Friday, August 31, 2012

Free Concert

Ok, I went to the organ concert last Monday.  First I have to say this: I’m sick of cultural solicitation.  I mean, if your talent is so rare and scarce, charge the fair price and with that get more people motivated to acquire that talent.  But why every time you sit down to hear classical music you need to go through all the cries about lack of funding and the begging for money?  Just charge me, I get it.  I pay for a good play and I would pay more for a good concert.

The organ that was installed in the amphitheater of Balboa Park is superb. The sunset was the perfect time to schedule a concert of this kind. Now, let’s go to the performance.  The selection was excellent: Mars from The Planets of Gustav Holts, a bass interpretation of Old Man River and a declamation of Edgar Allan Poe’s Raven in the dark. But I have to say that the execution was at the level of a free open concert. There were people in the back cooking tacos and sipping bear in beach chairs. That’s why I insist: let the market take care of quality and cost. I won’t mind for a minute to pay the fair share of a concert professionally executed. Look what Andre Rieu is doing around the world with a repertory as popular as Strauss waltzes. 

The most pitiful point was a comedian they put in the middle. His routine was bad even for lower class burlesque. I’ve seen best performances in third-world night clubs. Every time I find a mediocre artist I remember how distractive a talent can be. I can be an “ok” engineer and get by, but the cruel reality for artists is that you have to be the best just to survive.  Different markets, different dynamics. That’s why I charge for my coding and sing for free in the shower.

But one thing I will say on behalf of free classical music: it’s the first time I see an organ concert where pets were allowed and they were singing along with the C sharp.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Coronado Island

San Diego doesn’t cease to give me good impressions. Today I visited Coronado Island with no other expectation than to find a coffee shop and catch up in my writings. I ended up taking long walks over beautiful avenues with the charm of small but luxury stores.  The mansions you see along the coast make you feel as if you are intruding just by looking at the windows, always open and showing up the interior. It’s is a celebration of well-spent wealth, where the facades show full trust in the city and its inhabitants. Now you have the chance to see the elderly people that accumulated all this buying power, trying to make the most of it in their walkers and convertible Volvos. The youngest dine around with their teen children trying to lecture them about life while they keep their noses pointing to a texting device and rolling their eyes now and then.

It’s a fact of life that the adventure of creating wealth and actually enjoying it is always broken by at least one generation. It’s hard to communicate the richness of experiences that you get from humble origins, given you don't settle for that. Few parents have the virtue of educators. We really need very little to survive, so it must be very tempting for the new generation to lay back, try a couple of projects (just to say you are doing something) and forget ambition altogether.

Forfeit ambition in exchange or peace is a good trade, but not when that peace is mistaken by laziness and lack of realization. The children of rich people are not the only victims. California has a huge population of homeless that are perfectly capable of taking care of their own lives but they choose not to. I have not one ounce of compassion for those who extend their hands, nor for those who speak extensively about how traumatic their childhood was.

Humiliation is a benevolent medicine that saves lives. Never deny it to whom it's due.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quiet Evening - Wild Night

The main reason you may decide to love San Diego is Balboa Park.  This is not even a real historical landmark since everything has been reconstructed to the point of looking brand new.   But the result is this peaceful and welcoming walk surrounded by Spaniard facades; busy buildings with museums and restaurants where you never find a red tape. There is so much space available for you to run, hike and get lost that you have this constant sensation of been trespassing. I found myself sharing an impressive view of the Cabrillo bridge with a confident rabbit that was sat in the dusty road without any fear.

There is an impressive amphitheater where free concerts are delivered to the public. Next Monday there will be an organ concert with Carol Williams that I wouldn't dare to miss.

I stopped by a fenced zone on the other side of the bridge.  The only purpose of that area is to unleash your dog and let him loose with other comrades, in a generous display of liability acceptance that is very rare in this litigious society. It’s moving how completely happy they are.  They just do what we humans wish to do in our minds: chasing each other for a quick hormonal exchange.

