(What is the time now: 00:33 pm on Tuesday,
What am I listening to: Bus engine but 2 minutes before boarding, the bus station was playing “Ticket to ride” from the Beatles.)
“Why does Man seek immortality when he cannot find what to do on a rainy Sunday?”
That’s what she told me over a cold liter of Stella beer after a long walk in the rain, sharing the umbrella, trying to avoid the many water-filled puddles on the way. You see, on Sunday, I went on a date. Well sort of. I guess it might qualify as one, two people meeting a couple of nights before, she giving me her phone number and then calling to arrange for an afternoon coffee.
You see, she said: “My phone doesn’t work – it’s blocked since yesterday – so I can’t call/receive sms. Let’s meet in 45 minutes in El Ateneo. You know where it is?”
“El Ateneo, of course I do” (no clue whatsoever)
“You take the 132 us downtown, it’s a cool bookstore”, shouts Menelaos from the kitchen, probably haring my clueless tone of voice.
Remember (if you are over 25) the times when we used to meet your friends for a drink or cinema without mobile phones? Try and understand my excitement on doing this again, taking a bus downtown, to a place I’d never been before, seeing someone I (think) I remembered her face, without being able to contact her. Cool…
I got there, bus 132 and all. El Ateneo is not a “cool bookstore” as Menelaos said. It’s an amazing bookstore. Actually it is a three-level Opera house, converted into a wonderful bookstore and café in downtown B.Aires. You don’t believe me, check the photos. I got to the coffee area, full full full, I was looking for a table with one tall curly-haired girl, she was nowhere to be found.
Now, this is goingto be interesting, I thought. Immediate reaction, pick up the phone – oops you can’t do that this time my friend – so you got to do it old style. Wait.
Looked around, wondered if I made a mistake with the time, the place, the girl…
She showed up 5 minutes later. We walked around, she bought a book and then went to find a place to have beers.
We talked and talked – half Spanish, half English –when I got lazy or when it was her turn to practice. She was a breath of fresh air to what I was experiencing the past few days in BA. Definitely more sophisticated than the “hippies” I’ve been spending time with, undoubtedly well-mannered and with a great attitude to life.
She lives in Cordoba (the Argentinean one, of all places…), has a PhD in neurosciences and likes Buenos Aires but is “thankful every day for living in smaller place where people have real, meaningful contact”. Did you know Buenos Aires is almost 20 million people? Now you do. Big city syndrome, alienation, stress, work work work… Again food for thought on a rainy Buenos Aires Sunday afternoon.
“Why does Man seek immortality when he cannot find what to do on a rainy Sunday?” Get up, go out, do something for yourselves. I am…