A few days ago I started to notice a mini advertising blitz on something called Día del Amigo, or Friend Day. I’d never heard of it before and no one mentioned anything, so I just assumed it was a new fad. But yesterday my co-workers told me that it’s actually a pretty big deal here and has always been a day to recognize your friends. Today is the day, and restaurants are filling up with groups of friends. I’m told that it’s nearly impossible to get a table anywhere in the city.
From the outside, it seems like another commercialization holiday, such as Valentine’s Day. That holiday will always be a slap in the face to single people who must put up with a full day of extra PDA bluntly in front of them. However as bad as that might seem, I think being a loser with no friends on Friend Day is much worse. Lots of people don’t have a partner, but to not even have a friend is just downright bad. You gotta feel for those people out there.
Normally I’d put myself somewhere in the in between category on friends in Buenos Aires, but tonight I’m actually meeting up with some friends for dinner. Every Tuesday I head to my friend Pablo’s house in Palermo, where a rotating circle of friends come for usually pizza or empanadas. We hang out and I usually say nothing as they argue about movies, and by about 11 pm we leave. I used to live just a few blocks from his apartment but now it’s a bus ride, making it a bit more tiring after a day at the office. The idea behind the dinner is that they go see a radio show at midnight. I, on the other hand, have never gone to this show. The reason being, obviously, that I have work in the morning. But even without going to the show, it’s nice to have something planned at least once during the week and to meet up with people. And even though I don’t say much, every week I drop in a few more words as the guys become more comfortable with me.
I remember learning in history class back in elementary or middle school maybe that the ancient Greeks held friendship high above everything else. Even family. A friendship was the most important thing, something you would die for if necessary. Some cultures hold things differently. We don’t have a Friend Day in the United States as far as I know, but it’s not exactly a terrible idea. At the very least, you make an effort to get together and catch up with people you’ve known for a long time, or maybe just recently met anyway. Tonight I’m fortunate in that I get to share it with some Argentinians, but I’ll also be thinking about the many friends I’ve made throughout the world and at home. I’ve started to put up pictures of friends and family on my wall, and chances are if we’ve become friends over the last three years, you could be going up on the wall soon. It’s just a little way to keep these people and places and things in my mind. Then every day is Friend Day…awwwwwwwwww. Cue sappy music aaand fade to black.