This park gives me the sensation of having so many places to sit down and write without been bothered that I can’t think of a better place to come out with a book. The convenience and the peace are there without the distractions of a major tourist landmark. Maybe this is the core value of San Diego: a perfect weather in a clean ordered city where nothing really ever happened.

After that, I went to the Horton Plaza to challenge a couple of strangers in the giant chessboard that they have on the floor nearby Macy’s. I accomplished a couple of victories but not friendships. Then I realized that I was in the middle of downtown a Friday night and I took a walk to explore. The atmosphere is very young and for sure you will find a place to match your mood, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The weather allows the party to hit the streets with a natural flow that I have not seen surpassed in any city with the exceptions of Paris or La Habana. The presence of police is maintained to a minimum. At least this night people seem to be joyfully under control.  You also have those long lines of beautiful people waiting to have a drink in a certain place as if the alcohol was banned in the rest of the city, but that's one world I never got in and I confess it’s still a mystery to me.

I’m in no hurry.  This city is inexhaustible.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Accidental Discovery

Small, very small wood made cozy houses, with flowers on the porch and small trees in the garden.  Non-crowded cafes with a dream setup for any college student.  You can fell sleep in the soft couches and then go back to a wide table where all your books are waiting under a lamp.  This place is not extremely popular so there is plenty of space where to park without the usual threatening tow signs. 

This was my accidental discovery today.  It’s called University Heights.  I haven’t seen before such a comfortable old neighborhood.  People actually live in these 100 years old houses, with small alleys separating them where no cars can pass through, so there are just gardens and cats lying around.  Calm and lovely.

In the cafes, college students are trying to concentrate in their lectures while a casual goddess gets in line for a “Spiced Chaid Latte” and robs all their concentration.  This one was wearing a green shirt with an opening in the lower back, revealing a discrete sun over her perfectly tan coccyx.  I told her that such a skin made me reconsider the existence of God.  She turned at me with her big green eyes that matched her blouse and smiled like a child in front of an ice cream cone.  How can there be no God when there are so many angels?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I am a fan of little moments.

Yesterday I discovered the Little Italy of San Diego.  It’s not spectacular, it’s just authentic.  A couple of blocks with bistros, bars and restaurants where you can sip a glass of wine, have real pasta, walk to the beach and go back to sit in a comfortable coffee shop and chat a little (online and offline).  Three beautiful girls from Baghdad were talking at the next table and I couldn’t help but engage in the conversation.  If not for their language, they look like regular Spaniard gypsies, with that prominent nose that has always been my personal fetish.   It’s refreshing to be welcome in a conversation with strangers without the regular checkout or caution.  This is not a club venue where people come to throw pick-up lines, so the environment is relaxed and friendly.

I keep walking and I stopped in a corner made of glass and aluminum just before sunset.  It’s a small bar called “Underbelly”.  The design was so open, clear and nice that I sat down and ordered something just to be there.  I already had a couple of glasses of wine and I didn’t want to add more to my bloodstream, so I ordered a “mocha ice cream” from the menu. They brought me three little pieces of ice cream into a fried container, covered with a light guava jelly. No fork; this was for the chopsticks. When I put the first one in my mouth I knew I was at the top of the happiness curve of my life.  Nothing can surpass a little unexpected pleasure.

Timing is so important in happiness that the same experience in a different context is just unworthy.  That’s why we try to time those moments, but by doing so we kill the second element that is even more important: spontaneity. You can go to the same corner at the same hour and not be able to reproduce the experience. With years of knowing yourself, the best you can do is to expose yourself to situations where you have a high probability of experiencing happiness and forget about the actual outcome.

I’m not looking for happiness; I already found it. I’m just playing cat and mouse letting it go and catching it over and over again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rent In San Diego

The tourist attractions of a city are like the nice shirt people wear on parties.  The real estate market is like the underwear.  One doesn’t have to match the other.  So I was eager to explore the rented space in San Diego now that I plan to stay here for at least one month.  

I opened which is always a creepy experience and started to browse around.  The offers are overwhelming.  The prices are very good, especially if you just want a studio.  There are a lot of options for the students attending the University of California and a lot of roommate matchmaking.

