Friday, July 31, 2009

Awash in space and time

I'm all stuck in the funk of the last week of a life.

I've got that same feeling as right before I left for Spain the first time. It started with me and Brian hanging out getting drunk afternoons in the half-empty Francesca's apartment. Then Brian left and it really made me nauseous being alone those last few days. Right between one thing and another. Not sure if the one thing will ever happen again.

I'm in that floaty space, right before coming in to focus. Being on my own, with new people, in a different place, rips away all the outside stuff and leaves me just me. I like these times because they're tough and I'm pretty masochistic, but also because they leave me feeling solid, simple and chill....with a really long "i".

This morning I hung out with some Brazilian thugs on the train out of town, right after they boarded in the heart of the ghetto of Bellvitge. They were drunk and guards had just threatened to pull guns on them for not wearing shirts (True story - In Brazil it's normal to not wear a shirt in most public places. My friend Paulo, the one with a PhD in Political Science, did it throughout his first year in BCN before realizing people were staring at him.). But once all that blew over, we struck up polite conversation in which they hopelessly tried to guess where I was from and asked me how much money I'd give them to hit each other hard in the face. 5 weeks ago I would have been way too deep in the zone to just go with this. Today, I was just like, "yup".

Being alone for a prolonged period invariably brings up Chicago. Being out of my element just makes me want to jump right onto a sofa in pajama pants with friends in pajama pants, engorging myself like a crazy squirrel with Cherry García ice cream (I completely forgot about my three-year-long love affair with that stuff until right now! Aw, Cherry Garc ía.), or gratuitously dance to offensively lyricked music with wrecking-ball hips Edwards, or barbecue. Yeah, barbecue.

Chicago will forever be on a pedestal in my psyche, a metaphor for feeling 100% comfortable in my own skin, a perfect place where even when I do dumb stuff, the people around me just ruffle my hair and say, "Oh, Angie. That was silly".

Remember that time I thought I was getting fat because of the estrogen in European water? Then I remembered that I had recently gone back on the pill? So really, the fat was due to the estrogen I was directly ingesting in large quantities once a day? That was funny.

So far this all sounds pretty positive, not funky at all.

The funk is sort of like that Fitzgerald story (name?) where this guy has always felt a connection with a girl acquaintance from back in high school. It's been years since they've seen each other but he has a hunch that she feels this connection too. Some unexpected circumstance brings them together and they spend a whole day chatting about old times. He feels like all this confirms his hunch until it all comes crashing down when she takes out some old photos, says, "Look, here's you," and points to someone who is not him. She thought he was someone else the whole day and doesn't really remember Mr Protagonist at all. Oh dear.

Sometimes I think I fall back on that version of Chicago and let it into the core of my self definition and what makes me happy, let it become a mark on a measuring stick that other experiences can't quite reach. It sort of weirds me out that something as intangible as my perception of a time and place forms a fundamental piece of me and my identity and my happiness.

So I guess the funk is a combination of feeling so far away, in space and time, from some fundamental part of me, and at the same time wondering if that thing is not just something I've built up in my mind, that might actually be interfering with my operation in reality.

And it's thoughts like these that remind us of why women should not be allowed out of the kitchen.

1 comment:

Megan said...

Don't worry, we'll still ruffle your hair from afar; you'll always have good friends who really know you here. For me, that's the appeal of Chicago.

Oh, those dance parties! At Kristin's birthday BBQ we witnessed a small college (or just post-college) party with lots of gratuitous dancing. In my old age I was simultaneously annoyed and happy for those youngsters.

Say hi to the fam!