Romance, Old and New

25 Feb, 2016 | Rodrigo Barrenechea


“I don’t believe in magic “

The young boy said.

The old man smiled.

“You will, when you see her”


    Photo: Kit Fretz

One time the old man said:

“The truth is I don’t understand you young people and the way you handle relationships. Back in my day – in the 80s, I mean – it was hard enough just to meet a girl you wanted to go out with. There were no smartphones, no emails, never mind Facebook or other social networks. I had to wait anxiously for her home phone to ring off the hook and hope she was the one to answer. If anyone else answered, I would hang up immediately, which was tiresome as I’d have to try again later. I would take the number 2 bus from Sopocachi to reach Calle Indaburo near Jaén, a very traditional area of La Paz where my current wife used to live. She was from a conservative family. As you can imagine, she had to make stealthy escapes via the balcony of her house so we could see each other. Obviously, her parents did not agree with our relationship. I was an “experienced 25-year-old boy,” as they saw it. I had left the family nest at age 17 to start working and studying so I could be independent as early as possible. She, on the other hand, even at 21, had to be home by eight o’clock in the evening, escorted by a “gentleman” from her social circle.

“Bolivia back then was going through one of the worst economic crises Latin America has ever seen. Since Hernán Siles Suazo took power in the midst of a series of different governments and dictatorships, annual inflation had risen to 200%. It was an unsustainable situation for a young man like me who had to care for himself. I had to make one of the most drastic decisions of my life: I moved to London, England, where I could save every penny I earned, motivated by the fact that it was the only way I could have a future with her.

“I remember those days at Gordon´s Wine Bar on Villiers Street, the pub I managed to get work in, listening repeatedly to A Forest by The Cure and taking a cheeky 30 minutes every day to write letters about my days in that city. I’d send them by post and wait desperately for about three weeks for a reply. The mental effort to avoid thinking she had forgotten me and was with someone else was truly exhausting. Can you imagine how difficult it was? A relationship between two people was certainly very difficult to sustain..

“Near or far from that person, it didn’t matter. My life and the lives of most people of my generation were geared around being in a relationship. Conventional marriages were idealised.

“Nowadays you lot just live relationships through “long-distance Whatsapps” and all I see are casual relationships everywhere, based on any old thing, whilst fewer relationships are founded on true love.”

The young boy answered:

“Sir, I understand exactly what you’re saying. That kind of romanticism worthy of a novel by Gabriel García Márquez just doesn’t exist anymore. It has disappeared entirely. However, you should know that today I spent four hours at my university where I should have been paying attention to an economics class, and then a marketing one, but my head was exploding as I tried to write the right Whatsapp message to her. Just a little written message, that could be interpreted in thousands of ways and would maybe say what I didn’t want it to, leading to a fight with someone I love and a sleepless night. The other day as I was scrolling down Facebook on my smartphone, I read an almost anonymous post that in my opinion aptly described how we are the fearful generation. This generation was born just to hide behind the image we want to portray in our social network profiles. You, sir, think they help our relationships but let me tell you, it’s quite the opposite.

“I think the ease we have now in responding to a “romantic” message in a millisecond has become a mental effort – an even bigger and more exhausting one. What song should I share with her? Should I reply straight away or wait 10 minutes? No, if I reply now I lose. Has she read my status? She hasn’t been online for more than 2 hours. Is she with someone else? If she sees I’ve seen the message she’ll think I’m angry. It’s 3 in the morning and we can’t stop sending voice messages!

“You should understand, sir, so many social connotations come with this huge range of communicative devices that overwhelm our relationships. Don’t get me wrong, I mean, I’d honestly do anything for her. It is a genuine feeling. I just won’t say it through a tune by The Cure. Instead, I might send her the new crappy Justin Bieber song.”

The young boy laughed about that stupid comment.

The old man was thoughtful.


12 Feb, 2018 | 16:47
weight loss supplements weight loss for women diet supplements slimming tablets slimming pills
30 Jan, 2018 | 18:35
casino online for fun casino games roulette casino games roulette casino online for fun online gambling sites for real money
03 Jan, 2018 | 13:56
loans online no credit check payday loans direct lenders loans online no credit check payday loans online direct lenders
01 Oct, 2017 | 09:58
If you have been feeling stressed lately, but you are not sure how to deal with it, the advice in this article can help. Feelings of stress are increasingly common in today's world, but there are ways to help. This article will teach you some easy ways to overcome your stress. <a href=>viagra generique prix au canada</a>
24 Feb, 2017 | 02:21
Like many other ailments, people are not properly informed about the reality of sleep apnea, especially if they have never dealt with it before. Many people begin to develop this issue later in life and are unaware of how to reduce problems with it- that is where this article comes in with useful tips! Strengthen your throat and jaw with some basic exercises. Developing these muscles should reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. You can exercise your throat and jaw by simply pulling your tongue or practicing some very simple breathing exercises. The goal is to train you to breathe differently and hopefully make your sleep apnea disappear. If you have sleep apnea, yet you drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes, quitting could alleviate your symptoms. Both smoking and drinking promote relaxation of the airways causing sleep apnea and excessive snoring. If you avoid these things, it may help your sleep apnea. Improve your sleep apnea by slimming down a bit. Recent research showed dramatic improvements in overweight men who shed 25 pounds over a period of one year to reduce sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, the weight loss resulted in a cure of sleep apnea where no further treatment of the condition was necessary. Lose a bit of weight to get rid of your sleep apnea. Many people have corrected their apnea by losing weight. Even a few pounds can help your sleep apnea symptoms. Check if a corrective device can help alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms. Having an overbite, an undersized jaw or a recessed chin can cause your airway to be more narrow because of how your jawbone is set. These devices help create proper alignment of your jaw while you sleep, opening up your airway more. As a result, you experience fewer sleep apnea symptoms. The first thing to do when you think you are dealing with sleep apnea is to discover if it is really apnea or just advanced snoring. If you have a loved one sleeping with you, this can be done alone at home, but if not you may need to visit a sleep clinic. The most important aspect of dealing with sleep apnea is understanding exactly what it is. Unlike simple snoring, it is when a sleeper stop's breathing for a short period of time while he is sleeping. If your sleep partner tells you that sometimes you stop breathing, there is a good chance you have apnea. If simple changes in your lifestyle, such as regular sleep hours and losing weight, have not eliminated your sleep apnea episodes, it is time to consult with a sleep specialist. The specific causes of your sleep apnea can be evaluated, and an individual treatment plan can be designed for you. By reading through the great sleep apnea tips found in this article, you are ready to face your problem head on. While you may not be able to rid yourself of the problem completely, you will feel more confident and start working towards that all-important goal, a good night's sleep. <a href=></a>
20 Jan, 2017 | 08:16
Some Elementary Advice To Effectively Defeat Panic Attacks Did you know that people with higher than normal intelligence are prone to panic attacks? If you experience these attacks, hopefully this knowledge along with the other helpful tips in this article will assist you with finding peace of mind in trying to deal with your situation. <a href=></a>

Make a comment

Captcha image