I call Melissa to tell her my newest discovery. I gear up to lecture her about Tango and the Jews. “Do you know about them?” I ask. “I won’t be fun if you already know.”
She says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
It starts with the Spanish Inquisition. The Jews were traipsing around Europe looking for people who won’t kill them. In Germany there were organizations that shipped Jews to help build Argentina. The Jews were skilled in reading Torah, but this was not a skill in high demand. However there were very few women in Argentina, so the Jews were able to fill one important vocation of a burgeoning nation: prostitution.
“I’m getting there. Are you bored? Don’t get bored. Please. I’m so excited. I stopped planting bulbs for three days to obsessively read about this. Pay attention.”
Melissa says she has something to tell me.
I think I should not have started talking about the bulbs because Melissa got the idea that there was an opening in the conversation to talk about something she wants to talk about. She talks about NFTs. Melissa wants me write some hard-hitting piece about the fascinating world of NFTs. But Melissa has a husband and a house and a kid, and she won’t let me write about her, which makes everything boring, including her anonymous tips about NFTs.
Don’t be thinking you’ll get a picture of her kid, okay. The only pictures of Melissa I can publish now are from when she was so young she thought it was cool that a blogger was writing about her.
I have to settle for bugging her at bedtime to edit my posts. I talk to her quietly while the baby goes to sleep in her arms. If I talk about things I care about I get too loud so I tell her I looked at NFTs on Islands.xyz and I thought for sure talk of NFTs would put the baby to sleep but Melissa says she has to call me back. I have to control myself because I’m always one step away from doing that thing where I can’t get off the phone til you say one more thing because everything I think of to say is so so so important it can’t wait.
Which brings me back to the Jews in Buenos Aries who mixed with freed African slaves. Early Tango music is a mashup of klezmer music from European Jews and Candombe music from African rhythms. Upper-crust Argentinian boys danced tango with Jewish prostitutes, but the music was considered too raunchy to be heard anywhere but the streets.
Then Black composers from Argentina traveled to Europe. Their Jewish teachers heard klezmer rhythms in that stickdreck tango and rewrote schmaltzy slides into something more stage-ready with a bissel foxtrot so tango could go back to Argentinian high society.
Melissa didn’t hear any of that. Because she called back and talked about her NFT purchases and her NFT friends then I talked about how I could NFT this blog post about Tango and her husband laughed. He never laughs at my jokes so I got excited and asked what’s so funny.
“He’s laughing because you think you’re so sneaky but you are so not sneaky.”
Okay. Fine. It’s true that I’m the person who is always trying to turn the conversation back to the topic of my choice. But sometimes I think I’m not so bad at being sneaky, because Melissa is my editor, so she had to listen to the end of the story anyway.