Thursday, July 27, 2006

You Shall Know My Velocity

This afternoon, as usual, I was reading in the least fashionable café in all of Palermo, the Pingüino de Palermo. Several tables away from me, two men were having a conversation. Perhaps inspired by the eavesdropping skills of Chang, the keen-eared cook of Wong Kar Wai’s “Happy Together,” I tried to listen in.

At first, all I heard was “Sarmiento... Mitre... Liniers.”

A conversation about nineteenth century Argentine history?

When I paid more attention, I discovered they were talking about commuter train lines and stations.

I realized something: if you were only to listen to the proper names used in conversations in Buenos Aires, discussions about trains, roads, history, journalism, education, and many other topics would sound the same.

* * *

When I sat down, the waiter greeted me by saying “¿Qué tal, muchacho?”

For an hour and a half I read Ernesto Laclau.

Then I paid and thanked the waiter.

A vos, viejo,” he responded.

At first, it startled me to think that one can age so fast reading difficult books. And then I became a little sad, considering that I missed the spectacle of everyone else in the restaurant hurtling about at tremendous speeds, while I was busy reading.

2 Comments:

Blogger Goyo said...

did your velocity catch up with you? curious blog readers are eagerly awaiting more...

11:43 PM  
Blogger SaltShaker said...

My favorite is when I go in reverse and apparently have lacked elegant manners... from caballero when I sit down and the waiter wants my order to chico when he delivers it. One of these days I expect to move to nene by the time my bill arrives.

9:31 AM  

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