Saturday, March 29, 2014

Preludes and Finales; All Wild Things Come to an End

This morning was the first gray morning in what felt like an eternity. 

To be truthful, it's only been about 3 months, but compared to what I'm used to back home, that mine as well be an eternity. There was this one drab point, some time last month, where the skies turned terminally gray for a consecutive string of days; however, these particular gray clouds were lacking. Gray skies are gray skies to most people, but I've always tended to view them in a more romanticized fashion, as if each time they appeared, they seemed filled with intrigue, begging us to wonder what they stood for. Despite this, the aforementioned "drab point" was a bit simpler—why I hesitated to mention it in my second sentence, which has taken us till here to get to. The way their color danced on the shaky precipice that stands fearfully between white and grey, always knowing that one slip could either lump them into the common absence of color that most accept with open arms or make them one step closer to gloom, revealed their disingenuous nature, and therefore I thought nothing of them. Yet today's wispy billows hover proudly over the bustling city streets, knowing full well why they’re here.
I woke up, greeted the gray, and moved on. I'm writing now, and it feels right for the first time in a long time. It's a cathartic feeling, and its main catalyst this morning is the sullen atmosphere. As a born and bred New Englander, relentless sunshine can actually become tiresome, as strange as that may sound. And, needless to say, this morning is an easy morning; nothing unwanted looms, and for once that doesn't freak me out. However, this calm is poised to give birth to a wild, and uniquely bittersweet, evening whose moments will sporadically shift about like a big bag of mixed emotions on a public bus.

Tonight is my flat mates going away party, so I guess I should shave a bit.

As all of us will be doing before we even realize it, my "true brahj", who I've lived with for the last 8 months or so, will be making the awkwardly anticipated return home, and tonight we plan to send him off the best way we know how—with a massive rager, brimming with garish characters, close friends, and a handful of emotional moments and empty promises; always good fun. In spite of this exciting prospect, there is a slight stroke of gray painted down the spine of the entire evening, for this finale not only serves as a sad send- off for one of my closest friends, it also stands as an impatient doorman, ushering in my own penultimate moment here, and that certainly adds a dash of melancholy to the bag. My short chapter here was an amazing journey into the depths of my own savage mind, with revelry and self-loathing subtly pushing me to the brink of self-realization—what the fuck does that even mean? Basically, I know who I am now. Instead of posting aimless Facebook rants that meander on about absolute shit—anything that includes the word bitches, harps about "needed" personal changes, or masturbates incessantly about self—I accepted who I am; all my badass faults and fleeting convictions included.
Another interesting aspect of my flat mate's departure that is exciting, unnerving, and a bit-stressful all at once is the intimidating reality of living completely alone in a foreign country, tucked away in some notorious neighborhood without the faintest clue as to how to get in touch with the police; other than stumbling over to the actual municipality and barking incoherently in my piss-poor Spanish at some apathetic police officer. Despite the brave effort of trudging over there to speak with someone personally, nothing would actually ever happen. Most likely, they would do a quick lap around the neighborhood, grab a beer, and then never follow up or resolve anything—and honestly, for what the police get paid around here, I wouldn't do shit either. Besides that small misfortune, an actual facet of the roommate paradigm that I will truly miss, and one that is even better when you're best friends from childhood, is coming home from a long day of monotony to a night that is essentially the closest thing we, as adults, have to a sleepover, which we all know was the greatest part of our adolescent weekends. Depending on the night, the itinerary will undergo a few minor alterations, but it typically looks like this:
Burst through the door— wait a millisecond for the applause. Toss my backpack onto the adjacent chair and grab my Macbook from its alcove, all while heading toward the couch. Proceed to do some light work—both personal and professional—for about an hour. Eventually, my roommate will emerge from his chamber, and we’ll begin the excessive postulation about what to watch, heavily weighing out the options provided by Netflix, Hulu, or from "the Bay". This process can take a while, so we usually sprinkle a couple funny tales from the road into the mix to pass the time. Once we reach a definite decision—I specifically say “definite” because as we all know, picking something doesn't always mean you'll actually continue watching it after the first five minutes—we argue about which one of us will order the pizza; it's a rough chore, and down in this country it often causes immediate mental collapse. While we wait for the pizza, we desolate each other with an array of physical assaults and nagging, often over the top, insults. It's fun, and you all know it. DING DONG—and they're off! We scurry about the house trying to find our money while insisting that the other get the door immediately. With the pizza secured safely on the table, and some movie or show agreed upon, the healing begins; smiles, satisfaction, and an overall sense that we accomplished an incredible feat.
These nights made up for any of the day's bullshit; two brothers acting like kids again, with nothing being that important, and everything just on the horizon. We could bounce ideas off each other, and whether they were absolutely mad or seemingly brilliant, we picked them apart and analyzed them like two scientists trapped in an underground laboratory with no way out. However, and as it always goes with all things fun and good, these nights were destined to come to an end, our bounce back to reality always in the distance; faint, yet ominously there.

