"Argentina 2002-03" story # 9

Villa la Angostura, Neuquen           February 6, 2003

It ainīt easy controlling your fate.
     Iīm a firm believer in that anybody in this world can do anything he wants at any time he wants. He only needs that his dreams and willpower be stronger than the obstacles in his way.
     For example: if you want a hamburger, you get your butt to work and make the three dollars necessary to buy one.
     Recently, Iīve been wanting to go to Chile. "Maņana, me voy a Chile," I would say. (Tomorrow, Iīm going to Chile.) In order to do my hitchhiking the ninety miles from Bariloche to Chile, my willpower needed only to overcome waking up early and being happy enough to enjoy waiting for someone to pick me up. Simple.
     Simple like constructing a four-wheel-drive vehicle out of cookies. I just canīt do it. Iīve probably said, "Maņana, me voy a Chile," to people nearly a hundred times. People are beginning to laugh when I say it.
     "Youīre not going to go to Chile tomorrow," they scoff at me. "Oh, and by the way, howīs that four-wheel-drive vehicle made out of cookies coming along? Ha, ha, you pathetic American loser!"
     Yes, Iīm a pathetic case these days. Three weeks ago, I didnīt go to Chile because my eyes hurt. Other days, I donīt go because I donīt wake up on time, or when I do wake up Iīm too tired. Pathetic excuses they are, and, in stronger days past, these obstacles wouldīve been stomped on by my willpower like a car - made out of cookies - being stomped on by a giant. Or a giant being stomped on by a bigger giant.
     But - due to the fact that my favorable American dollars have provided me with the bourgesie luxury of not having to work here - my willpower has slothed and my strength has softened. If you poked me in the stomach, I would giggle like the Pillsbury Dough-man, fall on my back, and not get up until I slept for four hours. If I was frequently meeting the responsability of having to work for my survival, then my willpower would progressively grow accustomed to meeting its goals.
     Success breeds success, as failure breeds failure. One time, I hitchhiked to within twenty miles of Chile, to a nice town called Villa la Angostura. There, I got sidetracked by the beautiful, white skin and rosy cheeks of a dark-haired friend named Carolina - who works there in a hotel. She enticed me into staying a few days to hang out.
     I spent my days with the townīs Lake Correntoso. This flat-topped body of clear, green water pushed a black-sand beach to one round end. To the other side, it wandered and got lost behind some mountains. These climbing green mountains sprung straight up around this secluded lake so high you could barely see the tops.
     By night, Carolina and I had a jolly time. As we joked around in a pizzeria, Carolina took note of the ridiculous boasts I made regarding accomplishments Iīd made during stronger times. She said I was "mandando fruta" (sending fruit).
     "Gracias," I said. (Thanks.) I assumed - in spite of her derogatory voice - that that meant a good thing. Who doesnīt like to be sent fruit?
     She laughed. She said that "mandando fruta," on the contrary, meant that I was making up stories. I took offense. "Yo soy de Michigan!" (Iīm from Michigan!) I pounded my fist on the table. "Michiganders no son mentirosos!" (Michiganders are not liars!)
     Boy, I was steamed. But, I nevertheless accompanied Carolina back to Bariloche so we could hang out on her days off.
     Carolina - whoīs also twenty-three years old, and whoīs travelled to many of the same places I have - became my first-ever hitchhiking companion. I was happy to be on the side of the road with her, but Carolina noticeably lacked the hitchhikerīs faith and optimistic spirit. She was more optimistic about leaving the road to buy cigarrettes.
     We got one ride, by a very cheery maintenance guy in a truck, going only three miles. This guy asked during the ride why I was so quiet and didnīt talk more. I told him I wasnīt quiet, it was just that Carolina talked an awful lot. Perhaps that was why she was willing to pay for the next bus going to Bariloche, or why she pretty much ditched hanging out with me once we arrived?
     So, pathetic, I patheticly sit in Bariloche. All my Chilean momentum undone.
     Now, Iīve said, "Maņana, me voy a Chile," so many times it could be my mating call. Because I just canīt bring myself to achieve this one simple trip, Iīve been mired with a lack of motivation, a disconfidence in personal faith, and a sense of loss of freedom. My pride and willpower have gone to Chile.
     I waste my days by sleeping, eating, reading the news, sleeping, eating the cookie supply I should be saving to construct my four-wheel-drive vehicle, saying over and over, "Maņana, me voy a Chile," and going out and drinking and possibly looking for girls. The whole thing just makes me so mad ...
     "Dal-garn it!"
     Oh, no, youīll have to pardon my language there. My boozing, womanizing ways are out of control! Even if I donīt go to Chile, I have to put my time to something more productive, like getting to know the world-class Argentinian rock music.
     Thereīs a good, old band called "Soda Stereo." Its music is a mix between progressive rock and 80īs music. The tone of the album, "Dynamo," has a lunar feel to it like relaxing music youīd hear on the moon. The songs of the album progressively go together really well. So, it never loses its power to attract you with its subtle, growing changes, like a wise, chanted word or an accompanying guitar solo.
     The other thing world-class about Argentina is its meat from its cows. With my friend, Jairo - also a door-man at the same discotech as my tango teacher - and some of the discotech waitresses, we ate the other day at a "parrilla" (Argentinian steak-house). The chewy strip steaks, grilled rectangular steaks, chunks of chicken, and meaty-full sausage links they brought us made for a delicious feast. Afterwards, we went out drinking until seven a.m.
     I had said, "Maņana, me voy a Chile," all day long, but it became difficult to go the following day when I didnīt wake up until eight oīclock p.m. Which left me with only the option of going out and drinking again. Itīs a vicious cycle. I need to be strong.
     I need to control my fate. I called today to a friend who has witnessed my temporary slump. So as not to depress her, I summoned my spirits for a rallying speech.
     "Te confesso, estoy un desastrito. No tengo verguenza. Cada una de nosotros tiene sus problemas. Pero, que es importante es que maņana va ser un dia bueno nuevo. Y despues esto, van venir otros dias buenos! Y yo voy seguir luchando! Y yo me voy a Chile! Me voy a Chile! Si yo tengo que esperar hasta yo tengo cien aņos, me voy a Chile!"
     (I admit it, Iīm a small disaster. I donīt have shame. Each one of us has his problems. But, whatīs important is that tomorrow will be a new, great day. And after that, there will be more great days! And, I will continue fighting! And I will go to Chile! I will go to Chile! If I have to wait until Iīm a hundred years old, I will go to Chile!)
     There. And so, I say to you, "Maņana, me voy a Chile!" And Iīm not just sending you fruit. Not even a rotten old pear. (Hopefully.)
     The reconossaince mission for my pride and willpower will be a rousing success! The string of failures will be left with Argentinian customs officials at the border. And, the successes will multiply like a garden of wildflowers ...
     Fate, I own you.
     ... in Chile.

See you there. Modern Oddyseus.

"Despues de todo andar, estas en el mismo lugar ... mismo lugar." - Soda Stereo, "Toma La Ruta" (After so much walking/travelling around, youīre in the same place ... the same place.)

"Nunca para de crescer." - Soda Stereo, "Claroscuro" (Never stop growing.)

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