Thursday, January 30, 2014

High School Doesn't End When You Graduate

Today I subbed for P.E. at a local high school and I noticed something as I watched the boys playing basketball. I noticed that our adult lives are simply a continuation of high school. Five boys played on the court. Two tried to dribble and finally ended up kicking the ball back and forth on the other end of the court. One sat in an aluminum chairs off to the side and played with his phone. Later, when another class joined mine, girls sat on the sidelines and text while giggling. A hipster kid sat on the sidelines with the world tuned out as giant black headphones hugged his head. Everyone had their place, and I realized that as we get older we still have our place, some of us just become more comfortable in them while others spend their life trying to outgrow the shadow of who they were.

Sometimes when it comes down to it, we are just the mean girl, nerdy guy, jock, douche, brown noser, stoner. Look around at all your friends, what group would you be? What about your coworkers? Once you look around you'll see the similarities. (You know that girl who pretends to be nice at work was a mean girl in high school)

As I watched the kids playing, not playing, it was easy to see who was "cool" who was "stoned" I even saw an obvious "slutty girl" as she pranced around the edges of the basketball court trying to capture one of the players attention, (We all know that girl too), and I wondered: Where is the reality show of adults back in a high school situation and why hasn't been created? It would be interesting to see everyone fall back into old behaviors.

And finally I can't not ask this. Not to get all Breakfast Club, but which one are you?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Afterword: Colombia

I was just on three different flights: Medellin to Miami, Miami to Dallas, and now Dallas to El Paso. There is an odd smear that happens as you travel to so many places. I think my mind and parts of my body are still in Medellin.

Although I spoke English while there, when I exited in Miami my brain froze in bits when talking to people in English. My ear although relieved to hear the round sounds and nasal pitches we make was growing accustomed to listening closely to all the deep bellied rrrrrrrr's. The further I got away the more the accents changed from Paisa's and Rolo's to Cuban's and Jamiacan's to Southern belle's and ending finally with the singsong voices that are the choir in El Paso.

I lived in Dallas for many years, but upon being back I find I don't think I'll ever live here again. I prefer the broad spectrum of browns and yellows and reds of other places. It's funny how things happen. In Medellin, I grew excited when someone spoke to me in Spanish. I blended. They thought maybe I was one of them. When they heard my accent they simply asked if I was Mexican or didn't ask at all and only looked at me more intently. I was even more proud when they didn't think I was a gringa! Here in Dallas a woman spoke to me hesitating, in that "Does she speak English kind of way," (is it the great tan I have from being at the beach for 4 days??) and I was offended. Same thing, different response. It's odd to have such a large city be so monotone.

I feel space and how spread out everything is here. Medellin is like a deep breath inhaled into the mouth of the valley, tight and with everything close together. The long highways and open space here seems like too much almost. The space is something not only seen in the city but in the people. I am glad to have my bubble back. The personal space around all of us that others don't invade. That space does not exist anywhere in Colombia. People stand close and bump you and talk to you while in line even when you have the, "I just want to get through this and go" face. They have people who will help you at the grocery store and stand near you while you try to pick a cheese. To me, they lurk and make me uncomfortable. For them they are helping and think our way of service is rude. A sales girl at the store practically tried to put a pair of shorts on for me and the whole time I wanted to yell, "Get out of my bubble!" but I just smiled through gritted teeth and said, "Gracias, estoy bien."

Today when I get home, I will be overjoyed to be in my bed, with my Sami, Drew-b, and Salome, but I think it may take a couple of days for all my parts to be joined back together. And the interesting thing is, when traveling to new and far places, that maybe they won't fit back together the way they did before.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Taganga, Santa Marta, and Beginning a Road Trip with Richard

Saturday we woke up early, 7:30am, the earliest we've woken up while on this trip to Colombia. The last two days we'd spent at Cabo San Juan and Playa Crystal. We were brown, tight skinned, but still wanted to enjoy our last day on the coasta.

Richard, our taxi driver and tour guide for the day, was early but patient as we just had to throw on our bathing suits, mine red and white polka dots a la '50's and Daniel's surfer style multicolored board shorts. We got in the cab and Richard (pronounced in Spanish Ree-charrrrd) started talking and reassured us not to worry we could take our time, spend whatever time we wanted at any of the places he was going to take us. He gave us a map, and a block down the steep rocky dirt road  we stopped outside a woman's house. A thin raisin colored woman with strong hands patted maza back and forth between her wide palms. The front door of her cement brick house was open, and her thick daughter sat in a chair just inside. On the the floor by her feet were ten brown egg shells lay empty on the dark stained side walk.

"Tres arepas de huevo," Daniel said.

I stood watching as round disks of maza surfed across the surface of the hot boiling oil. Once they puffed up she popped it open, dropped in the egg, and back into the oil it went. She handed us some that were already ready. I lifted my camera and took pictures of the disks and her pink palmed hands. I wanted to take a picture of her face, beautiful with all it's lines and ridges, road maps of all the places she'd been in her life, but I was afraid. I didn't want to offend her. I snuck one in as her daughter gave Daniel the change and we walked back toward Richard who was smoking a cigarette by his bright yellow taxi. The oil from the arepas de huevo was already seeping through the small brown paper bag as we climbed in the back seat.

As Richard drove he ate his arepa and talked. I munched the hot delicious sandwiched fried egg in silence. He offered to get us a cooler for the beer we wanted to stop and buy.

"Mi casa esta cerca," he assured.

Richard drove and talked, drove and talked to Daniel. I listened and tuned out, listened and tuned out staring out the window as Santa Marta smeared past me. It was a wet painting of browns, beiges, and greys set against a stark blue sky. The people all raisin, mahogany, and toast colored flecks inserted in empty looking buildings or in front of brightly colored fruit stands, and as we drove, I ran my fingers through it all smearing it all together into a painted memory.

As we pulled up to Richard's house he asked if it was okay if he brought someone with him. We nodded and waited outside as he rushed in the house. He came out a few minutes later with green canvas camping chairs and a bright white smile stark against his browned skin  and black Sam Elliot style mustache. He put them in the trunk walked back into his house and came back out with a once white Styrofoam cooler. He just happened to have two six packs of Aguila for us as well. His face was warm, open, and always filled with a bright half moon smile. From the open the door of his house ran a little girl, his daughter, in bright orange cargo pants and a sea blue shirt. She looked about ten with long brown hair and fair skin. She smiled and shared the same half moon as Richard. She got in the passenger seat and waved to us.

"Va ser mi copiloto," Richard said and smiled down at the matching smiling face looking up at him.

As we pulled away from his house I looked back and saw an older taxi parked in front with flat tires in sand brown dirt and a large black and brown dog who sat on the porch. We were now ready to begin our road trip with Richard and his copilot.