CAb drivers today
Cab driver 1 who stopped for me at Teatro Colon played Wagner on the stereo. This was a good omen, I concluded, Wagner will be here within ten days
at the Colon, tonight they were sold out. I remember the history of antisemitism in Argentina and my not having been ethnically or historically on the winning side.
Cab driver 2 took me to Palermo which was too touristic, he was not particularly interesting or worth mentioning. He said something about drugs, girls, tourists.
Cab driver 3 I asked him for nightclubs where they dance tango, he proudly affirmed he is a tango dancer, he is from the province of Quilmes, an older burly man with dancing shoes and
a resplendent ball of gray sleek hair, a comb hangs from his rear-view mirror. He knows an instructor instructor in Quilmes but it makes no sense to find instructors outside the major city.
I told him I just wanted to go to the boliche, the nightclubs. He asked me where I live, I live in Constitucion.
Ten cuidado en constitucion, be careful in this neighborhood where you live in Constitucion, alli te lo ponen, thieves, crackheads, Peruanos, Peruvians; transvestite brigands.
Where are you from? He asked;
Aruba I said. My father was Argentinean, my mother Russian.
Aruba! what do they speak there? A creole Portuguese, Spanish with immigrants, English tourists.
Es un paraiso! Its a paradise! he yelped. I laughed. It has nice beaches. Las chicas aca son mas lindas. The women here look better. Before the conversation gets too personal, it is always an option to switch to talking about women, comparing different nationalities of girls.
*(in Tunisia they said Moroccan are more beautiful, everywhere else in the Middle East they said Tunisia, Iranians
said Turkish women because beauty results from ethnic mixture, Azeris yelped about Persian woman with their fair skin and black hair, to be seen smoking their
elegant cigarettes on the campus garden outside the university of Baku, Zimbabweans swore by South African women as the most beatiful but also the wildest and least loyal;
on Aruba boys fought over whether it was the Venezuelan, the Colombian or Puerto Rican, my grandfather a Jew who fled the holocaust say the german
women were the most beautiful he ever saw, Russian and German boys said the Polish girls)
Cab driver 4 Gianberto, something like this, soy de origen Italiano, I am of Italian origins he said, I told him of my surname that had crawled from Naples.
he said to be careful, the neighborhood of tranvestites and robbers, drug dealers, Peruvians, mala cria, bad people about in Constitucion,
reveal no ostentation. A group of men stood by a car, one of them older, with the top of his head shaved bald while from his neck-nape extended a long thick pony cocktail braided and shining like black insect-wing. “Mala cria,” hissed Gianberto and spat out the window, the spit probably did not reach the mala cria impotent gangsters and remained on his beaten up car-door.
“Alli va unos travestis,” he pointed, some tall muscular men, black, walking with wigs, “Esta es una puta, this one is a whore,” an obese Dominicana
in her forties in tight shorts and lingerie.
“Una fea,” “An ugly one” I affirmed, without any compassion
“Vieja!” “Old!” he spat as she crossed in his headlights looking with big blue-glittery eyes of grief, brown eyes turned blue from eaten a galaxy of grief. “Ten cuidado, careful” he warned, maybe talking about HIV. I am not here for prostitutes. I have an apartment here, my grandparents had lived here when there was no danger except for the boys who assailed me and my grandmother chanting, they broke a piece of aloe from the pot and played sword with it, drew a Zorro-Z in aloe spine-juice on my little blue nylon rain coat, I hissed fighting back and kicking at them, not understanding or wanting to play the game as always, they scattered cackling, dispelled as I walked with my grandmother to buy oranges, this was during a summer I spent in Argentina with my grandparents before their deaths.
He asked me about Aruba, where does the island live from, I said tourism and only this, did not mention money laundering,
he asked me what I did in Aruba, I said I am a writer and “pintor” and that I had lived 5 years in Europe between Netherland and France, I didn’t mention a sojourn in
Tunisia, said I want to experience life here in Buenos Aires.
Que experiencia, eres muy joven. Sos muy joven! You get a lot of experience, you’re young! But he didn’t say ” sos un pibe” which counted for something.
He turned on the radio when I asked him if it was the old tangos. “te gusta, you love it?” An old recording. I paid and left, he called me Querido.
Ciao Querido! again, and waited in the car until I was inside.