According to Buzzfeed and my own observations, here are ten things Mexicans find weird in the United States.
1. AC is on all the time through most temperate months. Americans create their own climate. And with their humidifiers and retractable awnings, it’s like everybody lives in their own little biosphere. (If they grow their own potatoes a la The Martian, they never have to leave the house.)
2. Everyone gets carded before buying alcohol. This is truly unique to America. You can be wheeled into a liquor store looking like a bog mummy, and you will be required to dig around past your pace maker for a card to show that you’re 94 years old. If you want to be cute, you can say the bottle of lemoncello is REALLY for your grandson, who’s 35.
3. Public restrooms are free. Yes, the alcohol can creep up on you when you least expect it. In Mexico you often need a few pesos for a restroom. If you only have 500-peso notes, you’re out there looking for a mature bush.
4. Restaurant servings are enormous. Yes, in most places in America, size is generally recognized as “the best food in town.” I think I once saw a Sumo wrestler ask for a doggy bag.
5. Everybody generally appears at places at the exact time. This is one of America’s long-standing cultural phenoms. Mexicans often drift off and forget not what time they are committed to but what time zone.
6. People actually follow traffic signs. Yes, that’s because traffic tickets can cost the equivalent of some small country’s GDP. In Mexico, the mordida is not bribing the officer for not having your seatbelt on. It’s a tip for the courteous reminder.
7. One-week (?) vacations for the whole year. (Sometimes taken in two long weekends.) This explains why Americans have to see all of Europe in five days and come home and study their brochures to see where they actually went.
8. 24-Hour Restaurants. To Mexicans arriving in the United States, seeing people pouring in and out of restaurants at 3 a.m. seems bizarre. In Mexico (at least, at Lakeside), at 8 or 9 p.m., they’re putting the chairs up on the tables while you’re finishing your spaghetti.
9. Drive-Throughs. In most other countries, you take the time to at least park the car and walk through the front doors of the place you are going to eat in. Not in the United States, where we’re too busy to waste that 78 seconds. So many of us use drive-through restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, liquor stores and more, leaving all civilized foreigners wondering if most Americans are in get-away cars.
10. Security. Instead of an alarm system or concertina wire around your home, many Americans leave their doors and windows open and feel a semi-automatic Winchester is the way to go.