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The Milonga Chronicles: The tango is not enough

The Milonga Chronicles:There is no milonga outside the milonga

Today I went to Dr. Knee who is also Dr. Hip.  I guess you could call him Dr. Knee/Hip.  He is the Doctor who saved me after the horrors of the car accident I was in 2 years ago.  About 3 weeks ago my knee started to hurt me....again.  I couldn't ignore it.  So it was back to Dr. Knee/Hip.

First I had to see his understudy.  He always has one.  A prodigy.  I had to explain to the prodigy that I am an old patient and that my knee hurts again.  He went through my chart.  I love when they look at the X-rays of my hip.  They always get this horrified look on their face.  Now it is funny.  Two years ago I was just as horrified at their being horrified.

So the prodigy tells me to lay on the table while he pokes around at my knee asking what hurts and what doesn't.  I let him know.  Then I tell him, "When Dr. Knee/Hip comes in, he is going to ask me maybe 3 questions, touch 1 place, and then I will scream.  He is a very dangerous man."  The prodigy laughs.

Dr. Knee/Hip comes in.  He asks me how I have been.  I tell him.  We talk about my hip, then my knee. He asks me 2 questions, touches one place on my knee and I am stuck to the ceiling.  The prodigy's mouth drops.  "See"  I say to him.  He says to Dr. Knee/Hip "She said that you would do that." and Dr. Knee/Hip says to him "and this is why you are studying with me.

So we are back to ice packs, another MRI, physical therapy, and please I hope no knee surgery. I have been very successful at dodging knee surgery for 2 years.  I leave the office and head towards the central.  It is early.  I want to go to Juan's milonga.  Bad knee and all.  There has been a bus strike every night since Saturday. 

First the farmers, now the bus drivers.  Life in Argentina is never dull.  A bus driver was murdered in the province.  I am not sure but I think this is the first time this has happened.  All the transit drivers are demanding better working conditions.  They are striking from 10 at night until 5 in the morning until they get it.  Buenos Aires is now like every big city.  No mass transit at night.  The taxi drivers must be in heaven.

The thing is taxis are expensive.  So it is killing the night life.On Saturday I got stuck out in Flores after dinner.  It cost me 22 pesos to get home.  I can't do lots of taxis.  I have to share them with friends.  Not having the bus is a bad thing.  I also think that when transit is not running even people who take taxis stay home because they think everyone else will too. 

I take the subte to 9 de Julio.  I walk over to Plaza Bohemio.  I am early.  Juan is surprised to see me.  I have been absent for most of July.  He gives me a big hug, "Hola Tesoro."  He asks me where I want to sit.  I tell him my usual table.  I go there and put my things down.  I greet Atilio, the other organizer. 

They tell me the Campeonato will be held there.  I am not impressed.  I do not support the Campeonato. I don't believe in contests for tango, and I believe the contest is fixed anyway.  People who never dance in the milongas come out to compete, the whole thing is a big scam.  Besides, with the transit strike I have to leave early to make sure I can get home.

Juan asks if I am alone or if Sandra will be coming. I tell him I am solita.  He asks if it is OK to seat a couple of women with me.  I tell him sure, no problem.  How funny.  I remember years ago when the organizers needed to ask the women if it was OK for me to sit at their table.  The table thing is so much drama.  What is funny is that these two women look miffed that Juan asked my permission.  They have no idea I could have easily have said no and he would have honored it.

People are entering the milonga.  Several men I know nod to me.  Carlos the DJ is late.  On his way to the DJ booth he stops to give me a kiss.  I am so happy he is here.  They have this terrible CD on.  Santiago comes to my table.  "How is the most beautiful rubia in Buenos Aires?"  he asks me.  Before I can answer he takes my hands and says "Vamos a bailar."

