Que Rica La Vida
By Vivi Rathbone.
I took five taxis yesterday.
The first driver, on a hurried trip from Palermo Soho to Palermo Chico told me about when he migrated from Santa Fe to Capital eighteen years ago. He noted that all of the street names are the same in Argentina, no matter the city.
The second ride from Palermo Chico to Alto Palermo was a very short trip. “A short trip, a long trip, a trip is a trip – life is a trip!” The driver told me. He gave me a counterfeit bill when I asked for change, and as I was in a hurry, I accepted it.
On the third trip, from Alto Palermo to el centro, the driver spoke to me through the reflection in the rearview mirror and told me that he was a medium and that his spirit was connected to his body by a silver string. He told me a story about a dream he had about an old friend he hadn’t seen in a long time. “We were walking alongside each other, in the mountains and she held my hand. I’ve never seen the mountains in my life.” He called her the next day and said “How are you? You were in my dreams last night.” She replied; “Were there mountains? In my dreams last night you were holding my hand.”
It was dark on my fourth trip from el centro to Once. The driver styled his grey hair into a mohawk. We talked about how Argentine fashion is often discriminatory to larger sizes and he asked me how people are sized in ‘my country’. Then he asked me what stereotypes foreigners held for Porteños. When I mentioned ‘engañadores’ (deceivers) he said that was nothing more than a stereotype. He drove around the block four times, unable to find the exact address of my destination. The price on the meter rose by ten pesos, but he said he wouldn’t charge me the full price. As I was getting out of the car he told me “not all Porteños are the same, you know”. I winked and paid him with the counterfeit bill.
The fifth trip was from Once back home. It was late and I was tired, my adrenal glands thoroughly shot from the day’s stress. We just listened to music and didn’t speak. When the engine stalled in the middle of an intersection, we laughed.
Life is rich.