First I went to a zone with the uninviting name of Cajon (the drawer).  As scary as it may be for some people, it’s still a nice poor neighborhood.  Yes, old cars and humble houses, but you have order and enough cleanliness.  That’s the difference between poverty and decadence.  In my country of origin, poor, nasty and insecure were pretty much the same thing.  Here you can separate the concepts.  I love this country and I find virtue even in its failures.  

What pushed me out of this part of the city was the “culture” factor.  The room for rent was in a neighborhood full of children yelling and running around.  That alone told me that I won’t make the deal, but I inspected the place anyway.  The room had a balcony with a clear reception of the music played by the neighbors in the building behind, and the selection of all of them was this Mexican combination of country and fair-band that they call “banda”.  I think that music is the best reason to leave this planet.  I said “thank you for your time” and ran to my car.

The next candidate was a room in a mansion at the top of a hill.  Things looked pretty good and the owner waited for me in his Audi in a spot nearby.  He asked me to follow him to his house and we entered a spacious front yard with trees.  But then the guy came out of the car.  It was a sixty years old white tall man, drunk as if he were coming from a bachelor party and dirty as if he was taking a nap in a dumpster.  He smelled the same way he looked.  Turning to me he opened his sleepy eyes and invited me to come in.  We passed through the main entrance of a very elegant and furnished home that seemed to be totally out of maintenance for at least six months.  He showed me the way to the kitchen that had a full view of a half full pool.  That place was the epicenter of the mess.  Nobody had cleaned after himself since Katrina, and even when the hurricane didn’t touch California, the untidiness found its way here.   At that point, the tall man turned around and I notice that he had a knife in his right hand.  Then I notice that he had an orange in the left hand and asked me if I'd like some fruit. 

We seated at a glass table with digital prints of everyone who has been there since spring time and he conducted a general interview to see if I was a wordy renter.  At the end of the orange, he showed me the way to the room.  It was a cozy corner with its own bathroom. There was a bra hanging from the shower.  He told me that his twenty years old daughter just moved a couple of days ago.  Then a call interrupted.  Some kind of broker was trying to negotiate a price.  After that, he explained to me that we may have to leave some days to let the real estate seller show the house.

I have no idea what is happening in that life but I don’t want to be part of it.  For a minute I even thought this may be just a homeless man who broked-in and was trying to rent this house out. But why not taking a shower or hold on the drinking that day?  Does he found the keys of the Audi under the carpet?  If I give this man a deposit check and then he disappears I’ll be the only one to blame.  Even if he was the legitimate owner, he doesn’t seem to be in a position of returning checks.  So I walked away.   

I’m now in a comfortable apartment with independence entrance and bathroom just 15 minutes from downtown.  A friendly Mexican couple rented it to me and let me move the very same day.  No traces of “banda” around.  This seems to be a Philippine neighbor, and I love how quiet everything is so far.   I swear it's so silent that there is less noise outside than inside, and the only thing indoors is the fridge.

You place your chips, you roll the dices, and you collect.  The only difference is that in real life you never know the extent of the bet.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Psychological Landscapes

After driving through the Arizona desert, I went through mountains that looked more like a group of rounded rocks that somebody piled up together.  Behind those mountains, the bikers start to finger point the end of the continent.  Now I understand why Spaniards called California this place after a land of fantasy.  Having crossed the horrifying loneliness of the desert, this modest forest must have been seen as a generous jungle.  You can smell the leaves from the window of the car, now open to fresh air.

I arrived in San Diego at sunset.  It was an excellent first impression.  The city is very clean and ordered as compared with the South East. That day I was very sensitive to smells, and I was delighted for the fresh scents of the first grocery store where I stopped for directions.  

The hills and dips in the streets reminded me San Francisco, but without the decadence.  The only bad thing I notice immediately was an established population of homeless people.  The funny thing is that this city has the races inverted: the Mexicans are driving cars and the junkies are white.  How did that happen?

After a night in a decent motel, I started to drive along the coast without any plans.  The first thing that I found was a colossal ship anchored in the bay as a floating museum.  I know I said that I won’t be visiting museums, but this aircraft carrier was so impressive that I had to get in.