It is a tanda of Di Sarli.  I am happy.  It is early Di Sarli which is perfect to dance with Santiago.  "How is the most beautiful Rubia in Buenos Aires?" he asks me again.  I tell him that I am fine.  "Really?"  he asks.  "Yes."  I say.  "I am fine."  "Then where have you been?"  "Descansando"  I say to him. (Resting) I move my head.  "Does my head bother you?" he asks.  "Because if it does, I will cut it off."  This makes me laugh.  "No, really" he says to me.  "For a beautiful rubia like you, I would cut it off."  I tell him, "Yes, the Argentine man is so wonderful, until he knows he has you. He is willing to do anything.  Even cut his head off."

Santiago looks at me.  "For the milonga I would cut my head off for you. No more.  I live for the milonga and to dance with you inside the milonga.  Outside the milong, there is no milonga."  Probably to anyone outside of tango this would make no sense.  It makes sense.  I say nothing.  "You are of the milonga." he says to me.  "Maybe you do not want to be, but you are."  The tanda ends.  "Rubia" he says to me. "You must dance your tandas inside the milonga."  With that he gives me a kiss and walks away.

I try to make conversation with the two women at my table.  I comment to one how much I like her camisole.  She sniffs at me.  Bitch.  I don't give up.  I tell her again I think it is pretty.  They are from Spain and I know she understands me.  They are not the most feminine women in the world.  They are hostile.  They are wondering why no one is dancing with them?  They should come here on Wednesday night instead of Tuesday.

I am asked to dance again.  A charming man from Chile who now lives in Canada.  He tells me he will be here for a month.  I am not sure why he is so surprised an Americana dances so well.  He is a Chilean living in Canada.  That is just as weird.  But he is nice.  I tell him how much I like Santiago del Chile.  I ask him if he knows my friends in Vancouver.  I am wondering why he doesn't as their community is not exactly huge.

I go to the bathroom.  Dancer wannabes for the Campeonato are fluffing their hair in the mirror.  I will be nice.  They are caricatures of dancers.  The heels they wear are so high one girl actually falls over while putting on her lipstick.  How does she expect to dance in them? Neither of these two girls could do an ocho solo in those shoes if you held a guy to their heads.  I look at them.  It would not be so bad if they didn't have this haughty attitude. Perhaps it comes from insecurity.  I am glad that I will be leaving early.  I cannot bear to watch my tango slaughtered by people who learn steps, ignore the music, and think they are dancing tango.  Probably next year they will be teaching.

I see Luis.  I sit down next to him.  ¿Como estas?  I ask him.  He puts his arm around me and gives me a big kiss.  He tells me that his leg is a disaster.  I tell him we are a matched set with my knee.  He asks how is my hip.  I tell him that is just from the cold, but the knee is messed up again.  I tell him I am tired of talking about it to be honest.  He laughs, "Me too.  Because nobody understands."  He gives me a hug.  "Nena, come to my milonga some time, I miss you."

I head back to my table.  It is almost 8:00.  I want to dance maybe a half hour more.  I love listening to Carlos Rey.  His music is so good.  One of my favorite DJs.   Juan sits a beautiful dark skinned woman at my table.  It turns out she only speaks French.  My French is horrible. I wish I could help her to understand where to look for dances.  It is too bad she is not sitting closer to me.

I have no problem getting dances. I just keep looking left.  I dance with a man who I have seen for years, yet he has never asked me.  He always has asked Sandra.  As I meet him on the dance floor, he asks "Sandra?"  I tell him she is fine, but she rarely comes to dance during the week.  He mentions that we are always together.  I tell him that for me, Sandra is like my sister.  She is very important in my life.

During the tanda, one has little vignettes of the lives of others.  He asks where I am from, I tell him San Francisco.  He tells me a story of how once when he went to LA he met someone at a seminar who took him all over LA.  He is enjoying the memory.  He said he never made it to San Francisco, but he remembered they told him that the people of San Francisco were very different.  I told him yes, like Porteños are to the rest of South America.  He laughs.

I decide to leave.  I have been here 3 hours.  That is enough for me.  I don't want to miss the subte.  I go to say good bye to my friends.  My friends in the milonga.  I kiss Santiago goodbye.  "Chau nena.  Remember,"  He says to me "There is no milonga, outside the milonga."

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Johanna

How true is THAT!!!

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