I’m on the verge of getting my very first car. But before she and I meet, fate is giving me one last taste of why I went to the trouble of learning to drive.

I had to go to a clinic in a neighboring town for cardiovascular testing, and it’s been a trip from hell. It’s blistering hot, I have to change buses, wait for almost an hour in the sun in the midst of the highway with nothing else around, then get into another bus, then one more. And then the way back that’s even worse because the route changed this month and I can’t find out where the new bus stop is. I’ve been traveling since 10 am today and I’m still nowhere near home. Of course, by car I’d get to the clinic in about 10 minutes.

And as always, I meet the same woman on every bus I take today which makes the situation even more Kafkaesque.

In the midst of all this, N calls me to talk about the car. N has many amazing qualities but speaking fast is not one of them.

“So about the car,” he says and falls into a lengthy pause.

I know not to interrupt to avoid making the process so long that my battery will die.

“The seller… (pause) changed his mind… (a long pause) and he now doesn’t… (a very long pause) bring the car… (an extremely long pause) to our town.”

After this a really interminable pause sets in.

“He wants to bring it to my work,” N finally announces.

Here I can keep it in no longer and erupt in a passionate monologue about the poor little car that will languish in a faraway place, and I won’t even be able to meet it, and what a horrible unfairness, and when will I finally get reunited with the car, and my phone is dying, and oh God it’s so hot here, but I’m fine, don’t worry, it’s just that I really hoped to meet the car today, you know?

“Yes,” N says. “But all that matters is that we are together.”

And then my last bus finally arrives. I hope it is really the last one.

An Aide for the Sexually Unsuccessful

Reader valter07 left a link to a great article on the stupidity and unhealthiness of the people who try to court and to woo. Obviously, when you believe it’s normal to make efforts to get people attracted to you, that already means you are in need of urgent psychological help:

We are not the lovable nerdy protagonist who’s lovable because he’s the protagonist. We’re not guaranteed to get laid by the hot chick of our dreams as long as we work hard enough at it. There isn’t a team of writers or a studio audience pulling for us to triumph by “getting the girl” in the end. And when our clever ruses and schemes to “get girls” fail, it’s not because the girls are too stupid or too bitchy or too shallow to play by those unwritten rules we’ve absorbed.

It’s because other people’s bodies and other people’s love are not something that can be taken nor even something that can be earned—they can be given freely, by choice, or not.

This is a very important idea that many people are not getting. You can’t earn love or sexual desire. You can’t “make” or “persuade” or “convince” anybody to want you. They either do or they don’t. And any effort to “change their minds” or “make them see” how good you are and how deserving you are of sex or love is RAPIST MENTALITY. And the belief that they just don’t know their own mind is also RAPIST MENTALITY. Get over it now because it’s disgusting. And using the word “deserve” anywhere around the word “sex” is also disgusting.

If your sex life isn’t working out, visit a sexopathologist and leave the rest of humanity in peace. As a free alternative, read the above-said very closely many times until it becomes completely interiorized. Learn the linked article and my posts on the subject by heart and analyze the kind of diseased thinking that made you participate in the unhealthy practices described in the article.

And for the love of all that’s holy, when somebody says, “I’m not interested in you that way,” just turn around and go away, repeating to yourself, “This is completely normal and I’m over it already.”

Galeano Repudiates His Book

Eduardo Galeano, the author of the extremely popular essay Open Veins of Latin America, has gone dotty and started emitting weird sounds about his only claim to greatness. For those who don’t know what Galeano’s book is about here are some quotes:

Along the way we have even lost the right to call ourselves Americans, although the Haitians and the Cubans appeared in history as new people a century before the Mayflower pilgrims settled on the Plymouth coast. For the world today, America is just the United States; the region we inhabit is a sub-America, a second-class America of nebulous identity.

And more:

Latin America is the region of open veins. Everything from the discovery until our times, has always been transmuted into European–or later–United States– capital, and as such has accumulated on distant centers of power. Everything: the soil, its fruits and its mineral-rich depths, the people and their capacity to work and to consume, natural resources and human resources.

And just one more:

The division of labor among nations is that some specialize in winning and others in losing. Our part of the world, known today as Latin America, was precocious: it has specialized in losing ever since those remote times when Renaissance Europeans ventured across the ocean and buried their teeth in the throats of the Indian civilizations. Centuries passed, and Latin America perfected its role. We are no longer in the era of marvels when face surpassed fable and imagination was shamed by the trophies of conquest— the lodes of gold, the mountains of silver. But our region still works as a menial. It continues to exist at the service of others’ needs, as a source and reserve of oil and iron, of copper and meat, of fruit and coffee, the raw materials and foods destined for rich countries which profit more from consuming them than Latin America does from producing them.

Somebody has resumed the contents of Open Veins of Latin America as “We’re poor; it’s their fault.” I have to agree that the book definitely veers in that direction and is quite one-sided in its analysis of the causes of Latin American poverty. I have many quarrels with Galeano, including (as always, and believe me, I’m as tired of writing this as you are reading it) his unquestioning machismo and his hatred of the liberation of women through birth control.

Still, in spite of these issues, Open Veins of Latin America is a great book that provides a wealth of insights into Latin America for those who know nothing about the region. I always assign it in my Intro into Hispanic Civilization course because it’s great for initiating discussions.

Last week, the book’s author, who is now getting older and crabbier by the moment, said the book was badly written and he didn’t like it or agree with it any longer. It’s hard to be approaching the end of his life (Galeano is very sick) and knowing that, for the rest of the world, you are just this one book. So Galeano is acting out. I’m a literary critic, so for me paying attention to what an author has to say about her or his books would be a very outlandish thing to do. This debacle is an opportunity for people to (re)acquaint themselves with the book and discuss the issues it addresses.

In my own opinion, Galeano definitely gets a big part of the answer to why Latin American countries are so poor right. He explains why “it’s their fault” extremely well. The second part, which would be “and this is how it’s our fault, too” is absent from the essay but Galeano’s book is not a criminal code and is not supposed to be exhaustive.

You can read the essay HERE for free.

Disgusting Charity

A charitable organization in Montreal conducted a “Stop the Hunger” function the day before yesterday. The function consisted solely of an enormous free feast, serving foie gras, mountains of expensive delicacies, and endless supplies of alcohol.

The charitable organization in question reached its goal of saving a group of wealthy people from hunger.

And this is why I hate nobody more than professional charity givers.