Leaving alone the fact that this is a humongous device for destruction, it also represents an incredible capacity for organization and an astonishing tolerance for stress and responsibility.  Reading the numbers on the internet is one thing, but actually feeling those gigantic rings of steel from which the bow anchor hangs, makes you wonder how somebody said: “yes, we can do this”.  Part of the answer is that the opposite statement was not an option.   But maybe is more accurate to state that those big pieces of metal were not conceived in the first attempt but after years of trying similar projects with increasing scope and ambition.

After two hours just getting a very superficial look at the theory behind the distribution of power, the process of landing the planes and arrange them in the platform, the administration of ammunition, the handling of fuel, the operation of day by day facilities, the wiring, the communications, the electric engineering, the mechanic marvels and the human resources, you can’t help but realize that there must be a high degree of intuition and improvisation sorting out the unmanageable number of possible outcomes.  Actually, the ship is quite different than the model presented by the architects (also in the exhibition) due to those last minute “requirements” that we programmers hate.  Last minute modifications to a structure of steel must be incomparably more stressful.  War must be the ultimate school of chaos administration.

And yet, some people think this little project of mine is risky.  We are way behind the courage of the founders of our civilization. Smartphones make us more accurate, but at the same time more arrogant and weak.  The brain is not the only part of the body that engages in a project.  It’s not unprofessional to be emotional with your inventions.  A project without guts is a list of reasons for not getting things done.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

So Nasty That It's Funny

I've been in nice hotels and there is very little to say about them that is not in the brochure.  But now that I stopped in the nastiest hotel I have found in the US so far, I have so much to say about it.

First, I thought I was given the address of a self-storage building when I arrived. Then a guy came out and told me how much it was per night.  I don’t know his nationality but is one of those people who always smell as if he just had a really spicy lunch.  His children were running around the family business.  You made a cash deposit for the little key of the room and go park in front of it.  The place is almost scary.  There are stains of food on the carpet and you can swear the furniture was just salvaged from a flooded building.  The lamps are crushed as if there was a fight inside, and the neighbors next door were actually having one.

There is water in the toilet, but the tub has a generous microscopic population that shows itself in black strings in the form of branches and the towels have brown stains in the middle.  They say online that they have a pool, and that they have: an empty pool with rusty chairs (not around but inside) and a little swamp in the middle.

So I’m giving this hotel in Tucson the award of the nastiest road stay so far.  I find that funny because this is still prettier than the place where I grew up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Find Your People

Marcel Proust used to say that we are hopelessly alone.  He was discouraging us from trying to be understood.

I have come to the conclusion that the hours I spend trying to persuade somebody are a complete waste of time.  You mainly find people from three groups:
  • Those that does not understand, but they assent because don’t want to look stupid.
  • Those who dissent and argue with you.
  • Those who share your view but lack the guts to do something about it.
The three encounters are frustrating, so you resolve to keep everything to yourself.  But by doing that you make it harder to the fourth group to find you.  These are the people that not just share your values but actually act upon them.

At that moment, talking is equally wasteful.  It’s the acts what constitute your race, your religion and your nation.  I’m not talking about the group of people who borrow a set of values from a constitution and go blindly to die for it.  I’m talking about people that engineer their own definition of happiness, based on self-acknowledge and unwavering principles.  

That group is necessarily small, but that’s the only people you can authentically love.  You don’t really love anybody because of your genes or because of a law telling you to do so. You love when you know that the other person and you are practically the same. This feeling can be induced with hormones - look how the mother wants to “eat” his baby with kisses - but as soon nature fulfills his goal the rush goes down.  But if we take conscience control of the mechanisms of affection we can generate authentic human love; something that is not a compromise you take, but an essence you are.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Precious Insignificance

The Cavers of Sonora are like a cathedral under the surface of Earth of five million years.  It’s is amazing that such a temple wasn’t discovered until 1955.   Actually, I saw shells dated from a time when Texas was under the ocean.

I was at the lowest chamber when the lights were turned off.  That silent and darkness make you feel the patience and indifference of nature through thousands of millennia before any human existed.

