five-pm mate

12/04/2010 § Leave a comment

I´ve become accustomed to this life of leisure: wake-up at ten, sip some coffee whilst reading or perusing the internet, soak in a little sun, have a shower, eat breakfast, go for a walk, stroll, shopping, and return home in time for my afternoon mate. Must be nice, right? Well, it is.

It´s funny how humans as creatures, left to their own devices — without agendas and schedules, appointments and dates — still make a routine. It is the animal urge within us, to float through life without the worry of worrying about every little detail. A routine helps us conserve energy for moments that we will need them the most, whether it is to fight or flee. It is how humans have been able to evolve so quickly, allowing their creative and abstract brains to do all the work whilst their bodies seemlessly stroll down the street. Edmund Burke called these prejudices: the involuntary things that we do not have to think about.

Perhaps, that is why humans can be so reluctant to change, even though we simultaneously seek it. Whether it is changing one´s job, moving to another country, or moving back to whence one came, adapting to a new situation is always terrifying (yet, exhilirating).

Last night, Maggy came with me to the tango class. She said she was a little nervous but really wanted to learn the dance, to try and understand it, to change her Sunday routine. Walking towards the class, I told her I felt the same way when I was walking to my first lesson and at the end of the night I had never felt so high and accomplished (maybe it was the coffee and sweets the instructor provided).

Nevertheless, after 3 hours of learning moves, Maggy was having a blast, addicted to the artistic-footwork of tango. She is excited to go again, next week, and perhaps to celebrate my stay here, we will get to go to a milonga together, get creeped on by creepy old men.

People get such a shot of confidence when they confront and overpower a fear, they gain a human-sense of agency, something that a general animal lacks. We are able to forgive and forget, to accept and give compassion, to change in the face of troubling times. What is so disturbing is that the culture of fear, especially in North America, is generally growing. We fear that our routine, our comfortable lives, will be disrupted if we do not comply. What is sad is that none of that matters for things can shift and change overnight, whether you like it or not, whether you have control or not.

It is best to take change as it comes, although easier said than done, and accept things the way they are, knowing that they can, and most definitely will, change again.

So, for now, as I write this entry looking at the clock to ensure it is not 5PM, I will take each day as it comes. With only a couple of weeks left, it is the best I can do with what I have got. If I spent the rest of my days just sipping mate, I should be ok with that because it is still a far better thing — sipping mate in the sun on a rooftop terrace in Buenos Aires — than doing most other things that most people do most days.

I am lucky and fortunate.


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