December 21, 2013
The wife was right, i didn’t get an answerSunday, August 18, 2013
Where’s the police?
I wrote an e-mail to Buenos Aires City Governor Mauricio Macri asking him why he is making so many pedestrian streets if he does not put police at some corners to stop bicycles, motorcycles and even cars going through? The wife said I would not get an answer. I didn’t! The following week, I sent the e-mail again. Still no answer. So I went to the place at the corner of Avenida de Mayo and Plaza de Mayo to see if it is still functioning.
I managed to speak to a nice secretary who told me that their computer system had been down for some weeks. Was it being repaired? “Well”, she said, “we have some computer technicians on the payroll, but now we’ve realized that they don’t know much about computers. Anyway, they only come in once a month to collect their pay cheques, I think.” But, she added that she had some notes from above with replies to emails once the computer system is working again.
“Your name is Eric Weil, you said?” she asked. Well, it has been for as long as I can remember, I said. She found a note with my name which said that at the moment there were not enough police available to put them on every corner, but there is a certain number of police on the job and the number will be increased gradually.
A couple of months later, more streets in the centre were being turned into pedestrian walkways and I did see policemen and women in groups of half a dozen at some street corners happily talking about last week-end’s soccer matches.
All this pedestrian stuff is very nice for someone like me who hasn’t got a car, but as for car owners it must be worse. Yet, as you, Mr. Macri, is always looking for money, why not copy London by charging cars coming into town? As to how to arrange this, your people can figure it out. They are getting paid for it. But, by the way, London’s transport is still hell!
All this reminded me of that famous song by Carlos Gardel, “Mi Buenos Aires querido (My dear Buenos Aires)
When I joined the Herald — and that was so long ago, I can’t remember when — the night editor warned me on my first day: “Don’t believe everything people tell you here and only believe half of what you read in newspapers, except the Herald, of course, and don’t believe anything of what you read in my column.
As for “Have a Smile,” please take note that everything mentioned are events that happened to me or told to me by friends. Some may sound strange, but then it is all a bit strange for someone who wasn’t born here.