My insignificance will always be a great source of relieve.  I’m not needed, thanks havens.

Feeling small is vital for big endeavors.  If we perceive ourselves as precious, we would be too afraid to take risks.  Contemplation is the healthy counterpart of self-consciousness.  We are not the most beautiful creatures on Earth, but that’s ok unless we behave as if we were.  At that point, we turn pathetic.   

Admire, serve and create.  If we can do that we may pay our debt with Nature.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sonora: The Delight of Nowhere

One of the major goals of this trip was to stop in a completely irrelevant town, check into a nasty motel and engage in conversation with two old veterans in the parking lot over two cans of beer.  Today I did exactly that in the town of Sonora, Texas.

This county is beautiful but empty, filled only with pipeline workers from the oil industry.   The place is claiming a place in history on the basis of having been visited by the bank robber Will Carver when he was looking for oats to feed his horses in 1901.  That’s the most exciting thing that ever happened here.

But you walk into a restaurant and the bar is full of enthusiastic workers, eager to tell you how different and thrilling their jobs are.  Just around the corner, a young man from New Mexico told me that he loves to travel one hour and a half to his workplace and not knowing where he will be a month from now.  There is no limit to the capital of stories these people are willing to share for free.  I haven't talked with as many friendly strangers in the past five years as I did today.

I love to be on the road.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Monument In Austin

I've been in Austin before.  This is the capital of college age people and their parties.  Beyond Sixth Street, there're a plethora of interesting bars with a very welcoming environment.  I love the concept of old wood houses converted into social reservoirs with their comfy couch room for close friends and the open bar in the backyard for new acquaintances.  The park benches and the taco stands add both practicality and informality to an atmosphere built by groups of interest rather than loud music or casual encounters.

But that’s not the most valuable impression I’m getting from the city.

A friend of mine has been living here for many years working for a big tech company.  He opened his doors to me while he was taking care of his daughter and his son, eleven and nine years old respectively.  Divorced short after his second child was born, this man has cultivated a chemistry with son and daughter that is really unique.  They are the kind of kids that run to hug the guest and then run back to keep hugging their daddy.  After dinner, I was invited to join them in a board game of memory, and I enjoyed losing like never before.  Most people love children; I don’t, so the merit is double.

The price people pay to build a family (or attempt to) is so dear that I never completed the transaction.

The current system victimizes the male, converting him in the target of financial aggression patronized by the status quo.  The result is people like me that don’t see a single reason to start a family.  The risk is just too high, and the rewards are zero by statute.  Even the emotional reward of been the king of the house has been taken away by the feminist.  That would all be fine and good if the laws were crafted around equality, but they are not.  On paper, women are victims, and they are entitled by law to take and exploit.

I admire this man who managed to cultivate love in an environment where visits and custody need to be granted in writing and filed.  At the same time, my friend was struggling with additional claims for money that he just got in the mail.  An unknown lawyer is asking him with impersonal but aggressive vocabulary to disburse more than twelve thousand dollars in child support that does not appear in the official record of automatic deductions from his paycheck.  But he made the payments with personal checks.  So he is expending energy going back seven years and collecting the evidence.  Not even the IRS forces you to go so far in your financial past.

But he keeps his son and daughter out of this battle and plays with them on the floor with loud laughter.  That is the monument I came to see in Austin.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thoughts On Empty Roads

I took off from an unknown place in Orange County, at the East side of Texas.  You can spot right away the Texan accent of the waitresses and the cowboy hats covering gray heads and bellies that project a shadow over their feet.

Texas reminds you that there is no limit to growth in this country.  This extension of land is not covered by cities, pastures or forest. It must “belong” to somebody, buy it’s just unused by human or nature.

My appetite for exploration has been frustrated equally for the emptiness of the land and the repetition of chain franchises at the towns.  I drive in circles looking for a “mom and pop” breakfast place and always end up in a Waffle House or IHOP.

