I'm not a big partier. Like everyone, though, I've had my moments. One of the most ignominious of these involved dancing on a table at a party my sophomore year in college and proceeding to rant (in Spanish) to everyone in the bathroom line about how racist the Mercator projection is. Not a high point.
It's been a while since I've danced on a table. That hasn't stopped me from being a magnet for drunken tirades here in Chile, though. Just the other night, a stranger at a bar treated me to a monologue on what he called the vulgarity of the Chilean bourgeoisie. He only shut up when I turned to the Chilean friend I had come with and entreated him not so quietly not to abandon me. Unfortunately, I hadn't had anyone to rescue me a few months earlier, when a Chilean guy cornered me at a party and enlightened me for 20 minutes on the intricacies of the Chilean taxation system.
I have a theory that being foreign makes one a particularly attractive stop on inebriated lecture circuits. If everybody finds what you have to say fascinating -- as drunk people tend to believe -- it must be even more enthralling to the newcomer who obviously came to this party to be educated by you.
When I described my theory to V. (for those new to this blog, a friend who moved from Bulgaria to Chile as a child), he laughed knowingly and mused that once you've been in Chile long enough, your knowledge or experience is eventually bound to contradict, in places, that of your tipsy professor. Since I have a bit of a pride problem, this may be what makes these booze-fueled harangues so frustrating for me.
So here's my message for all Chileans with something to say: I want to learn from you. I know you have a lot to teach me about your country. But please, for the love of beef-and-onion empanadas, do it when you're sober. If not, I will retaliate. Ever heard of the Mercator projection?
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