almost a year ago sean gave me a book called Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino… the author tells fantastic tales in describing the cities that are more like songs.
i´ve been thinking that Bueños Aires could easily be several of the cities dreamed of in the book.
Where movies are filmed below your balcony. armies of dogs, every shape, size, and color… marched in formation, radiating from a single belt harness. must love dogs?
political demonstrations into the night, fireworks in the street, beating drums, dancing and singing, hoping to find the single man who witnessed years of political crime. disappears just before his court date. most believe he´s dead… as children run by with spray cans, cops are nowhere to be seen.
the intonation of an accordion may rouse you from sleep and on opening the shutters you may find a market of fresh vegetable, fish, plants, nuts and grains has gathered around the old man with the melody.
and on saturday night… the streets below are alive till dawn. young loves, golosos, finding no privacy submit to the throngs of people and embrace till the world around them disappears. electric youths surround mysterious doorways and bars spill out into the streets with celebration. stray dogs are happy for the company while the cats lurk in shadows till the crowds disperse.
a quiet time in the evening… there is a hush just before the families of cartonels file down the lonely avenues like a ghost train, picking through the remains of the day . they push giant burlap sacks wheeled like impossible parade floats. it is a secret life they live. a secret language they speak. perhaps a secret treasure they seek.
performers too. when lights are red grit and spit children run out before the traffic and juggle. tiny arms and tiny bone legs have mastered five balls behind the back, under the leg. waterfalling in the headlights. hoping for change. on pedestrian avenues, as the shops close, the lights shine on. in an empty street an intersection will be brimming with crowds erupting in laughter and oohs and ahhs. in the center is a charismatic man on a carton telling jokes.
some make a less honest living. on a wednesday afternoon if you walk down a bustling street in city center during lunch, guard your watch. you may be assaulted from behind by a mythological giant in business attire. you may be colossal and put up a good fight, but when you realize you´re being mugged it´s best to let go. and as the thief runs to the street to jump on a motor bike that dashed up, you should not hold on. let Hollywood provide the action. it´s too horrible to see it happen to friends who tumble into the traffic and come too close for comfort. but you socked him good.
dash the police who stood idle in front of the station. “eh, that´s Argentina” they say. thank you to the caring bystanders who ran to your rescue. thanks to the stranger who lent a shoulder and bought you a coke then disappeared. THAT´s Argentina.