I had two near brushes with death/disaster today.* Pretty standard day in the life of Stephanie, really, but somehow the situations I get myself into south of the Equator end up being slightly more bizarre than my normal, North American misadventures. Let me explain.
The first thing that happened was that I got into an altercation with a street child. Now, before you go labeling me some sort of modern-day Dickensian villain who pushes around defenseless homeless kids**, let me explain the situation fully. I was walking around near Plaza Serrano, minding my own beeswax, probably staring off into space, when this girl, probably around 12 years old, came up to me and screamed into my face to scare me. It worked. Turns out that having someone yell in your face unexpectedly is rather alarming. This girl, by the way, looked kind of tough and scraggly, and I think she was out hustling/stealing from people. Maybe she's borrowing one of the tactics of those Gypsy kids in Italy who throw newspapers in tourists' faces and then steal their wallets. Or maybe she's just a little monster who screams in people's faces for no reason.
In my state of shock, I didn't have time to think of something to say in Spanish, so I just turned around, glared at her, and said, "You little brat!" and then I kept walking. She gave me a smug look. The nerve! So then, about an hour later, I was walking down a different street, and I saw the same girl and a boy of about the same age coming toward me. The bratty girl and I locked eyes and I knew instantly she was going to scream in my face again. I said (in English), "Don't you dare try that again, you little b*****," but yeah, she did, and so I pushed her. I didn't push her hard, but hard enough to knock whatever she was carrying out of her hand. She started laughing maniacally and called me "fea." Yeah, whatever, I'm fea, but you're a horrid little wretch that screams in people's faces, and one of these days, you're going to get your ass kicked. Possibly by me.
If you're wondering whether I feel guilty for pushing a child, the answer is no. Any child that goes around antagonizing strangers deserves to be pushed, and probably slapped. The end.
The next weird/dangerous thing that I got myself into was on the way home from shopping, when I decided I wanted a pedicure, and impulsively walked into the first salon de belleza that I saw. Yeah, bad choice. As soon as I walked in, I regretted it: a hairdresser was slathering blue goop all over a woman's parched scalp, there was dust all over the floor, a TV was blaring somewhere, and the beauticians looked somewhat... rough around the edges. "I should leave," I thought. "I'd like a pedicure," I said. My brain was telling me to run, but my mouth was asking for prices and agreeing to sit down for a full pedicure, despite the fact that the pedicurista seemed less than 100% sure about what a pedicure was, and she had to wipe a layer of dirt/skin dust/hair off of the chair I was told to sit down in. "Oh my God," I thought, "I'm going to get foot and mouth disease here." I sat down. I watched the woman bustle around, retrieving her instruments from behind a curtain in the back. "Those aren't sterilized," I thought, looking at the instruments. "Is that blood crusted on that nail file?"
"You know what?" I said suddenly, standing up. The pedicurista looked at me, puzzled. "I really don't have time today. I am going to come back tomorrow." Everyone turned to look at me, including the woman with the blue goop on her head. "I'll come back tomorrow," I said, backing out of the door gingerly. I took off down the street muttering to myself stuff like, "What are you doing Stephanie? Do you want to contract some deadly Argentine fungal disease?" Close call, huh?
So, that's what I did today. Considering the circumstances, I escaped relatively unscathed, and only had to shove one child and offend one beautician in the process. Overall, not a bad day.
*"Death" here can be read as "weird foot disease."
**Probably named "Patches" and "Scrapes."