We're here.

My friend's next adventure is going to be an exciting ride, and I wish him the very best. He is a boundless train, stopping only for opportunities to save the world, and I hope he continues to run for a very, very long time. Often-times naive, yet ambitious, he deserves whatever he is looking for, and I know that among all the capable people, he stands proud, albeit too proud sometimes—he knows I love him. The prelude to my finale begins while the curtain closes on his Peruvian stage.

Stay tuned for the final days under the wild new sun.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sparse Collection Of Details From A Vapid Month Down South

Rants and raves from the outskirts of society... 

Inspiration to write in this odd blog has been hard to come by lately; I just haven't felt it in a while. And, in addition to my crippling lack of motivation, I, myself, had been a reclusive hermit for a good portion of February. The past month was lackluster to say the least—full of deadlines and self-loathing, which usually equates to a fat fucking zero in regards to the amount of creative, personal writing I manage to churn out.

It's obviously all in my head...

Or, maybe I caught a small sentiment of that languid New England winter attitude after perusing through the old Facebook feed—uninspired rants about cold-weather accompanied by crooked pictures of freshly laid snow and a litany of desperate attempts at self-affirmation; the New England chapter of Facebook during the freezing months in a blurb. But shit, at least it's consistent.

Don't get me wrong, there were a handful of crazy moments and adventures this month, each born from my insatiable appetite for all things wild and mad. But for the most part, I holed myself up in my flat, incessantly watching films and playing guitar, halting infrequently to venture out into the streets on the hunt for booze.

Despite the seemingly-dull theme of February, I found the loneliness refreshing; the isolation, combined with a dab of self-examination, actually acted like an emotional catalyst. My indifference towards life's more-passionate aspects has been growing slowly down beneath the depths of my character like a starved tapeworm, and although I'm still a jaded lunatic, certain things have begun to get their color back.

The social elements of my neighborhood still elude me from time to time. There are days filled with friendly smiles and wide-eyed, enthusiastic greetings—the kind that breeds a sense of belonging—
and yet, there are numerous times when I feel as if I'm being forced to tip-toe through a dilapidated den of bloodthirsty thieves. Stories move about through the air, inflicting their fearful messages of crime and misfortune upon all those with functioning ears—disconcerting tales about robberies at gunpoint, unlucky travelers being stabbed over a burner phone, and random victims of bizarre kidnappings spread from carrier to carrier like a flu in heat.

However, these horrific tales are part of the endeavor to live, no matter where you go. Despite what we believe, even the cushy bubble we call home has a myriad of these disturbing parables, including our thinly-veiled political tales of capitalist-socialism gone savage, which tend to multiply on a daily basis at this point. But it's our fundamental duty, as citizens of one world, to continue forward, regardless of destination or tribulation.

There are bonafide moments of fear down here—a hulking group of ragged street-vermin eyeing my cell-phone and wristwatch with savage desire—but, I always remind myself that it's part of the journey; a piece of that gorgeous struggle to exist. I'm taking the ride because I bought the ticket, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Random Little Night in the Heart of Lima

It has been a decent while since I logged onto this blog, and at this current moment, I have no clue what  the hell to write about since, to be dead honest, things haven't really seemed exciting to me lately. Maybe it's due to my desensitized disposition towards every situation; I'm a jaded prick who now stalks each moment in hopes of finding something controversial and arousing. Self-depricating meandering; let's get on to something man!

