It was a Thursday that started like any other Thursday. Some breakfast here, a couple of errands there, people talking about the World Cup nonstop. And then, in the middle of errands, my uncle told me he wanted to show me a place. “Cool beans” I thought. We walked away from 7th avenue (where clean air goes to die) and up into neighborhoods that looked and smelled like my childhood. We passed a park where the cutest ugly bulldogs were making friends and kept walking until we reached a house whole walls were full of flowers placed on hanging pots over the windows. “I wanna buy this when I find an apartment!” I thought to myself.
I expected to keep walking but then I saw that the house with the flowers had a name written on it: “Salón Comunal.” It was an art gallery! Sure enough, my uncle said hi to the guy standing right outside of it, next to the coolest 1960s Volkswagen minivan.
The exhibition was so conceptually interesting that I decided to go back that day with Cata, my best friend, that afternoon. The idea was that of creating a personal space that could be shared to communicate with someone that is important to you, or be enjoyed on your own. Cata and I got into a giant communication tube suit, where everything else dissappeared and the only thing we could see was each other. It was like being inside a time warped blackhole where you could shut out all the background noise and really focus on communicating with the person in front of you.
Afterwards, we went into the patio where there were some “cocoons” where you could shut off the world as you hung in the air.
Inside, there was a full body suit that you could get into as you listened to relaxing music. I loved this one because it was a mix of the previous two.
You could get into a shared, personal space with someone but listen to music instead of talking. It was, as Gabriel García Marquez describes, love “El paraiso de la soledad compartida/ The paradise of shared solitude.”
After we left the gallery, we felt great and decided to sit and soak up the sun in a nearby park. As we talked this guy came up to us and asked if we wanted to buy a ticket for the wine expo that was happening in Bogota. A moment of conflict struck my soul. See, here you have to be smart and that proposal sounded like he was somehow gonna rip us off, but I love wine so much that the idea of a wine expo was too irresistible. I gave in and bought the ticket, expecting that to be the end of the transaction.
Of course, I turned out to be quite wrong. As he was selling the ticket, he sat down and started recommending tango songs to drink wine to, after singing some tango lyrics he started talking about Walt Whitman. He pulled out a poetry book by Whitman and reading poetry to us.
At this moment all I could think was “There is a stranger reading Walt Whitman outloud to me in a park…is this real?”. It was very wonderfully weird. After poetry he went on a rant abotu society, music, movies, films, etc. And while this sounds like the conversation from Before Sunrise, the truth is he was a bit more interested in hearing himself talk than in having a conversation with us. Nevertheless, it was a really interesting and unexpected encounter that had to end because we had a business meeting with one of Cata’s friend who had a job opportunity for us.
So we arrived at this place and while we were waiting this older guy came to talk to us. We asked him what the company and the place was, since we had no idea, to which he answered, “This, this is the place to make dreams come true!” Oh Lord, this was going to be fun.
So of course then we had to hear this guy talk for like 20 minutes about the product that they wanted to sell and blah blah blah. Then, when Cata’s friend got there, we had to live through the driest, most boring presentation for a pyramid scheme (though they called it a “chain”) that I have ever had to listen to. When he was FINALLY done, we politely declined. We said we weren’t interested and just like that, Cata’s friend went from the driest presenter in the world to a really cool guy!
After giving up the opportunity to become millionaires in our 20s, we went to my favorite restaurant in the world: Crepes and Waffles, where we enjoyed heavenly food, good laughs, and great conversations.