Thursday, August 27, 2009


It's venting time again, folks! I've asked it before, and I'll ask it again: What's with porteños and their utter lack of IM conversational skills? Some of them are just fine in person, but they all seem to become brain dead as soon as they log on to MSN Messenger. They expend more energy begging me to turn on my webcam than they do engaging me. Ogling me on the computer screen might be a cheap thrill for them, but it's a dull invasion of privacy for me. One guy in whom I have a sort of passing interest at least begins our conversations with a smiley face icon, which I think is kind of cute. If only the others were so creative. Generally, the song remains the same.

Chico #1: Hola.
Chico #2: Hola.

Sometimes the conversation mysteriously ends there, and I breathe a sigh of relief. Or this is where they invite me to turn on my webcam. (Yesterday, I told Pablo that he should try something revolutionary and have an actual conversation with me before asking the dreaded cam question.) Sometimes the small talk drags on.

Chico #1: Como estas?
Chico #2: Bien. Y vos?

Chico #1: Todo bien. Que contas?

This is a true story. En serio. I've had this conversation with Esteban every day for the last few weeks.

By now, Chico #2 (that would be me) has completely lost interest in the shit chat, while Chico #1 (that would be Esteban) may or may not take it to its illogical conclusion: a date request. I don't think so. If the IM conversations are like pulling teeth, small talk over dinner or drinks might be absolutely unbearable. I'm so over doing all the conversational heavy lifting. I've yet to meet a porteño with whom I don't always have to pull IM conversations out of the dead zone. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all, they used to tell me. I'd like to amend that: If you can't say something interesting, delete me from your MSN pronto, papi!

Sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly generous, I play along and try to keep the conversation going by cheerfully answering all those stale scripted questions that I hate -- like "¿A qué dedicas?" -- and then politely asking them, too. But beware the guy who can't even make his work sound interesting. If your job description is putting me to sleep, we've got a problem. I look for the nearest exit. For me, it's usually that I have to get ready for my pilates class. It works every time. Thank you, Joseph Pilates, the discipline you invented is good for more than six-pack abs.
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