rainy afternoons, and redefining looks.

10 October 2011 § Leave a comment

Okay, so the pizza was good. It wasn’t great. Expensive, too, for what it was. I thought Costa Rica would be cheaper. Truth: I want to see true poverty.

Not for the novelty. But to know it exists outside of commercials with fat white men holding up African babies with distended stomachs from starvation, and seeing bad actresses play AIDS-ridden prostitutes in Hollywood blockbusters. I want to see where that bearded Christian man, who spoke in his sym-pathetic tones about how I needed to send Him money, spent the night after recording that commentary on the sad and poor state of half the world’s population. And where did that baby sleep that night?

I wanted to move beyond the simple reasons for being in another country – to drink and meet fellow travelers who also want to drink and … drink. And I’ve done that, if I’m willing to forgive what goes on upstairs at night.

But I’m also not willing to sweep aside my conclusive stereotypes – no matter how well-researched they are – and eliminate everyone familiar from my path to another culture’s insides. I’m an explorer, of sorts, and can investigate the avenues of my discontent with humility. I can step ahead of you off the curb and not feel bad about it. I’m an asker of questions, storyteller unextraordinaire. Most of them are true, most of the time. Others I embellish, because I’m a fisherman, and that’s what those dirty mongrels of the brown seas do. I have no excuses for my flaws, only elaborate explanations etched and sketched in sandy verse, ready to be shaken and rewritten whenever the rain comes.

And it comes, hard. It flows down the miniature ravines with the speed of fire art armadas, complete with pirate hats and tassels. My respect goes out to the travelers of these sidewalks: my daily task while running through these streets is not merely fitness and sanity, but to avoid as many broken legs as possible. Remain calm around the 19-year-old security guards who bear their shotguns like tennis rackets. Pedestrians are targets here, and the old ladies who once made their way across the streets now drive giant SUVs. They will have their revenge. Stop signs have no stopping power, for they are made of cheap wood and rot slowly.

thank you for the conversation. It’s the first I’ve had in weeks. That bit with the napkin, though. It felt a little contrived. Like I’d practiced it before. I hadn’t. I’m still learning all that I said myself.

But I’m glad you kept it anyway.

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