Gather round, little children, and I’ll tell you the harrowing tale of “Argentina and the Total Disregard for Time.” Those of you with weak dispositions or early bed times should consider not reading past this point. To understand this tale, you must understand what it means to be an Argentine. What I’m about to tell you is so strange, so barbarous, so mind-bogglingly incomprehensible, that after a week in this country, I’m even more confused than when I arrived. This is still just a theory, but the evidence I’ve amassed in support of it is staggering. I firmly believe, due in large part to the following account, that Argentines can not only function entirely without sleep but actually thrive in sleepless environments. Please observe:
11:30 PM, Saturday night:
The pregame (previa) starts at 11:30 PM. This should be a warning sign to me, but I am too excited about the fabled Argentine nightlife to heed it. I had set my alarm for 9:30 the following morning, having promised my host mom (Lizzy) that I would go on a short trip to the mountains with her and her friends on Sunday. I expected that I could make it home by 3 AM at the latest, because I’m kind of an old man anyway, and my Depends are only guaranteed to last for four hours. The previa is quite fun, allowing me to speak Spanish in a party setting, while occasionally botching a word or three and telling someone “I drank an armpit in Columbia.” Something may have been lost in translation, but I end up getting a free drink out of it, so you know who is the real winner here? Not Columbia.
1:00 AM, Saturday night:
So begins the trek to the club (boliche) which I hear was formerly a theatre. Nobody bothered to tell me that this boliche was a thirty-minute walk, but I suppose that doesn’t matter since everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs the entire way there. I don’t even think we are drunk; the Argentines are just boisterously trying to show the Americans that they should be rated much higher than a paltry 46 in the International YOLO Index. For the record, the USA is ranked 1 in the IYOLOI, but only because I just made that up now.
1:30 AM, Saturday night:
Arrive at the boliche. Oh hey, we get in for free because it’s before 2 AM? Maybe that should be my second warning sign, because to me that seems really late, but maybe the Argentines are just a generous bunch when it comes to club access. We get in and the place is so totally YOLO’d out, that I immediately regret creating that index and putting USA at the top. I am also regretting writing “YOLO” this many times, but that seems to be what the young kids are doing these days, and I am having a hard enough time blending in on account of the adult diapers I'm wearing. I wore two because I don’t want someone to spill a drink and ruin my inner diaper. A boy scout is always prepared.
5:00 AM, Saturday night? Sunday morning?:
I…I don’t know how this happened. I’m so screwed. It was 2:00 AM just a second ago, and I swore I’d be home by 3:00 AM. Ok, ok. I’ll just get a taxi (remis) and go home. Yeah. I’ll be home by 5:30 AM and can get 4 hours of sleep. That should be plenty for a short trip to the mountains. The fact that everyone is calling me a bitch (puta) for leaving the boliche early stings, but I’ll push through knowing that I made the right decision. An ounce of diaper rash prevention is worth a pound of Gold Bond.
9:30 AM, Sunday morning:
Oh god, that was not plenty of sleep.
1:00 AM, Sunday night:
And we’re home again. From the “short mountain trip.” That only took 16 hours. Because we didn’t leave until 11:00 AM, and the “hour and a half bus ride” to the mountains is more of a “three hour bus ride, one direction.” But there was a German theme park with a zip line course that I rode up there. I’m not even exaggerating about that last part. There was legitimately a German theme park in the mountains of Argentina with a zip line course, and I’m almost certain it wasn’t a fatigue mirage.
1. The nightlife here is legitimately insane. Some of the Americans didn’t get home until 9:00 AM the following day. That’s normal.
2. I should have been more aware of this since dinner doesn’t occur until 11:00 PM in my house.
3. Time is more of a suggestion here. So is sleeping.
4. For all of my complaining and fatigue, the mountains and the theme park were pretty awesome. It was actually cold up there and the zip line was pretty thrilling. Relearning how to zip line in Spanish was also a thrill.
5. I was actually functionally handicapped on Sunday. I don’t think I successfully completed a conversation with my host mom or her friends in the 16 hours there. Blame it on the YOLO.