Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Vigilante Privado for Hire. What would you make him do?

Today I went to the bank, a fairly infrequent occurrence, given that I do most of my banking online, it's all very Jetsons-like (that's Los Supersónicos to you)here in Santiago, banking and healthcare being automated to a degree that the United States can only dream about.

But today's tramite (bureaucracy) required my presence at the bank, and so off I went, dressed in my weekday worst to stand in the titulares (account holder) line and get the fisheye from everyone around me as they wondered just how bad my Spanish was that I didn't get that this line was for THEM, not for US. Except it is, and it was, and it can be a very grump-inducing experience indeed to establish a checking account in Chile, involving (in my case) not a small amount of explaining, ad nauseam, why I wanted one. In the end, I have a checkbook that I never use, Chilean credit cards that only occasionally see the light of day, and online billpaying which I can do in my jammies.

On my way out of the bank after finishing my transaction (which took just five mintutes because it is neither the end of the month, a Friday or (worst of all) a Friday at the end of the month before a holiday weekend) I happened to glance at the security guard's ID badge, and noticed that it didn't say "seguridad" like so many of them do. His said, "vigilante privado." Now, vigilar is a word, and it means to watch over, or keep an eye on. Vigilante would be a person who does those things. But since most of us gringos have a double soundtrack in our heads, of English and Spanish (and mine has a third language, of bearshapedsphere, a dialect in and of itself), I could not help but read it like I would in English: private vigilante.

And that got me to thinking. If I had a (peaceloving) army of vigilantes, or even just one, what would I have them do, there in the bank, or downtown?

Here's a list of the top 3 things my vigilante would enforce. I'm hoping you can help me round out the list.

1. No aimless dawdling on the way into and out of buildings. Doorways were meant for you to pass through on your way in or out, not stand there pondering if you should have rice, potatoes, or both as side dishes for your lunch.

2. No babytalk on the cellphone to your mate in public places. I'm sure she is your petit chou-chou or term of choice in Spanish, but a) I don't want to hear if and b) I just saw you coming out of a café con piernas (strip coffee house), so please do not make me grab your phone and tell your ladyfriend the truth.

3. No believing that because you're in a motorized vehicle (private car, taxi, bus), and I'm on a bike, that you can go faster than me on the city streets in traffic. I'm manouverable, and if you pass me, I will just pass you in another 30 seconds. Take it slow, buddy, we're all going to get caught up at the next light.

So readers, what would you ask your vigilante privado to keep an eye on?


Rodrigo Barrientos said...

Enforcing the "don't push the up and down buttons when waiting for the elevator" rule.

Bystander said...

For me a vigilante is a sweet pastry stuffed with manjar.
As for my army of vigilantes, if they can't make all the huge SUVs disappear from the roads, at least teach their drivers some driving etiquette. How to park would be good too.

Eileen said...

Hey Rodrigo, you're new! Haven't seen you before in my bearshapedworld, or are you one of the many Rodrigos who I know but whose last name escapes me?

Bystander, I assume that's a Peruvian specialty? Although if it were from here I still might not know. I'm not too apprised of all the pastry variations. Sounds lovely. And axeing the SUVs and people who don't know how to park wouldn't be bad. I actually had to parallel park for my driving test here (Santiago Centro).

edj said...

So many things! But just one would be to enforce a basic driving philosophy that is sorely missing here: make people aware that other people/cars/scooters/pedestrians/bikes exist and have the same right to be on the planet as they do!

PS I keep getting an error message. Hopefully you won't get multiple copies of this.

Joanna said...

Put a stop to men to men making grunting noises at female passerbys.

Rodrigo Barrientos said...

I'm a lurker. I lurk in the shadows :)

I found your blog by chance, found your adventures interesting and added it to Google Reader some time ago.

And it hasn't let me down. (BTW I'm chilean, so I'm in the other side of the fence :)

Bystander said...

Vigilantes are actually from Argentina, I have just remembered. It is like a media luna filled with dulce de leche. You can find them here in a couple of places.

Margaret said...

I'm completely on board with the no baby talk in public rule! Along with no face-sucking on the metro. C'mon, we're all squeezed in there like sardines and I just don't want to be that close to 2 people who are "that close" ick!

Margaret said...

Oh! And another one (I could really get on a roll with this!)
No noise-making in the movies! No talking, no cell phoning, no swirling the empty popcorn around the crinkly paper bag and by all means all that extra crunchy sweet popcorn(the Chilean favorite) shall be eaten with mouth duly CLOSED!

Annje said...

I like Magaret's no face-sucking and no noise in the movies (though it has been ages since I last went--so sad) I also like the idea for enforcing driving etiquette--but not just for SUVs, for everybody--especially enforcing the no texting or putting on make-up while driving or waiting at a stop-light... and blinkers, making them use blinkers and go at least the speed limit etc.

My original one is to make sure people open food packaging correctly. It drives me nuts when someone (ok, my husband) opens a pack of crackers or bag of tortillas or chips all ragged so that you can't even close it properly... yes, I am anal, but when you get to know me it's endearing--haha

Margaret said...

Annje- does he open the bag from the BOTTOM? my husband says, who cares? it's open on one end and closed on the other, what's the difference?

Abby said...

My personal vigilante would make sure everyone with cell phone mp3 players used their headphones instead of blasting disgusting reggaeton music for the whole bus/metro to here.

Also he/she would make sure I was able to get off the ridiculously crowded metro at Los Heroes at 7:00pm.