thursdays, don’t be so dark.
12/08/2010 § 2 Comments
I woke up in the dark with a familiar discomfort. Even though it was morning, the room was dark tinged with the orange iridescence that radiates from a city’s night-sky. For a moment, just a fraction, I was startled and bolted upright. I thought I was lying in bed in Buenos Aires.
In that same moment, I tasted mate on my teeth, sweetened by last night’s beef, my calves creaked from dancing tango on my toes, my fingers cringed from clenched fists around the reins. Then, my alarm went off, ringing me back to reality. I brushed off the mementos like a smoking jacket dug out of the closet. Getting ready for work, I was still shaken.
For the rest of the day, or at least until now, I wondered how the past felt so present. I could not tell if I was grumpy because of a restless sleep, something I have not experienced for some months, or if a subtle away-sickness was seeping in. From what I do remember, last night’s dreams were about Argentina, more specifically my last moments before returning to Toronto, the times that I actually felt like I was there.
I distinctly recall the architectural corners — typically housing a juice stand or two — the smell of dog shit climbing into your nose, the tongue tinged with bad coffee, but made velvety with a dollop of cream. I remember shrugging off the calls from workers taking an afternoon kerb side breaks, my peripheral vision enhanced from months of practice dodging dog bombs, hearing the swinging cadence of idiosyncratic Argentine phrases. It’s funny, the things we get used to.
The other day, post- Big Chill ice cream, sitting in Bickford Park, I had a discussion about what it meant to travel. It’s a nervous topic for me. I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but I always wanted to travel, to what ends, also unknown. I found myself trying to justify something that I could not explain. I used ammunition — like culture, climate, social infrastructure, opportunity, curiosity, language — to try and justify an indescribable incentive for itchy feet. “My dear, let’s just call a spade a spade and say that you like the adventure.”
True. But, what is adventure and why do I long for the challenge?
Growing up, I was fascinated by dinosaurs and humans. The concept of dinosaurs blew my mind because there was no way that reptilian, bird-like monsters could have existed on the same hunk of rock that I, too, lived on. And, to become extinct! With nothing but your dead corpse to prove you were once living.
I was captivated by humans because of two things: one, we could create stories about dinosaurs based on theory and bone-analysis. The second reason was our ability to adapt to our environment. Unlike different species of dinosaurs, humans are not specific to one region. Despite cultural variance, on the most fundamental level, we are made the same, give or take height, blood types and digestive systems — all of which, by the way, have adapted according to environmental conditions.
Still, we are creatures of mobility, but more as a past time than a necessity. We do not need to move around to survive. We can even become a starchy spud sitting on a sofa. But, we still wander in search of something. Only once we think we have found it, we tend to plant our roots and get ready to grow. What I find fascinating is that we can grow anywhere with very little. Like weeds.
So, given the abundance of options and the opportunity to jump on a plane, train or ship, to take pills to ease your lactose intolerance, to Skype with your family on holidays, to make new friends and maintain an online community, how do you choose?
I think it might be necessary to work within before putting yourself out there.