I was early to visit an old friend that lives in Austin, so I stopped in Huston. Turns out that an old coworker was still living there and we meet in a Chinese restaurant.  This guy has always been a humble worker who came to this country empty handed and made his place driving trucks and then buying them.  He is doing pretty well with six units, and he’s getting to the point where he needs to decide between growing the business or slow down.  Wisely he is inclined to the second.  Now I feel an authentic admiration for those who succeeded in the streets.  I’m just a soft hands thinker how spent a good amount of time with books in college.  I gave enough of my life to theory and talking, and now I’m devoted to the great school of doing.  So I have a lot to learn from "doers", like this friend from Huston.

Doers also tend to be humble.  That makes them prone to learn.  We, theoretical people, tend to think we know better.  That’s until the point where the knowledge itself let us realize how little we actually know.

Any certainty is arrogant, but it’s an arrogance needed to be able to focus.  Too many smart people do nothing because they exhaust the intellectual capital of the experience before trying the emotional part.

Goals are not just quantifiable milestones, they are also spontaneous explosions of intuition. And intuition has an emotional core.  Thinking too much in life is like trying to explain a joke: you get the data but lose the fun.

The idea of this trip is the stimulation of that emotional core that has been fossilized by years in office space.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Old New Orleans

New Orleans took me by surprise.  I was expecting a total devastation with modest signs of recovery.  The city is huge and the half that didn’t suffer the flooding in 2005 is up for business.  I arrived at noon under heavy rain and the scene was frighteningly beautiful.  I stopped in the middle of a neighborhood where half of the houses were abandoned and contemplated under lightning those skeletons of a way of life.  If I was a child I’d spend a big amount of time breaking into these mansions and recreating with my imagination the lives they contained.

When the rain ceased I had the opportunity to contemplate a joyful landscape.  The rows of humble wood houses with their hammock chairs in the porch looked fresh under the shadow of centenary trees that hug each other across the street.

It is a city to be walked, but the traffic was so low that I had no problem to park, even besides the St. Louis Cathedral in the center of French Quarter.

I never saw so many new cars in old garages.

What I like about the deterioration of New Orleans is that it’s authentic.  There are so many houses more than 100 years old where nobody famous ever lived that you have the chance to see the real thing and no just a tricky restoration.

I went to a po'boy shop in Magazine Street and First.  I love this old houses converted to restaurants.  You really have the chance to have a cup of coffee in the same room where somebody in the family dined, and look outside through the same window.  The cafes and bistros in narrow corridors between blocks reminded me Paris but under heat.

I want to age like New Orleans; deteriorating with elegance.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Joule's Orgy

Do we have to be complaining all the time about today?  Why do we always long for the “good old days”.  What good was that?  No air conditioning, no vaccines, no soap, no chance to solve a dispute without a sword and no roaring spacecraft taking off from the surface of the earth.  I see better times coming forward.  I see the world without nations.  If you really want to be nostalgic about something thirty years from now, make the most of the amount of energy we have today.

I was driving today from Tallahassee, Florida, to New Orleans, Louisiana, where I’m writing this.  When the night is falling, it’s impressive to see the contrast between the scary loneliness of the trees at the side of the road and the vivid ambition of ten consecutive illuminated banners.  How many hours of work are in all those miles and miles of pavement, perfectly demarcated and maintained in the middle of nowhere?  Outside my car, an unbearable and humid heat.  Inside,  cold air, drums in the bass, Joan Jett in the speakers, stats from a shine blue control panel and the soft swing of hydraulic compensation. 

This energy feast; this absolute orgy of Joules, is marking a peak, not for its growth but for its acceleration.  Never again we will be able to burn this amount of fossil fuel in private affairs, let alone putting a plane on the air for leisure.  

We are living a time that our descendants will see with stupefaction.  The last hundred years have been subsidized by the Mesozoic era.  This source is so rich that make us live with more comforts than a medieval king, even with the inefficiency of machines, the big chunk taken by corporations and the taxes kept by bureaucratic governments.

I have been passing small towns that certainly will disappear at the end of this energy dream.  It won’t be dramatic or apocalyptic as preached by panic worshipers; it will be slow and sad, just as the body decays from youth to older age.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Toast For New Experiences (with a mug of coffee).

