journalistic state of mind

I met a chatty old man today on the bus to Córdoba who reminded me that journalism is not necessarily a job title; it’s a state of mind.

Raúl’s practical woolen scarf up to here (a la Tintin cartoons) and scuffed leather shoes–from a time in the good old days when shoes were made to last–matched his tough, well-traveled, 90-year-old skin. One eye drooped into a permanent wink; the other sparkled as he cheerfully denigrated his own Argentinean culture for allowing police barricades to block the bus station entrance, forcing him and his daughter to walk down the street to reach us.

His gruff voice paired with his thick central Argentina accent kept me at alert attention as I tried to frantically mop up the barrage of facts, figures and opinions he proffered. Once he figured out that I was a Spanish STUDENT, not a native speaker, he obligingly slowed the pace just enough that we could carry on a two hour conversation about tango, Brasil, Spain, fútbol, journalists, hostels, country music, Italian music, cruise ships, Buenos Aires, buses, universities, libraries, Madrid, Frank Sinatra and surely a host of other things at which  I was only able to smile and nod.

“Many people tell me I should be a journalist,” he chuckled. “I like to talk a lot.”

De acuerdo,” I conceded.

But while he talks, his words are pictures in my head. I see him working at the dock in the fifties, meeting Italian tourists; I see him traveling to Brasil and learning to samba; I see him listening to the BBC news at his kitchen table, eyes closed. I see him reaching out, trying to experience every bit of the world.

This guy is a true journalist. He lives to learn, to experience, to connect. In his eyes, people are pieces of the world out there. Each person is another perspective of the human experience.

I may not know what I want to study in graduate school, or what my exact career title will be. I do, however, know that I am a journalist. That’s my personality type, if you will. I’m curious and I love people. I want to know and experience and share. It may be just Raúl and me in this category, but I suspect that there are a good many journalists out there, and together we ARE the experience.




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