Wednesday, May 14, 2008


i'm at the most agonizing part of a trip, the time when i am desperate to wring out every minute left, but dying, at the same time, to be home. among the things i miss:
  • our bed. i am not speaking metaphorically. i mean every coilless bit of the mattress itself. nights here are a dark punishment. i wake up unable to move, my shoulders out of kilter with my hips, my hips unattached to my legs, my neck shredded nerves. oh, and my pillow! i miss my pillow, too.
  • sky. to be down in san telmo's canyons is amazing, and libertador's twelve lanes of traffic are awe-inspiring. but i am albertan; i miss the big blue vistas.
  • TV. i would kill for a law & order rerun. in english. i want to tune out. i figure that at home i'm not paying attention something like 30% of the time, whether it's relying on rote exchanges, courtesies, or just absenting myself from the details of any given moment. last night mo and i went into a restaurant and the host asked .... something. i was so tired i just couldn't get it up to follow. assuming he'd asked whether we had a reservation, i said no. mo looked startled, but the host didn't miss a beat. he asked something else, something that included the verb "tocar" (to drink). again, i said no. then there was an uncomfortable silence while he wondered, if they aren't here for dinner and they don't want drinks, what do they want? at home in front of the TV, this wouldn't happen. and i wouldn't have to mind my manners quite so carefully, either. i'm tired of eating in public.
  • being right. every day here i am wrong about something. and while it's good to be reacquainted with humility, there's a significant line between humility and humiliation. lately i've been on the wrong side of that line too often. oh, sure, i see how fortunate i am to live a life without routine humiliation (i sound flippant though i actually find this a profound observation), but i would just like to know where things are, follow conversations, speak my mind -- and not be wrong yet again. on which score, remember when i said, early on, that this wasn't a coffee culture? totally wrong. the coffee here is great. i just hit a bad cafe.
  • clean clothes. yeah, sure, we've sent our stuff out to a lavadero, but it's not the same as when mo does the laundry.
  • vegetables: crisp, fresh crunch in all shades of green, and red, and yellow, and green, and green, and green...
  • routine. oh, i try to be a wild child of nature, but i'm not. in my soul, i am a routinized, disciplined fascist. sigh.
that's not a full list, but it's a start. however, i know what it will be like. within a day of getting home and hanging out with the cats (who are so obviously missed they don't need to be named here), i'll wonder what the hurry was. and then i'll miss everything from here:
  • beautiful buildings. the view off the balcony in the mornings, that jumble of high-rise and low-rise roofs, resilient and surprising trees, and feral cats.
  • life on a human scale. living at street level. walking.
  • cheap malbec.
  • the sense of excitement and possibility in not knowing things. the cosmopolitanism of living in another language. learning how the world is put together by learning the language.
  • BA design, style. not to mention shopping without consequences.
  • the party our neighbour invited us to. of course it would be absolutely excruciating to attempt to socialize in spanish. but how cool is it to have been invited to a block party, the kind of party you need a password ("trini, jose or mason," for anyone in the neighbourhood) to get into?
  • not working. to be at home means facing again everything i've put off while here. but enough of that. denial, be my friend yet another few days.
  • living without routine.
as usual, having a particle transponder would change everything. i could scoot home for a respite and then come back here, instantaneously, renewed. in that way, i could be permanently on vacation and rooted in my everyday life, without committing to either. perfect.


Anonymous said...

What is malbec? And, please, do tell: how can you shop without consequences?

Heather Zwicker said...

malbec = argentine red wine. i find it quite tart, not so heavy as a cabernet.

as for shopping w/o consequences: i find shopping in one place and having the bill sent to another quite effective. in the short term, that is.