Hey there folks,
Forgive the sparse updates. On my latest sojourn to the fabled County of Lea, I picked up whatever ailment was afflicting my brother.
And a job offer to begin teaching high school English immediately.
But that’s besides the point – I was quite ill for a day and feeling downright crappy for a few more. Now that this episode has passed, it’s time to write.
And as we all know, my best writing comes under duress.
I have made Albuquerque my dwelling place for the better part of two months now and yet it refuses to feel homely. Yes, I’ve my own pad decked out in all manner of Communist artwork, books of all genres, and worldly knickknacks, but at the end of the rather humdrum days it remains only a room. Even with a lovely view of the Sandia Mountains, I find it difficult and taxing to focus and write.
This transition to normalcy; I am finding it quiet difficult.
In this year alone I’ve traversed three continents, six countries (three of them being completely new, two having me in unexplored areas, and one filling me with the absolute dread of realizing I was an American tourist), and made a move from the dusty plains of New Mexico to the less dusty, somewhat mountainous plains of northern New Mexico. All that in the space of six months.
You can imagine, dear reader, I’m not adjusting to this sedentary lifestyle as well as I had hoped. Indeed, I’m sitting outside a lovely cafe having an adult beverage(s) whilst the American whirlwind passes me by. People here are on their lunch breaks, talking about work, the kids, what they are planning on doing over the weekend, and that Hollywood couple who divorced – and I feel misplaced.
I’m wearing khakis and a button up for fuck’s sake.
I would be wearing a tie (fancy career fair today) but I gave up on that choking hazard of an abomination of the fashion world.
As I was getting dressed today for this career fair – with some decent prospects, mind – that elephant I’ve been ignoring was slowly trumpeting up the noise. “This isn’t you,” it said in a distinctly elephant accent. “Your domestication experiment is going to fail. Hhhhhrrrrroooooooooot.”
Of course the elephant was right(wing). Elephants never say shit without meaning it, is how I believe the idiom goes, and who could doubt the benevolence of this big gray bastard?
No. Christ, no, this lifestyle is choking the Life out of me.
Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful to be working (tech writing) and replenishing my funds for the next adventure, and I’m stoked to have my own pad, but the more I dwell upon the fact that Life has become a chore and not an excitement is driving me madder than a June bug.
The highlight of my day is watching my dog not shit in the apartment.
But you’re in Albuquerque, you might say. There’s plenty to do!
Indeed, there is plenty to do, but as of late, none of it is compelling. The most fun I’ve had in recent weeks is driving back home because I’m absolutely fascinated with driving fast and taking new roads to arrive somewhere.
The solitude of the road is more addictive than my crippling drinking and smoking habits.
All those miles for complacency? All those experiences with strangers and comrades for normalcy? All those times I couldn’t speak the lingo yet managed, only to return to my home country and drown in the realization that no matter where I go I’ll never stop wanting to go further? Get a 9-5, have the same weekly experiences, see the same sights and people, pay my taxes, and loathe the day I became average?
Andreu (green shirt), the chap I worked alongside for two weeks in Grado, wrote me an email about a month back. We’ve been exchanging on the reg catching one another up as to what we’ve been up to since Grado. I informed him of my recent move to the big city and hopes of landing a cushy job and the American Dream.
I still haven’t been able to respond because his opening line has been gnawing into me ever since.
Oh! you are leaving your traveller’s life at last and start a new normal fucked life…
Let me tell you, dear reader, I have spilled much fountainhead ink in my private journal trying to discern that one sentence.
A new, normal fucked Life.
Is this then what I’ve become? A weary traveler who wouldn’t mind some normalcy and eventually forgets the thrill of being lost in a foreign land? The depressed, self-loathing bloke who did loads of cool things in his younger years but grew closer to the bottle when he sacrificed dreams for comfort? The one who looks back upon old photos with clear memories and clearer regrets?
Christ, shoot me otherwise.
Back in Chile during the Mission Trip, we had divided into two groups – dudes and dames – and were asked to assign animals to our cohorts. You know, which animal do you think Joe Blow is and why sort of stuff. Fuck yeah, I thought, animal traits for people = hilarity and deep philosophical notions ahoy!
After making our way about the table, with each of us explaining to our comrades why we picked such and such animal for one another, it was my turn in the hot seat. And though my patronus is indeed a cow, I wasn’t ready for their observations about me.
- Mustang – because I’m an untamed free spirit;
- Tortoise – because I’ve a hard exterior;
- Llama – because in a group of good Catholics, I was an odd one;
- Hyena – even scavenging the dead can make me laugh;
- Chipmunk – full of energy and always on the move;
- Gila Monster – because it’s not quite what you expect a lizard to be;
- Wolverine – calm until provoked and a terror otherwise.
As my comrades explained their rationale behind their choices, our chaplain (a stalwart chap I’d want in my corner any day) remarked how put-together I was, but couldn’t help but feel something was lacking. “[…] as if you’re searching for something, that purpose to belong […]” he had said.
And in that moment of brotherly camaraderie around a dingy table in the middle of the Chilean winter night, this man struck gold.
Yes, I am searching for that purpose. And part of me knows I never will stop my hunt. No matter how satisfied I think myself to be, nor how complacent I delude myself into thinking, I thrive upon the Chaos of the unknown.
And this is what goads me ever onward. This Chaos.
I wander from place to place, make a splash, learn some things, shake some hands, and off I go once more. Rare is the place that can keep me captivated for longer than a couple years. Because fire burns, moving on from place to place, consuming as he goes.
I’m not certain this is entirely what I had planned for this post when I initially started writing, but, as we know, writing has a mind of its own. You start off with your thoughts, and as your fingers blaze against the keyboard, things come to light. Things you thought you had suppressed and tamed, delightfully ignored in favor of happier, less grimdark things.
But truth is the most beautiful thing to write about, no?
I’ll leave you with the lyrics of The Longest Journey, the part that always speaks to me the loudest and with the most clarity. Indeed, I’ll keep wandering, perhaps not at the present, but I’ll never stop entirely.
He’s been drifting for so long, searching for the land where heroes roam, in the horizon the last ray of light, a breeze from the other side before he dies.
Dividing walls of stone, eternal heathen throne. Beneath the crossed starlight, revealed as the purest sight. Through constant affliction towards alleviation, when a searing star is near, carry on you’re almost here.
And Oma, if, for some godforsaken reason you’re reading this rubbish, I would like to visit next month. That sounds like a road trip for the books.