Yesterday I continued my newfound habit of speaking to anybody whom can find an excuse to speak to. I was riding my back when I saw a cute girl walking in the opposite direction. We locked eyes and each went our way. I thought "I don't know why, but I know she speaks Spanish", even though her physical appearance was nothing like it.
I did a u-turn on the bike and caught up to her, said "Hola, no sé cómo lo sé, pero creo que hablas español" (Hi, I don't know how, but I think you speak Spanish and the woman made a surprised face, indeed she spoke Spanish. I hopped off the bike and carried it walking at her side.
--"Where are you from?" I asked, she offered me to guess. I couldn't make out her accent.
--"I haven't heard your accent enough, tell me about yourself, what you do for a living?", she demurred from the boring conversation she was offering,
--I said "Hmmm... Your accent is strange, if I had to say something, I'd say it's from Mexico, but you're not from Mexico".
--"That's right, because accents stick to me and I tend to speak like the person I'm speaking with".
Finally she said this with a bout of emotion that prevented her from concealing her native accent, I blurted out "Colombia!" and we both laughed. After some chit chat, a couple of blocks ahead, she said that the place she was heading was to the left. I wished her a very nice day and that was all.
Later in the day I hit the Verdun beach. Coming from Mexico, it's a bit of a stretch to call it a beach. It's a strip of sand along the river. I cooled down in the murky waters and dried out on the sun. When I got too hot again, I searched for a shade. I lay down next to an attractive woman who was carrying a purse which had "España" stamped all over it. Though I'm usually terrified at speaking to attractive women, I saw the action as natural.
"Excuse me, is your purse from Spain or are you from Spain?", it seemed as she didn't hear me, so I repeated in Spanish "Hola, tu bolso es de España, o eres tú la que eres de España?", again, she seemed to not hear me. I was about to repeat louder, but from her body language I understood she was ignoring me. "Ah, you don't want to speak to me, that's ok, I'm leaving now. No quieres hablar conmigo, está bien, ya me voy".
I started to put on my socks and shoes, the lady seemed to relax from proactive-ignoring to minding-her-own-business, and I strangely felt not rejected. I understood her attitude, to engage with strangers, even if you say you don't want to engage ("I just want to be on my own today, thanks") is an invitation to put a foot in the door, and the best way to disengage is to never engage at all. But I do confess feeling a tiny bit of spite, as I was leaving I felt like justifying myself "I was already leaving, I just wanted to wish you a good day", but what is the point really?
I left without saying anything and let that tiny bit of hurt that I was carrying dissipate, and soon enough I was speaking to another lady who was helping install a sound system in a tent. There was an hour long free concert happening soon on a grass meadow. I head back home to get Sunny, the dog I'm taking care of. I came back to the concert and I enjoyed to four wonderful cuban a capella singers. I debated wether to stay to the very end to go up and say that I really enjoyed the concert, that they were marvelous singers, and that they sure had to practice a lot together to synchronize like that.
But it was fine, I got up before the end of the concert and let the singing trail off as I made my way back home.