SAY HELLO, WAVE GOODBYE

I don’t really do goodbye. It’s never been my thing. I love hello, but for me, goodbye has always been awkward and uncomfortable. In college and in New York, I used to throw house parties, and after a few hours, I’d always sneak out with a select one or two friends just to avoid having to bid adieu to all of my guests.

Hey, at least I’m not as bad as Cher. I once read somewhere that she would throw house parties and never even bother to come downstairs to make a courtesy appearance at her own festivities. Don’t think I haven’t considered doing the same thing. And have you ever noticed how on TV shows, particularly daytime soap operas, people will have telephone conversations and hang up without saying goodbye? I’d never go there. That would be flirting with rudeness. Besides, telephone goodbyes come easy for me. It’s the face-to-face ones I could do without.

I don’t know where I picked up this strange malady. I’m always getting messages the morning after a night out from friends complaining that they lost me at the end of the night. Usually, with the alcohol flowing, where I’ll end up is anybody’s guess. But maybe subconsciously, I purposely get lost just so I don’t have to do the whole see-you-later thing, and all that it entails (staring into each others’ eyes, making fake promises to get together other again really soon).

I’ve known people, both in Argentina and the United States, who can’t get enough of goodbye. They begin celebrating their impending departure about a month before the actual fact, and every few days there seems to be another dinner or party where everyone they’ve ever met gets to say goodbye. Again. I’ll pass.

A week before I left New York to move to Argentina, my friends threw me a very nice going-away bash at a bar in the West Village called Shag. It was the second time in my life that my friends had thrown me a goodbye party. The other time was when I graduated from college, and I was about to move to North Carolina for a summer internship. My memory of that first party doesn’t serve me too well, but I’m pretty sure that my friend Maureen drove me home that night, and I said all of my proper goodbyes.

As for my adios to New York, a bunch of us went out to another bar afterwards, so I didn’t sneak out of that particular party. But I’m 99.9% sure that I somehow managed to escape the second bar unscathed by a single goodbye. I have no idea how I’m going to handle it the first time I have to say goodbye to someone who is terminally ill. Up to now, all of the deaths in my life have been sudden, so I haven’t had the opportunity to say goodbye. Obviously, I would have liked to have been able to say goodbye. Leaving the earth is infinitely more serious than leaving a city, a party or a nightclub. It’s also a one-way trip.

I knew a guy who used to leave Buenos Aires every few months and before each departure he seemed to have several goodbye dinners. Everyone appeared to be oblivious to his attention-getting ploy but me. But after seeing him in action, I’ve decided that if everything goes according to plan, and I bolt from BA early next year for a few months (possibly more) in Australia, I will steal away like a thief in the night. Now you see me, now you won’t.

Start waving goodbye now, folks!

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