The Argentinian Bohemian Rhapsody
I am feeling mucho better in Buenos Aires.
So much so that I ended up at the Kilkenny Pub with mi amigos last evening near the central business district. I’ll come back to that.
First, let me just say muchas gracias to the IBM doctor who diagnosed me and prescribed me with some magic pills.
Anybody who has traveled on international business can attest to the fact that getting sick while abroad is pretty much one of the suckiest things that can happen to you (that, and losing your passport).
But, to my good fortune, IBM Argentina had a doctor on the premises and helped me get much better very quickly.
Time on the ground on these journeys is precious, particularly the face time with your colleagues. It’s really the most precious thing we have, and after having to miss one team dinner Tuesday evening I wasn’t about to miss another.
So, after a long and productive day of meetings and discussions (the content of which I won’t be revealing — to the chagrin, I’m sure, of our competitors), my Latin American and HQ colleagues headed out for some dinner.
We ended the evening at the Kilkenny Pub which, I’m also sure, one must find quite absurd.
The quest to go to an Irish Pub while near the bottom of South America became a mandate when my Canadian colleague Dave was astounded at the fact I’d never had a Kilkenny beer.
I’ve been a lot of places and I’ve drank a lot of different kinds of beer, but guilty as charged, I’d never had a Kilkenny.
Mi new Argentinian amigo Pedro knew just the place, so after a late dinner we set out there.
Pedro explained why, exactly, it was that Argentina had a plethora of English-type pubs, and the explanation is, simply in a singular word, globalization.
When the Argentinian economy started to grow and as more foreign companies moved in, the English pubs came with.
The best part of the story, however, is arriving at the Kilkenny Pub only to discover…DOH!…they had run out of Kilkenny.
Does globalization explain that one?
Perhaps not, but having no Kilkenny didn’t keep Pedro from an hilarious public display of affection for the Rolling Stones, as he demoed his painfully home-made “Tattoo You” lips tattoo for the troops gathered around our booth before Dave led us in an unharmonious but team-building rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
A la table, there were: 2 Americans, 1 Brazilian, 1 Canadian, 1 Mexican, 1 Argentinian…and a wandering Russian troubadour who heard the commotion and stopped by our table to help us finish out the tune:
I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me
(Galileo) Galileo (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo Figaro
I’m just a poor boy nobody loves me
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity — Freddie Mercury, Queen
Though Freddie Mercury may not likely have been proud of the singing, I think he would have approved of the enthusiasm and fellowship.
Si, there have definitely been some ups and downs and bumps along the road to globalization.
But in the midst of all the pain and disruption it has caused along the way, there are equally filled moments of human synchronization and serendipity and the slow unveiling of a global connective tissue that can help stifle all the pain and disruption — and in the process reveal our underlying grace and collective humanity.
Such was a moment last night here in Buenos Aires, at least for me anyhow.
And seriously, don’t cry for me, Argentina.
I’m laughing all the way to the bank with tangoing Tattoo You Lips!