There are some really shitty Mexican bars in the United States. In Los Angeles, in some of the less integrated neighborhoods, the barrios, where I estimate the demographics are about 110% Hispanic, there are some truly dire hole in the wall Taste of Tijuana beer bars. The jukebox plays vinyl, nothing but Spanish tunes, brassy and headache-inducing banda and a lot of maudlin Spanish love stories belted out by mustachioed crooners in big hats and boots. Or moaned out in waves of passionate angst by lovely women with curvy hair and big tits. The jukebox shouts out in Spanish.
In my sodden days past, there was a bar in the neighborhood I frequented. It was a shitty Mexican bar. It even had real Mexicans who had slithered in through the door straight from the shit infested gutters of Tijuana. The bar was filled with an obligatory loud Spanish jukebox and the patrons were Mexican men who came to drink lots of beer, play pool, talk Spanish smack and always, invariably, the bar was tended by hot Mexican bartenders (if you can call opening beer bottles “bartending”) who always seemed up to shady maneuvers on their phones and loitering behind the bar with equally shady men who always lingered about like stray fireflies buzzing about off course. The bartenders looked like they materialized right out of the Corona beer girl posters. Hot bitches, all of them.
Mexican bars like this are tough because everyone talks Spanish. No one speaks English, and if they do, it’s always broken and not understandable to the typical English-only speaking drunk. The bartender’s grasp of the English language is comically rudimentary. Ordering a Budweiser, a simple act on the surface, takes tricky and skillful contortions of linguistic Houdini proportions in order for it to work. The girls seriously do not understand English! This is not the United States. Don’t let anyone tell you this is the United States. Dude. This is Mexico. You are not on your turf. You are on their turf.
Mexicans, much like their White American counterparts, get very loud when they are drinking beer in the company of pot-bellied drunken brothers in arms and T&A-riddled bartenders. They get very gregarious and expansive. In such a Mexican bar, there are few to none introspective drunks. There was no sulking or hiding in the dark corner. The customers all talked and laughed too loud. When crap is yelled in Spanish, it seems louder, I don’t know why this is. The Spanish language requires intonations that are piercing and heavy. And the jukebox playing a mariachi-laced lament of the broken heart of a departed lover. I was an introspective drunk. I was so at odds in the bar. First of all, I can’t speak Spanish to save my life (literally), and even if I did, I can’t hang with the overbearing social architecture of such a place. I’m not the type to join loud groups of drinking and blathering. I’m the sulking misfit, the uncharacteristic Mexican bar outcast. I don’t talk to anyone. I sat there and drank beer and watched. I watch. I’m a watcher. That’s why I go to Mexican bars where I can’t talk. Back then, the world proceeded loudly while I drank quietly. Mexicans don’t like to sit on bar stools at bars. They always stand and drink, I guess so they can leap from one social crowd to another, plus it’s kinda the macho thing to do, I guess. Standing at a bar is a very outgoing thing to do. I’m a sitter. If I could, I would blend into the stool (with my beer). And since the bar was so close to where I lived, I always went there. Proximity is the precious jewel all lushes look for in a watering hole. Who cares whether you like the place or not. It’s whether or not you can crawl home without turning a car key. Just give me a drink and some annoying strangers and I’m at home! I never acquainted myself with the pretty bartenders or other customers. I always drank alone, like George Thorogood. The more I went there, the more I was recognized as the alienated, asocial creep, the bothersome and non-participatory pocho. This is not the type of customer lauded in Mexican bars. I might have been reviled or mocked. I wouldn’t know.
Once I walked into the bar and the bartender glanced at me unpleasantly and after I ordered, she muttered something to the other bartender and customers while motioning at me with her face. It was obvious they were talking about me, and that it wasn’t flattering. There was nothing they could say about me because they didn’t know me. I saw to that. I guess that was the problem.