May 26th, 1967

May 26th, 1967.

Hey guys, I’m Manuel, but call me Manu. I’m 22 years old, and I study medicine at Buenos Aires University. I never thought as a kid that I would want to be a doctor, but my older brother Nicolás, a pediatrician, loves his job and said that his medical school years were the best of his life. I am training to be a cardiologist, but secretly—and no one really knows this besides Nico—I have no clue if that’s really what I want to do with my life.

This year I finally moved away from my parents into an apartment on Avenida Callao, in Palermo near Las Heras Park. I was pretty lazy in finding a place to live and besides, most of my friends still live at home. But let me tell you, I really needed a place of my own. My dad’s alright, but I barely seem him—he’s always busy at the factory, making sure his workers are happy and go on strike as little as possible. My mom on the other hand—she’s a wreck. She wasn’t always like this, but since she found out about Dad’s second mistress it has only gotten worse. And she is not a nice drunk: as soon as she drinks one glass of wine, she turns into a monster, I kid you not. What’s weird is that everyone seems to adore her—at least they pretend to, at all the parties she throws and benefits she goes to with my dad—but they haven’t seen the vicious, scathing side of her that only seemed to come out with me.  Growing up I’d usually just ignore her anytime “the demon came out” (as Nico says), but recently it’s been impossible to deal with. Basically, it’s ugly stuff, and I don’t need to be around it. Leave that to my little sister Cristina to take care of—she’s much better at this kind of thing.

Now that I’ve moved away from home, my life has been ten times better. We had school off yesterday (for 25 de mayo), so the night before I went out with some med school friends to the bar La Terraza. A couple of my friends got to talking about recent worker strikes in Buenos Aires. Somehow it came up that my father owns a metal works factory, and things got a little uncomfortable, as my friend Andrés asked me question after question about the the metal workers union and tried to argue with me about how workers’ rights reform is desperately needed, as if I could anything about it! To be honest, though, it’s embarrassing how little I know about the current politics. I have always tried to distance myself from the party clashes that always seem to be going on, but nowadays a lot of my friends have dreams of a return to Perón and a socialist Argentina. I don’t know what to make of it; all I know is that Perón would have never been talked about amongst my family. With these turbulent times in Argentina, it’s best not to pick a side, since which side holds the power seems to change every other year. In any case I should focus on my studies—I have an exam on Friday, after all.

Until next time,

Manuel Vargas Pérez






1 thought on “May 26th, 1967

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hola, Manu. It sound like you’ve got your hands full between your studies, your family, and Argentina! That’s a lot to handle. Would I be piling on if I also asked what your father says about his factory? I’ve been studying sociology, also at the UBA, and I’m thinking of doing a study of unionization. Maybe you can introduce me to your father some day?!? Anyway, it’s good to meet you and I look forward to hearing more.

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