I departed from Fabrica later than usual, Ángeles on the back of my bike till the bus stop, and when I got back I was feeling a way.
So I walked in a direction and stopped in a bar on instinct (and on flashing lights, and on “bar aberto”)
My phone had run out of Cloroform so as I sipped my Spritz Campari I admired the reindeer and spruce decorations hanging from a bamboo plant on the counter, and the small spinning plastic globe making multi-colored light patterns on the ceiling.
I thought about breaking the fourth wall in music videos, whether that is too trite or appropriately homey, and watched the tween kid take a blue water bottle from the fridge of overpriced corona and show it to the bartender.
“Mi piace la musica” I said to the bartender, motioning up, “Buena Vista Social Club.” “Ah si” he replied “di sur America.” One of the people crowded around the only table at the tiny bar sang along.
As I got up to pay the bartender asked if I was from Germany. I said no, sono Americano/a, di Nuevo Mexico, and he asked if I spoke English.
In perfect English he said “I don’t speak English, but I am Chinese.” “Ma parla l’inglese e l’Italiano molto benne” I noted.
The guy at the bar, drinking red wine with the bar tender, asked where I work. “Lavoro a Fabrica.” He asked something else to which I responded “scusa, no capito molto Italiano.”
Jerry, sitting by the window, spoke English, and was called to translate. He asked if I might like to stay a while longer and bought me another Spritz Campari.
Jerry is from Nigeria and has a wife and kids here. He lost his last job and does whatever he can. “Nothing illegal though.” We talked about how good it is to have mechanical knowledge, and the need for voltage converters. He kept saying “you’re welcome to Italy.” I kept thanking him.
After asking my name jerry said “sorry, are you a girl or a boy now?” “Neither” I replied. “I’m confused” he said, “are you talking to me as a girl or a boy?” He kept saying he was confused, I kept replying “that’s okay.” Really, he was just being perceptive of my gender presentation versus cultural signifiers he is used to. He seemed a little weirded out when I didn’t magnetize myself to either binary pole, but continued to be my bar friend, for which I was grateful.
At the end I smoked outside with Jerry and a Dominican man (who was providing the cigarettes) we all spoke Spanish.
“See you next time” they said as I departed. I found my bar.
Also, not sure where to insert this part of the ambiance/character: the bartender had a sweet t shirt with dragons on it.