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Mike's Random Thoughts From The Road #13
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a (shorter) re-write of random thoughts #11, my first published piece.

august 27, 2005

I'm the only one in here with a laptop. It’s in the bag over my shoulder.

It's not standard dress for a night out at the clubs in Mendoza, Argentina but I am too paranoid to leave it unprotected even for a moment - it has all the photos from my 17 month trip around the world on it so it’s worth it to me to look dumb.

I am at the Geo, the most popular nightclub in Mendoza. It's Saturday morning at 2:30 A.M. I am enjoying the live band but the American girl I'm with isn't. She wants to dance in the V.I.P. section upstairs. I hate V.I.P. anything.

"I'll be right down here," I say. The American can’t afford to be idle for even a moment; she is trying to see South America in 9 days. Rio, Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Santiago and Patagonia.

I get tired just looking at her.

I turn my attention back to the band as she disappears into the thick crowd. The stage is full of people, half of whom aren't even in the band. The lead singer continually pulls people up on stage to aid his performance. He can choose randomly and still produce a stage-worthy woman every time because the women here are so amazing.

So impossible.

I call them impossible for two reasons:

1. Their consistent beauty is almost impossible to believe.
2. It's impossible that they will ever be interested in me.

Especially with this computer strapped across my chest.

The crowd enjoys the band but they are anxious for the Thumping Club Music to start so they can shake their beautiful bodies. The Thumping Club Music is coming. It's definitely coming.

I am going to bump along with it, but I have to be careful not to swing too much and knock someone out with my laptop - it can be a lethal weapon.

In fact before they let me in the club a policeman checked to make sure it wasn’t a bomb. I wanted to explain why I brought it, but i haven't learned how to say "paranoid freak" in Spanish yet. His bomb-detecting fingers determined it wasn't going to explode so he let me in.

So the band finishes and the Thumping Club Music starts. I’m not sure what the correct name of the music is but I call it Thumping Club Music and everyone knows what I am talking about.

An electronic voice repeatedly asks the crowd "Are you ready?"

It's three in the morning. We are ready. Let's go.

The familiar thump begins and The Impossibles start shaking their hips.

I ogle them from my stationary posture. I really can't believe how amazingly beautiful they are. I really can’t believe how stupid I look with this computer bag on my shoulder.

But it’s not like I can talk with them anyway - my Spanish is embarrassing. Well, I guess I can say something to a girl but I have no chance of understanding her answer - assuming she responds rather than slaps me. I suppose I can get out my computer and show her pictures of me eating camel in Mongolia but I don't know how far that will get me. Girls don’t usually come to clubs to see a slideshow of an American guy's bizarre culinary experiences, so I keep the laptop in the bag and my mouth shut.

I am encouraged that the girls aren’t running away from me - they don’t even leave their spots on the dance floor to use the bathroom. Probably because no one is drinking.

No one except me.

I have a glass of vodka that - if alcohol wasn't flammable - I could extinguish an apartment fire with. The cover charge includes a massive cup of Red Bull and vodka. I've got mine and am sipping it as I teeter on the dance floor like a wooden statue.

Since they aren't running away when I dance near them I get false hopes. The hope that An Impossible will actually like me keeps me dancing despite the late hour.

That and the ocean of Red Bull I am drinking.

I dance on over to two girls who could be on a magazine cover and I smile at them. Almost immediately the one grabs her friend by the hand and they plow through a wall of people to get away from me.

And that's the first time I see that happen.

Two guys start dancing with the two new girls I am targeting. I give one guy a death-stare: he's talking to my girl, the one I was about to have a dead-end conversation with. To my great disappointment they are getting along well. I consider getting a big groove going and “accidently” knocking the guy down with my computer but suddenly the girls give the guys the standard Argentine cheek-kiss and walk away.

The guys accept defeat and leave. Two minutes later though the girls return to their spot on the dance floor.

I assume that my girl got rid of the guy so she could talk to me. I stiffly dance over to her, my laptop dangling off my shoulder, my bucket of vodka in my right hand, and I say "como estas?"

She looks at me like I just called her mother a whore. Without kissing me, she grabs her friend and they barrel through a crowd of people to the other side of the dance floor.

“Don't you want to see my photos of the Great Wall Of China?” I ask as she disappears.

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