Thursday, April 24, 2008

The kindness of strangers

My car has finally broken down. Nothing unexpected, yet rather unpleasant.
I've been thinking about getting it fixed, but it wouldn't pay off in the long run, so I'm looking for a new one. I wouldn't have any reason to rush it, if not for tango. I can easily reach my office by train; my parents live a stone's throw away. But – surprise, surprise – carpooling is turning out to be quite an issue.

At the moment I depend on the kindness of strangers.
And boy… some kindness it is.
Last weekend I stayed at home. Not voluntarily so. I called not one, not two… five people. I told them about my car and kindly asked to take me with 'em. I collected my share of excuses all right. It went like that:

I don't know yet if I'll go. (Well, as I happened to hear through the grapevine, she did after all)
I would take you, but I'll be paying a visit to my parents beforehand.
I could, but I don't know yet if I’m going to drive back or crash at my friend's.
It has nothing to do with you. I just don't do it.
The best one came from a guy I've known for ages. I called him at home, then on his mobile, left messages. Oh...he called back. Monday morning.
- Sorry, honey, saw your caller ID, but didn't feel like calling back.
Felt a bit low, didn't fell like talking, all that buzz, simply wanted to be by myself. What's up?
- So – you didn't go dancing?
- Well, actually I did. Why?
- Nothing. Forget it.
- Oh… ok. And how was your weekend? Up to something naughty?
These are people I interact with on a weekly, at times daily basis. So what is it about? Independency? Privacy? Self obsession? Are we bound to remain strangers to each other, no matter how often we dance together?
We’re sweat- but not car sharing.
They know me well enough. I'm not much of a nuisance. I would pay for gas. I would sing a nice song for them (I'm a good singer, mind you), but only if they wanted me to. If they want me mute, they can stuff a sock into my mouth (as long as it's a clean one). For Chrissake.
I'm ranting away, I know. Right now I'm going cold turkey, tangowise I mean. I live in the middle of an industrial nowhere. The only milonga in the hick town I subsist in closed down early this year. The next decent one is thirty km away. Surely I can reach it by train and bus, but it would take at least four hours on the whole. And no, it’s not an option, not after work, not at night.
I’m trying to look on the bright side of life though. Over the weekend I watched “Waitress”, “Rendition”, “American Gangster”, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”, “Don’t come knocking”. That’s what I call a major movie catch-up. Some of them I even enjoyed.
And I contacted a carsharing firm this week. So I’ll be fine apparently.


miss tango said...

Haven´t they heard of good karma?

Dings said...

I like to read your blog. Your stories are well written, reflected and humane. I wish I had the tranquility and ability to write like that.

La Tanguera said...

What a bunch of assholes... (sorry, but the word should be written in full). Sadly, there are a lot of those out there :(

Hey, next time, I'll give you a ride to the milonga ;) We'll have lots of fun!



La Tanguerita said...

Miss Tango,
Maybe they think: once doesn't count.
Or give money to charity. :-)

Thanks. Your comment made my day, seriously.

You are right. So let’s do it: ASSHOLES!! Wow, now I feel better. :-))
This crazy world definitely needs more people like you.

Alex said...

I have a saying...

"People are strange and strange people are really strange."

I would have given you a ride, insisted that you sing to me, not allowed you to pay for gas, given you a foot rub after the milonga (if you like), walked you to your door to make sure you arrived home safely, and given you a kiss goodnight on the cheek.

Events like these in our lives let us know who our true friends are. Unfortunately, I find that they are few and far between.

Good luck with the car thing. I'm already trying to strategize how to "not" buy my next one.

La Tanguerita said...

Oh my...I definitely live in the wrong country:-)

tangobaby said...

Yes, you should come to San Francisco. There are lots of people here who would love to carpool with you!

I'm sorry you were treated so poorly. It's such a simple request, and why would one refuse you?