As I was about to sit at a table in a sidewalk café, the waiter stood ready to welcome me with a hand-shake and the daily newspaper. In Buenos Aires , coffee and the news slowly introduce you to the Reality of the day. After reading you horoscope, the whether, the sports, the crime section, and the politics, you go on to the sales and figure out how different would life be if one had the means to buy it all. It is a ritual, something that motivates you to go on until you are able to get everything you want.
─”Hi Carlos, I said to the waiter, how are you?
─”Fine, I am glad it is Saturday, and tomorrow I’ll be resting”.
─”Saturday?? It hit me like a bulldozer! I staggered into my seat. I had lost a full day… I had lived a whole Friday thinking it was a Thursday. And, at my age, I could not confess my confusion. It would mean losing all credibility…I will be considered a senile and irrelevant old fool as I have seen my grandpa suffer. In disbelief, I checked the name of the day on the newspaper, the waiter was right. I have even noticed that I was wearing my Thursday clothes on a Friday, and even that seemed oddly important for some unknown reason. The waiter came back with coffee and toasts instead of my croissants and I was afraid to ask why… I was beginning to question who I really was and I felt so terrified and disconcerted that I was having difficulty breathing. First it was the day lost, that could very well had been a lifetime, then the waiter was either confusing my croissants with the toasts, or else I wasn’t who I thought I was. I searched for some kind of clue but I began to feel so dizzy and terrified that I just sat there unable to even look at the toasts, much less eat them. I felt that eating them would be like giving up who I really was just to look good with the waiter. Actually, I realized that that was what I had been doing all the time, trying to look good. I hardly recognize myself anymore; it was as if this “wanting to look good” character had taking possession of my life. Everything I did was just to look good. The clothes I wore, the things I said, the smiles I smile, the kisses I kissed, are always trying to please someone else… I wonder if that “someone else” does the same and all we are is just a collection of characters just trying to be well behaved and “looking good”. And, as I look at the toasts again, not knowing for certain if to give in once more to that feeling, I heard a loud scream…
─ Come on wake up, you will be late for work!
Still half a sleep, I thought for a moment that it was “God” using my wife’s voice to Wake me Up! I hurried up getting dress, and when I got to the kitchen and saw de warm croissants and the marmalade I knew I could eat them without compromising my very being.
─Honey, I said, tonight, when I come back from the office, we got to talk, it is urgent that we talk. My wife looked surprised since I am not given to such a serious tone so early in the morning. I tried to calm her down with a smile and to put her at ease. It was then, that I saw again that need to “look good”, of not being too controversial and keep on with the fiction. And that wiped out the smile out my face. Look, I said, we have to help each other, we must keep each other awake, there are too many distractions, too many demands… and, as a way to show that I was very serious about all this, I dared said, as I got up from the chair,
─”from tomorrow on let’s start by changing the croissants for toasts, and then I even left without the usual kiss!