coping mechanisms, acting out

14/02/2010 § Leave a comment

Valentine´s Day.

Although I hav enever been one to get excited about celebrating any celebration (truth be told I enjoy Thanksgiving as the only emotional pressure is how one is to cope with delicious food) but this year is a little different. Not only will I be spending it relatively alone, as I do have roommates, I will be spending it packing for Patagonia.

Today (the 13th), I made my way through the sketchiness of Retiro Station, past the trains, looking for the bus terminal to buy a ticket to Bariloche, the first of 3 spots that I want to see. I noticed a man with a security unifrom and decided that he was the safest person to expose my foreigner accent to. In my Canadian accent:

¨¿Dónde está la boletería para comprar un boleto de omnibus?¨

I think I made him nervous, not due to my obvious thugish appearance, but because I struck a paternal chord in him. He put his arm around my shoulder and nervously pointed me 120-metres-down-and-to-the-left. Then, he turned me around so I could see him tug at his right eye with his index finger of his right hand, an expressional gesture in Argentina which means ¨keep an eye out¨. HOwever, danger in Buenos Aires tends to mean being robbed, so I moved my money to my bra, my passport to my underwear, strode away with confidence and my serious look that I inherited from both my parents.

I recently picked up a self-help book, although usually I tend to be cynical about them, called Get Out Of You Own Way by some neurologist called Robert K. Cooper. Ph.D. Initials always throw me off.

Although skeptical of any change in my self, the part about physiological manifestations caused by the brain and the mechanics of the brain are fascinating. One section that stuck out in my mind, no pun intended, was how people can become hyperfocused on one thing and become blind to the bigger pitcture. Common sense enough, but the experiment Cooper refers to was incredible. People were told to watch a television skit and count how many times two boys tossed a ball to one another. Midway through the ball-tossing, a gorilla appeared on the screen, scratched its armpit and left the screen. The results were that some didn´t even notice the gorilla, shocked when the experimenters replayed the tape for them.

Today (13th), I had looked up online the preferred time and company I wanted to ride to Bariloche with. Being a planner, it´s what I do. When in the terminal, I kept asking where the company´s booth was. Everyone just kept saying ¨further down¨. Suddenly, I thought of the gorilla and just started looking at signs above the booths. I saw one with just buses to Bariloche, no one was in line, and I took that as my metaphorical sign.

The man who sold me the ticket was very nice, unlike the others, and arranged for my departure on Monday.

He asked what seat I wanted.

I said I didn´t really care.

He looked at me and said there was a seat on the second-level at the very front. You can see everything.

I said I wanted that one.

So it is, that Valentine´s Day will be spent with just me, packing my things in my bag for my trip which starts with a bus from Retiro Station to Bariloche.

Just me.

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