14/03/2011 § Leave a comment
We could all learn a little something from our meat.
In his fictionalized, semi-autobiography (aren’t they all?), Kurt Vonnegut explores his concept of self-loathing alienation from the very thing he believed in: humanity.
Through his fictionalized self, Rabo Karabekian — famous artist who has sold $10,000 worth of paintings — Vonnegut is trying to come to terms with what is the inherent worth of accomplishments. The author, the real-life KV, may the Earth rest his bones, was a multiple divorcee. He had astranged children (of his own and those of his beloved and departed sister). He worked his pen to the nub in the word of humanity. Lost in thought and a self/humanitarian-existential crises. He probably wondered: why, of all people, did he survive the bombing at Dresden. Although a devout humanitarian, he became slightly spiritually science fictitious.
I wonder what his astrological sign was?
So it was, near the not-so-near end of his life, he wrote Bluebeard (1987 — unknownst to him that he had another gruelling 20 years of a simple life ahead of him). It was an attempt to allow himself to not be a writer anymore, a realization that he was a man that observed the forest and epically failed to play in the trees, swing from their branches, help them grow. Although I feel compassion for his alienation from his own products (a family that he chose to have, but never actually paying them much attention), I selfishly thank him for that bravery because, well, we wouldn’t have Vonnegut if it wasn’t for that. His children would not have had such a compassionate, caring individual of society as a whole, instead of his few, if it wasn’t for his love of human life in general.
Without his selfish pursuit, I know my life would have had an alternative course.
It’s the tiny impacts we have on one another — even if we don’t know it or give credit to it.
Yesterday morning I sweated out a hangover in a heavy soup of polluted air. Buenos Aires, I thought. The good air. I could barely catch a molecule of breath. I started craving the air by the sea — fresh like Montevideo, where a salty breeze blew through Mags and Jameson’s apartment.
Yesterday morning was my first shift at Kilca Hostel, located in Montserrat — a few blocks away from San Telmo (the neighbourhood I lived in last year). In exchange for a bed, I meet people, make them breakfast and coffee in the morning and then sit here at my computer (or go out to the terrace for some air, or feed the dog, Wallace, or the cat, Zeta, or change the toilet paper).
Yesterday, I tried to learn everyone’s name. Tried to figure out how this receptionist process works. Tried some chorizo. Tried some Portuguese words. My nostrils flared because I couldn’t take a breath. Lots of new things and a sensory overload. The air was thick with “new”-ness and, well, I can’t swim very well. The sky began to rumble.
I could go back. It would be so easy to go back, my brain said. It would be the safest thing to do. I have done everything I needed to do. Am I putting myself back into a job that I may not like? Will I have time to write? Does it really matter at all?
I began to think too much. Oh my, I have spread myself too thin, again.
My vision began to spin.
And then it rained.
Within three hours, the temperature went from thirty-five degrees Celsius (with a humidity of 80%) to a brisk, Frisco 22`. And just like that, my vision corrected itself. I could eat again. I could move again. I could be mindful again. I remembered what it was to be myself, not through what I surround myself with (nor opinions, nor negativity, nor a class-structure). I thanked my meat for all that it has done (and thank Kurt Vonnegut for that excellent metaphor). I will continue with my epic waves of existential questioning.
The meaning behind my job title would be my North American box-ish tendencies (perhaps remnant of the Loyalist, classist, ancient British regime). The reality is, sometimes you have to do what you have to do, to do what you want to do. Yes, that was a a quote I heard from Denzel Washington. Yes, I believe it was a post-movie interview on Oprah. Do I like Oprah? Still, no. But I have absolutely watched the show.
So it goes, I move forward as a rock and as a roller.
Will write about it and take some pic-tours, too.
If anyone wants to give their meat a vacation, I could hook up a room in exchange for a hug or a delicious bag of coffee.