travel

El Jefe

Ajijic streetI adore my boss here in paradise. And I admire him for his business acumen. He was one of the first businessmen in our area to recognize that baby boomers are a cash crop and put together a team of gringos to sell real estate for him. Sometimes, when we are seated in our big marble office lobby with it’s 20 ft ceilings and tropical plants, it looks like a middle aged group of migrant workers in bizarro world. If you see what I mean.

He treats us with careful respect, never revealing that his unspoken expectation of us is not what you would call spectacularly high. I think he sees his ability to harness our collective real estate sales ability as a variety of horse whispering.

It’s an interesting dynamic, considering Eisenhower was in office when the the youngest of us was born and we mostly did okay for ourselves back in the auld country. But Jaimie is so gracefully patriarchal, and we are so contented and laid back in our second adolescence, that we cheerfully take direction from our youthful Mexican Captain of Industry.

The thing is, that for all his culture, education, and monogrammed shirts, and believe me, he’s got plenty of all three, English is his second language. As a result, even the multi-million dollar commercial negotiations can occasionally devolve into a sort of Inspector Clouseau meets Speedy Gonzales debacle.

Take, for example, our last sales meeting, which was the usual train wreck of silver and turquoise jewelry, hand embroidered shawls, cowboy boots, straw hatspetticoats and bolo ties. I have no idea what he thinks of our interpretation of Mexican Attire, since he never shows up at the office in anything but carefully pressed business wear, but he must be used to his sales team dressing like they’re on their way to a rodeo at eight o’clock in the morning by now. We went through our closings for the week and then Jaimie wrapped up the meeting with a few motivational words. In closing, he said;

”An’ choo mus remember choor fiddlesherry reppons dibollididdy.

What? What? We looked at each other in a panic, hoping that somebody could decipher what our distinguished jefe was trying to get across to us. Most of us had sorted out the beginning of the sentence, “And you must remember your….” But what in the name of all that is holy could fiddlesherry reppons dibollididdy possibly mean?

“So you’d like us to remind them of our fiduciary responsiblity!” Tony finally crowed, with the air of someone solving a puzzle on Wheel of Fortune. A collective exhale ran through our circle of realtors like a respiratory wave. Ah. Of course, fiduciary responsibility! Naturally! And so we will. And lest you ever make the mistake that some dumb hicks do, of thinking that my boss’s elegant accent puts him at a disadvantage, um, not really. Because while he’s up in his penthouse looking at the view and counting his money, mixing martinis and wondering whether to weekend in Puerto Vallarta or L.A., you’ll be dealing with us.

Elliott Joachim pulled the plug on life in Metro D.C. and headed South of the Border. In her blog, Lifestyle Refugee (honey, what the hell are we doing in Mexico?), she regales you with how a middle range baby boomer builds a new life in Ajijic.

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