One was white and wearing a polo shirt that said “Phillip Geertz” and looked like it had a barbell on it. The other one was moreno and wearing a baseball cap. The moreno was taller than the white man. Neither were “particularly attractive.” Both sat down on the couch beside me, right by the door. Quite quickly, they began an intimate conversation in English. They apparently took no notice of me sitting next to them – by which I am distinguishable as, at the very least, a foreigner. I wish I had my tape recorder but was able to record in my notebook the following conversation (WM = white man, MM = moreno man):
WM: “I think I am getting an Audi. It’s what the girls like.”
MM: “What about a Mercedes? Or a volvo?”
WM: It’s an Audi. They’re the best.
MM: “My friend, if you get an Audi, it will open up a whole new world for you. Especially here.”
Then there was a pause. There seemed to be some tension between these friends. The one who was getting the US$65,000 Audi and the one who wasn’t. Maybe he had another car. He kept pushing the Mercedes and Volvo. But it was very clear his friend had an Audi in mind. And it was not the TT, because he didn’t like that and it was too cheap.
WM: “The Audi is better than the BMW–you can get a BMW for US$45,000–50,000. An Audi costs US$60,000–70,000.”
WM: “Man, when I called you the other night, I was so fucked up. I was gone.”
Then, all of a sudden, the stopped talking. WM looked at me for a second. I cannot tell if he thought I might speak English or if it was for another reason. My gut instinct is it’s the former. He was, all of a sudden, embarrassed. I was ashamed. WM was an asshole – very clearly an ugly American. The last thing I remember before they called me into the office was WM: “I think she’s going to be my girlfriend.”
When I left, I walked by them and said “Hasta Luego” which one does in waiting rooms. MM reponded with the same. I hope I left them with a question of my own nationality.