Thursday, June 4, 2009
This week has been the most strenuous in terms of work. When all is said and done tomorrow, I will have put in a whopping (drum roll please)...12.5 hours of not so hard labor! I substituted for a fellow teacher out with Bronchitis, adding classes Tuesday and Wednesday morning to match the ones I already had those afternoons. I know, that sounds pretty pathetic and doesn't seem to be much to celebrate But even better, in that same time I will have logged more than 6 hours in...McDonald's! This fact may appear to be even more pathetic, but let me explain.
Every Monday I have a three-hour break between my early and late classes, which is not enough time to come home, hang out, and then return right back to where I was to teach again since it's about 45 minutes there and back. Plus, the well-documented coin crisis makes me more frugal with my monedas than Scruge McDuck, so there's no chance I'm forfeiting an extra 2.50 pesos of precious coinage just to relax at home for an hour and a half. Instead, I choose to hang out in Retiro in Plaza San Martin, where I spend the time between classes reading, listening to a podcast, or just watching the multitude of dogs sniffing each others' butts (or worse) in the doggy park o' diversions. (Note: Manzi will NEVER be frequenting those parks. Her outward feistiness belies an innocent interior that would be absolutely crushed by those big dogs and the awful things they do to each other. I just couldn't let it happen. It's the Discovery Channel right in front of your eyes. That's what happens when un-fixed cats and dogs rules the pet scene.) Regardless of what I'm doing, it's a great excuse to spend some time outside in one of the nicer parks in a city that's full of them. All I need is my Nalgene and a peanut-butter and (fill in the blank) sandwich, and I'm set until I have to go back and teach.
However, as I mentioned (and later temporarily rescinded) in a recent post, the days of Indian Summer have come and gone and have left Buenos Aires colder than I have ever known it. Besides making early mornings less enjoyable, the brisk weather has deterred me from wanting to spend my free time in a shaded park, no matter how beautiful it may be. I may be from Massachusetts, but that doesn't mean I like the cold.
So what better place to spend an autumn morning than a local branch of McDonald's. I did not come up with this idea on my own, as much as it may surprise you. Actually, Dan inspired this brainchild by...doing the exact same thing. He has frequented McDonald's on more than one occasion to do some studying for his Spanish class, and knowing that I needed a place indoors where I could stay for around three hours without any interruptions, I thought I would copy him and dome some serious hanging out in McDonald's. All I had to do was buy something (a coffee, usually), and I could take up residency upstairs with my book. Employees would occasionally walk by and ask me if I wanted to order anything from the menu they had opened in front of me, but all it took was a "No, thank you" and they politely walked away. One day, I even satisfied my hankering for a breakfast sandwich by ordering a ham, egg, and cheese on a delicious McDonald's bagel. And you know what? It wasn't half bad. What's more, on Monday an employee walked by and offered me a FREE refill on my coffee. McDonald's, what can I say, I'm lovin' it!
Posted by Josh at 9:00 PM