Sunday, February 03, 2013

There and Back again

The apartment was small. Not too small that it felt like a closet, but comfy small. For single occupancy, not too shabby. It was nestled on a side street in a quiet barrio on the good side of town. The most promising part was that it had an entrance to the street where children played and all shops and vendors and restaurants and cafes were within a two block radius. Inside was what you would expect for an $80 a month flat in Juarez City: old, yet charming furnishings, leaky taps, and solid adobe brick walls. I liked it.
The elderly landlady, her by the moniker Rosa, gave me the grand tour. She was overtly bubbly in her presentation, but didn't know that I had already decided to rent the joint as soon as I saw it.
I had to get out of El Paso. That dead museum in which I had loathed from the first day stepping on it's soil back in the 90's. I had tried and succeeded in living that static, responsible life that oh so many cohorts bleated at me to live. Nice calm place. Furniture from Walmart. Dishes. Big screen television and the occasional patter with friends talking of nothing but their work or how their love life is in tatters. It was eating me inside like a stomach full of maggots. For three fucking years I lived like you, Dear Reader, and I was utterly miserable. And it showed. I had become a quasi-recluse, not being sociable on an intimate level. Oh, I had associates who I spoke with all the time, just not face to face. Like so many of our times, the large bulk of my friends consisted of an iphone pic on a monitor or the cold, emotionless banter of text messages and status updates. (Don't forget to place an emoticon so they won't notice that you are a constant bitter bore.)
I had to do something about this comfortably insidious, emotionless cocoon that I had placed myself in. Oh, I did my fair share of whining about change, of moving on to adventure and dubious excitement, yet it took me three years to act on it. So, like  a thief in the night, I grabbed my gear and hightailed it over to Cuidad Juarez.
Cuidad Juarez. The old bitch had changed since my sudden departure in 2008. After the bloody ravages of the drug cartels, the city looks like a post apocalyptic movie set. Burnt, crumbling buildings line many an avenue. But the cartel had left (mostly) for other more lucrative parts of Mexico and the pulse of life has returned to the streets. It is a beautiful Mexican beat, a Fatima of life that cannot be squelched. When I would walk the downtown streets of El Paso, the lonely quiet would intimidate me. The solitude of the people who would huddle in their apartments not wanting to go out, the bitter arrogance of the few who did. So, undeniably American. As I said, I'd walk those empty, beat streets in a funk always questing more. In Juarez, it is the flip of the coin, the streets, at all hours, are teeming with pedestrians. Teeming with humanity. It is a fucking breath of fresh air. The best part is, in the few days here, I have been running into old friends: Eduardo, Oscar, Marlon. Sho owners who remembered me and asked where had I been? It is an uplifting feeling. I don't feel suffocated anymore.
I realize this is my first post in months and is quite haphazard, but let me get in the swing of things. After all, I've only been here three days. I will file a report as often as possible. To write...oh, to write again. This decision I had made has made me very optimistic.

2 comments:

Skilled4Men said...

Thrilled to find you posting again!

LMB said...

Thanks for the kind words and support!