11 November 2018

The sound of crystal and glass blissfully tinkling against each other filled the clear night. The setting was fit for a joyous occasion, my sister?s wedding. My mind, however, was not completely set on the pleasing occasion. Amongst the chatter, a single word penetrated my ears like an oil drill. “Co-rre-a, our contentious Ecuadorian President, Co-rre-a”.

My hands started to sweat. Such a word only meant one thing: political discussion. If there is something people should know about me, it is that I will never miss out on a political conversation. Anxiety sailed through my body. Nervousness nibbled at my fingernails. But why would I be worried about something I enjoyed so much? Why should I not join that conversation and just unleash my beliefs like I would unleash a mad, hungry dog?

“May I offer you a drink sir?” The waiter?s voice abruptly interrupted my inner dilemma. I was actually glad he did; I needed a break. I asked for water. I spoke as if nothing was going on. It was an Oscar-winning accomplishment, given that I was dying on the inside.

A reasonable decision seemed impossible. Failure seemed imminent. The people discussing politics were ten tables away from me. Words were unintelligible for those around me, but when it comes to politics my senses sharpen. I become a bat. The truth was I could not merely go berserk and cross the dance floor to get to the discussion, not after what my parents told me. To put it simply, it was hazardous for me to intervene. I take politics seriously, and resentments are usually created. I attract excessive amounts of attention, or in more serious cases, I break friendships after a humble say in a debate. I personally did not want that day to revolve around me. It was my sister?s wedding, and I was not desperate enough to go and wreck it to satisfy my passion.

Correa. Correa. Correa. Could they be talking about his agrarian reforms? Ecuadorian oil policies? Exports? They were probably praising his hideous bureaucracy! Pigs! I could not take it anymore. What had I done to deserve such a burden? I slowly took a sip of my overly iced water. Why is every single thing overdone at weddings? It is exactly how the Ecuadorian government is run. Passing a policy is not enough. Oh no! They have to create a department to commemorate and promote that law, and the Ministry building has to be twenty stories high, and its walls must be painted green. A drop of cold sweat cruised down my forehead. What a disaster! I was on the verge of collapse.

“Time for the family picture!” The photographer?s loud statement obliterated every sound, and fortunately the conversation that had me hypnotized for the last few minutes.. The ceremony went into a decrescendo, and I did not listen to the stimulating words after the picture.

The perfect ending to this story would have been finding my antagonists in a cafe. I would buy them a cup of coffee while they listened to my points of view. They would then succumb to my arguments, and I would have my triumph. The truth is I failed. My cunning ambition was overpowered by my situation. However, this was a bittersweet defeat. I avoided spoiling my sister?s night, and there was no resentment in the process. On the other hand, I was forced to bite my tongue and keep my opinion to myself.

It was then I realized the famous saying, “You never talk about politics, religion or money” is not entirely true. You just have to pick the right moments. There will be other battles with future work colleagues, fellow student government members and college classmates. I will have to pick my moments to discuss with them and make each opportunity count. After all, Ecuador deserves a president that makes his words count.

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