the unobtainable answer to “Mexican time” and other inherently Mexican happenings is directly related to Riemann’s zeta function.  That is to say zeta is the core of Riemann’s hypothesis which is arguably the biggest unsolved problem in mathematics.  The mathematical problem zeta proposes is about describing the frequency and distribution of all prime numbers to infinity.

The probability of solving Riemann’s zeta function is arguably the same as solving the “Mexican time” dilemma or other uniquely Mexican oddities.  In other words folks, get used to it.

I’d also suggest , if you are prone to accomplishing tasks, setting time frames, organizing dinner parties to the minute, etc perhaps you need to re-think living in Mexico.  Learning to go with the flow is essential to retaining one’s sanity, not blowing a gasket and not being known as the resident curmudgeon of thus-and-so village or town.

We’ve been down here over a year now.  One of the many benefits of living in Mexico, as we see it, is being able to go with the flow.  Our blood pressure no longer reaches epic proportions when told we’ll, let us say, have your new toilet installed in a couple of days.  (Note: that was two weeks ago but whose counting.)

Then there is the interesting…for the most part….”rules of the road”.  First thing you learn, there aren’t any rules of the road anyone seems to follow.  Second thing you learn, much to my amazement, is a red sign with the word “Alto” on it, one would think, would mean “stop” as it does in the US.  I’m going for the obvious universal sign for “stop” here so please bear with me.  However if you look up the word “alto” in Spanish you learn the first definition is “high” or “tall”.

I rest my case.  If you see a sign with “alto” on it you will not see anyone trying to figure out what “tall” has to do with anything at this particular intersection.  You will also not see many people actually “stop” as, apparently, it means different things to different people.  Some people slow down and others speed up.  So, to be safe watch the flow of traffic and, as I’ve admonished before, go with the flow….literally.

The same holds true for one-way streets.  First, in our small village of Ajijic, the arrows showing which directions it is suggested you travel on any given street are on the various buildings at any given corner.  At this point it might be prudent for me to mention often people have spruced up their building and painted over the arrows.  Looking down the street to see what direction the cars are parked does not help.  Here is why, cars are parked going both directions on both sides of the street regardless of whether the street is a one way or a two way.  ALSO, even if it is a two way usually only one car can get through at a time.  Making it even more confusing is, as I’ve mentioned before, the drivers here are very creative.  If the street is a one way going the opposite direction they’d like to go they simply back down the street.  SOOOOO, now you’ve got people going up and down and others backing up or down…as the case may be.

Here folks is my own probability definition: It is highly probable when someone first arrives in our village they will be hell bent on following the rules of the road.  After a while their sense of humor (if they have any) will take over and they will do like the rest of us…pull over and let the cars go by no matter what direction they are traveling.

My motto: when you are in Mexico and see the light at the end of the tunnel…get the heck out of the way as it’s probably a train!!  Viva Mexico!

Below you will see photographs of a parade that took place on New Years Day just outside our door.  We had a few friends over for a late lunch and we all had to stop what we were doing and join in the festivities!

Just Adorable!


Confetti is often a part of any parade.

Quite the Characters!

Happy New Year!

I'll let you figure this one out!

Our resident celebrity burro.

One of our guests decided to join the parade. She did find her way back after adding a dash of the US to the Mexican festivities!

Visit the BoomerstoMexico Photo Store at , to see more of the beauty of Ajijic Mexico in David’s photos.  Several of David’s pieces are now exhibiting at the Ajijic Cultural Center and can be seen on the stores website.

4 Responses  
  • Laurel writes:
    January 5th, 20112:09 pmat


    It is now the 2nd day back from Paradise and I live to tell about it. I have already gotten my broken phone problem and my computer problem worked out.

    Seems like my personal technology devices also went on vacation when I left town. Thanks again for the hospitality and the help with everyday hassles when I was down there.

    My feet have mostly recovered from the cobble stones.

    Viva Mexico Y viva Les and David Lawrence

    Sincerely, Laurel

  • Les writes:
    January 5th, 201111:11 amat

    Hi Kathleen,

    You are absolutely right about the brightly flashing red, green and yellow lights in La Floresta and by Super Lake. For those of you non-Ajijicans La Floresta is a gated community just before WallyWorld (Wal-Mart) in Ajijic. Super Lake is the very popular grocery store gringo’s frequent for foods from the lands from which they come.

    It is David and my supposition the lights near both of these areas flashed all the colors not only to confuse everyone but to catch the eye of those who live here year around. Traffic is not as heavy from approximately May through August or September. It picks up in October and runs through May because that is when the snowbirds come to stay. It is a warning, of sorts, the snowbirds are here and traffic control is necessary.

    I also didn’t mention the various lights that go out continuously in the Ajijic village itself. Rarely replaced in a timely manner everyone who drives gets used to guessing when the green has come on by the flow of traffic from the other direction. And the red stop light when out is, in my mind, the biggest challenge as you simply hope you don’t get to that particular light first and the people in cars and crossing the street by foot aren’t in the middle of the road.

    A I mentioned in my blog, rules of the road…I think everyone just looks at driving like so many other things here as an adventure! And, again I say, Viva Mexico!

  • Kathleen Westphal writes:
    January 4th, 20119:46 pmat

    Once again I love your tale .
    You forgot to mention what to do when the traffic lights are both red and green at the same time!! Happens by Super Lake and other select spots.
    I honestly think having a good sense of humor has saved us in Ajijic…or maybe living in Milwaukee for 40 years was good preparation.
    It is realllllly cold here…will be back next week to our zany lifestyle.
    One thing you have to experience is getting a Mexican drivers license…now that is a story to tell.
    Thanks again for all of this..keeps me sane.

  • Joe & Jan writes:
    January 4th, 20115:42 pmat

    Once again wonderful blog and photos. We are beginning to learn how to go with the flow.

    Joe & Jan

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