So, the other day, I stopped in the Centro bookstore affiliated with the Archeology Museum and INAH (Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Historia) to look for a few certain issues of Arqueología magazine featuring some history on the Merida area. (More about that in a later post.)
I found one of the issues, but despite carefully going through all the copies in evidence, which were only roughly in numerical order, the others were not to be found. Undaunted, I thought there must be another stash somewhere and approached the three young men behind the counter who seemed caught up in a discussion over their weekend party plans and studies at UADY, constantly intermingled as I had been searching (small store – you can hear everything). One – older one – was either afraid of me or just found me distasteful or something and rather uncharacteristically pointedly ignored me, looking away.
The other two seemed quite interested. I explained that I was looking for particular issues of the magazine, and that even though my search was for past numbers some time ago, I had been hoping to find those issues as I was interested in the history of Merida. They seemed to think this was a worthy cause, but sadly no, there was no secret stash of magazines upstairs.
However, revistas Arqueología are also carried at the Museum in the gift shop and they could call and have someone check. “No, no,” I declined, saying, “I’m going there soon anyway, so I’ll just check later. I don’t want to bother you all any more” (looking at the one who wouldn’t look at me) “and so I can check later. Thank you so much for all your help.”
The two helpful boys seemed a bit let down that they couldn’t make a call on my behalf, but to be honest, I was worried it would turn into one of those endless exercises of somehow not being understood, or people spending far too long to help me find something which wasn’t what I really wanted in the first place and having to turn them down after all that work.
What I’m saying is that I was afraid to accept their helpfulness.
True to my word, I did visit El Museo Regional de Antropología de Yucatán — a fantastic building and those who have not gone owe it to themselves to visit when plenty of free time is available — and searched the magazine racks for those particular issues. Although I found several little books I hadn’t been looking for, but which held a lot of interest for me, no magazines.
Carrying my stack of books to the counter, I explained that I was really hoping to find numbers such and such of Arqueologia, but no luck again, just like the downtown store. “Oh!” he exclaimed, “We’ve been waiting for you. We put these copies aside so no one else would buy them until you showed up.”
What a surprise! The helpful boys had called the museum, had correctly relayed my exact wishes and the clerks at the museum were holding my potential purchases behind the counter.
I am writing all this to explain a couple things: Never underestimate the kindness of the people in Merida and never ask for something you don’t really want. Because, 98% of the time, someone is going to go out of their way to help you, even if you say it is not necessary.
I stopped in the downtown store a few days later specifically to thank the two boys, but they weren’t working that day. I wish them well in their studies in UADY and much future success.
Maybe one day, I will be able to return the favor.