I left Orlando today not wanting to stay too long in a city that I already have explored enough.

The growth of Kissimmee around the entertainment industry has been an extraordinary event to observe, but today I realize what was missing.  By selling experiences (the same one, over and over again), you prostitute the process since you can't include the emotional exchange in the ticket price.   Disney World was a dream for his creator and his early fans, establishing a real emotional engagement, but now that dream is canned, and the head of the family brings his kids just because he is supposed to, not because he is part of the adventure.

In the streets, the most miserable among vacationist is the standard family father.  I saw him driving around with this anguish expression in the face, while the spouse was bitching and the children were crying.

Is terrifying how nature catches us over and over again in the trap of paternity.

I see all those teens walking the halls of the beautifully illuminated Millenia Mall, texting vigorously to their current girlfriends and boyfriends, ready to be trapped by the machinery that procures reproduction and wraps dreams.

It's pointless to try to persuade anybody to break the cycle.  It seems easier to just jump to the other side of the window and be the one who sells the tickets.

The power of the experience has nothing to do with its cost but how well it serves the purpose of stimulating our mind.  To accomplish that the stimulus just has to be new. Small experiences are rich in novelty.

In all my years in Florida, I never stopped in one of those citric stores in the middle of nothing.  Today I did it and tried for the first time these boil peanuts they sell for five dollars.  Taste like beans and kill your hunger for the rest of the day. 

Talking about new experiences, I was driving through a town called Micanopy when a banner in the road caught my eye.  The shadow of a naked woman may not draw your attention because you think it's just another night club, but this one had the word "Cafe" on it.  Really? A full nudity Starbucks?  I had to see that.  Well, it was more like a full nudity Steak & Shake.  I actually walked in and asked for an ice cream. A gorgeous head to foot naked brunet recommended me the lime pie, and I couldn’t refuse.  She brought it with a mug of coffee while another waitress was dancing over the breakfast table. Another two guys were having burgers and fries The whole environment is very illuminated, not like a nightclub at all.  The staff is very young, talkative and beautiful.  The day was slow, so they were playing around with each other and ended up in a tickling fight on the floor of the restaurant.  I couldn’t stop smiling from the moment I got in until the moment I got out.

I love innovation in any industry.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Real Freedom

I did it.

I just walked into the office, handled my laptop and presented my resignation.

The salary was excellent, and the people had good intentions. I was in my own office with a privileged window that let the sunshine fall over an orchid I had over my desk.  As much as I hate common places, one fits the situation: It's not you, it's me.

My values have changed in a way that money can't buy, at least at the current exchange rate.  In my short stay in the United States, I have had one Fire Bird, two convertibles, three flat screens, laptops, iPads, smartphones, home theaters, play stations..., but it took me a while to realize that I don't need this pile of stuff.

I'm not going to preach against materialism, consumerism, and imperialism; I actually love them all when they are engaged with real ambition.  What I'm doing is banning myself from dispassionate activities.

I came back to my apartment, listed everything on eBay and told my landlord that I was moving outside Florida.  No destination, just direction.

That was the easy part. The hardest was to realize how psychologically tied I was to a routine.  My dreams had become a collection of speeches, and every of my actions was postponed by a plausible reason. I've been smart, safe, reasonable, responsible and completely disposable.

I sold my small convertible to a happy guy who wanted it just to socialize in his local Miata club (great perspective).  I bought myself an SUV, and even after the online yard sale, it would contain half of the things I still have left.  Where are all these objects coming from?  I tried to take off, and these things were like a heavy anchor holding me ashore. This is stuff in which I invested time and money, and now it has no market value, but keep slowing me down with its weight.  It managed to invert its status from property to proprietor.

This road trip that I started today is not about getting to know tourist attractions but getting to know my place.  I don't mean deciding on my next job or my next neighborhood.  What I really want is to find out how I was able to deceive myself into betraying my dreams.  This is not the search for "true", this is a quest for sources of lies.

I'm in a small hotel in Orlando right now. Tomorrow I'm crossing the state line and tossing a coin to decide between North and West.  I've never been so uncertain and happy at the same time.