Every weekend here usually yields at least one random story or situation, and the last two have been no exception. However, what follows all took place on a Thursday, which down here is the beginning of the weekend, in a way. People treat Thursday like it's Friday, Friday like it's Saturday, and Saturday like it's the last day in Rome. Sunday is a somber day for sleeping and dragging your drunk ass to the beach front to catch rays and pass out, only to wake up to a khaki-clad woman prodding you with a stick, extending her hand, and offering you a beer. It's not free, but it's also not expensive, so you say fuck it while you grab that frosty brew and down it like Popeye with a can of Spinach. I'm spiraling into an unpredictable tangent; let's steer out of here. So, Thursday we decided to travel into the decadent area that is downtown Lima to get a few drinks and have our penultimate moment—which, in reality, was our final "intimate friendship" moment as a group—with our friend Maria before she departed to Argentina for the next two years. Maria is a fantastic person who may be the most genuinely generous individual I have met in the last decade or so; a congenial spirit that acts without hesitation, whether it's to help a friend or to party like it's 1999. There's this old regal hotel that stands proudly above the San Martin Plaza in all its antique-white splendor, whose bar serves a special type of Pisco Sour named The Pisco Sour Catedral. For those who are wondering what the hell Pisco is, it is a transparent brandy derived from grapes in a manner similar to wine, but with a completely different distillation process, which, in turn, produces a strong and sweet-tasting liquor. A Pisco Sour Catedral has more than double the amount of liquor that you would typically find in a 15 sole Pisco sour, making this swanky hotel bar one of our favorite watering holes. After a slew of miscommunications—or complete lack of any communication—the six of us finally met up and ordered a round of Pisco Sour Catedrals. The hotel staff treated us like a group of lepers, especially after we began to steal chairs from the other tables with the goal of having enough seating for all of us. It still perplexes me as to why this seemingly insignificant act turned our waiter into a brooding asshole, but I'm sure we didn't help things when we asked to be moved to a different table, which, fortunately for us, included a different waiter. 

After our first round of drinks began to shallow and we could see through to the glass bottom, I motioned the waiter to bring us another round. He swiftly dragged his hand across his neck, inferring that the place was about to close. I looked down at my watch telling me it was only midnight, to which I responded with an angry "are you fucking kidding me?". We had a close friend leaving us and we were not prepared to stop our send-off anytime soon, so we made our way to a strange karaoke bar on the other side of the plaza. After being unnecessarily frisked by a long-haired caveman in a security shirt, I stepped into the dark interior and was suddenly taken aback by all the American and European media memorabilia that hung upon the four walls of the place. My eyes darted to each poster and canvas, recognizing the various scenes; Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Mulholland Drive—which brought a personal elation—The Dark Knight, Psycho, The Maltese Falcon, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Hendrix, Zeppelin; there was more, but my mind can't reproduce them all right now—too damn early. A frosty round of beers arrived at the table, which promptly started a contest between us as to who was going to sing first. It was during this time that we noticed a younger man, probably around 21, who looked like he belonged in a science lab—square-rimmed glasses, plaid button down, and this absent, yet shy, look on his face that seemed to scream "I've never been with a woman"—stumbling his way through some American tune that seems to slip my mind. It was a spectacle in and of itself, with all of his off-key yelps and sweaty jolting about the stage. When the guy finished, the three girls in our party sprung up from the table in pure excitement as they hustled to the stage with elated grins painted on their faces. The music started to play and suddenly a wave of recognition came over everyone in the bar; Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way". We stood up proudly and cheered them on as if we were at a real concert while they struggled to hold it all together; they butchered the entire thing, but that's the strange goal of Karaoke—to see who can mangle a tune the most while laughing proudly along with the audience. After several more rounds of drinks, we mustered up the courage to drag ourselves to the stage and completely wreck one of the greatest songs ever written—Queen's operatic epic, "Bohemian Rhapsody". I'm sure it was like watching a car-accident in progress; the shock and awe of something once so complete and alive coming to an untimely demise in a fiery blaze. Despite the obviously predictable pissing we did to such a classic, it was great fun, and the audience had a blast singing along. 

Soon after, the bar began to close and we made our way back to the outside world where throngs of people hurried themselves to and from each bar, hoping that one would be open all night—a common occurrence down here that completely shocked me the first time I witnessed it. As we stumbled about on the sidewalk shrieking and shouting nonsense, the nerdy looking guy from earlier pulled up in a small dark VW Jetta to the edge where we were standing and beckoned at us to get in. He claimed to know of a bar closer to our house called Bacteria that was open till six in the morning. So, let me put this into perspective for you: a strange man is urging four wasted tourists and one inebriated native to cram into his tiny car so that he may pilot us to an all-night bar called Bacteria, which I'm guessing will turn out to be quite a fitting name, especially for a place that caters to drunkards at all times of the night. Wisdom wasn't a strong suit that night, and we decided to take the risk and go with this complete stranger to Bacteria. Luckily, the guy turned out to be a really "cool dude" who just wanted to have a good time getting to know new people. We eventually arrived safely at the bar, excited to continue our night. But, typical underwhelming moment—the bar was closed, so we decided to call it a night and hail down a cab. We each made it home safely by about four in the morning. When I got back to my flat, I sat down on the couch, thought for a couple minutes about having to teach that same morning, then turned on Step Brothers and tried to fade out to the hijinks of John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell.