On the last moments in Buenos Aires and old photographs

Friday, 20 August 2010

When asked 'so how do you like Buenos Aires?!' by proud-faced portenos, I would stubbornly refuse to add to the gushing bluster that their fat fucking egos expect to hear from the city's tourists.

It's a captivating but frustrating place; at once chaotic and sanctimonious, prim, polished and polluted, loaded with both churches and telos (sex hotels), with thousands upon thousands of the most kind, hospitable people you could meet, all brushing shoulders with the thousands and thousands of distrustful, selfish arseholes that make up the rest of the city.

It's a beautiful mix of elegant, crumbling Colonial archictecture, wide avenidas and minimal glass skyscrapers that has caught the 'capitol city syndrome' tenfold.
A place where you walk down the street and notice half of the public looking you in the eyes and the other half looking you up-and-down to see what clothes you're wearing, and passing judgement accordingly.

Despite all this, it was evident when I left last night that I had become weaved into the fabric of the city; that ripping myself free from that fabric would be a sore experience, and that I would inevitably leave a trace of my own shitty little threads behind.

After saying a few long, protracted and hesitant goodbyes to the those who were my life in the city- namely the Brother, the Mother and the Lover, the Best Braa, the Couchsurfers and the Prodigal Cordoban- I left the building that had been my home and safehouse for the past 2 months and was greeted by my suited, slicked-haired escort and his airport remis; a smoothly squared charcoal cortege that would take me on my final journey.

With all the cold, deliberate grace of a master assasin, my pale-faced driver ushered me away from the tremoring sobs of my Mother and opened the back door of the car for me.
As I caught one last wave from the window, he slowly and methodically applied his seatbelt, quietly turned on the huge, humming engine and took me on a silent, tortuous roll through the Palermo neighbourhoods that I had come to know so well.

From the place where I had danced tango on an empty nightime roof terrace (Borges y Paraguay), past one of my former student's houses on Soler y Scalabrini Ortiz, up where you were stroking houses on a drunken Saturday night walk home, (Charcas y Vidt), right past the illuminated doorway of my Brother's house (Guemes y Coronel Diaz) and down Avenida Coronel Diaz, passing, finally, a nocturnal fruit shop where I had argued with the owner for 5 minutes about the price of a butternut squash.

The driver didn't speak, he simply granted me a few seconds to take agonising mental snapshots of the places I had passed every day; recognisable places that I saw in a new light. These shapes and structures would shortly cease to exist in my reality, simply becoming Sartre's mental photographs; laying stagnant in my deteriorating and finite mental scrapbook.

I caught a back-window reflection of my glassy, dilated yolks staring out over the superhighway, and experienced one of those moments where you actually look yourself in the eyes (properly) for the first time in months.

When you realise 'urghh, this is what other people see when I'm starin at them'.
And you think 'what am I doing here'.
And you wonder 'where am I going'.
And you wonder if this wide-eyed, petulant and skinny-faced boy is how other people see you in their own fading mental photographs.


Unknown said...

no, mate, you are ugly but you probably don't look that bad in the eyes of others. Number one rule in the trip heads manual - don't look at your own reflection on acid!

Happy trails