Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta differences. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta differences. Mostrar todas las entradas

jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2016

Lemon slices

   She cut a slice of lemon and put it on the edge of the glass. One of the waitresses came in a second and grabbed it, taking the drink to its table. Working on a bar wasn’t the best paying job ever but no one ever get bored during a shift. Bronwyn had been working there for almost a year and she had already witnessed every single kind of thing you could see at a bar. From the beginning of a fistfight to a couple falling in love. She had seen first kisses and last dates. She had even been a shoulder to cry on for some people.

 It wasn’t like she had looking for that specific job or anything. The reality was that Bronwyn had not found a proper job in the two years after she had graduated college. She had a diploma that made her a professional engineer but she had never been able to work as one. Every single company she had sent her CV to, turned her down because she had no experience. But how could she gain any experience if no company would hire her? It was the eternal struggle and it got worse as time went on. She was desperate and there’s when her friend Alicia gave her the idea.

 Alicia had been dating a guy who owned a bar. The place was not very big but it had a very good location. As Bronwyn’s friend, Alicia offered her a job in her boyfriend’s club. She told her it would be nice for her to have at least one paying job in her information and that it would only be for a short period of time. Bronwyn wasn’t very convinced by that. She really wanted to find something that suited her better but Alicia reminded her of how much time she had spent looking for that. Besides, it would be fun for her to be a bartender.

 The first thing she had to do before taking the job was studying a little bit about the drinks that she would have to serve. Alicia gave her a copy of the menu of the bar and Bronwyn looked for the appropriate way to do those drinks. She practiced by watching videos online and failing once and again. She dropped several mixers to the ground before she could do the shaking moves the right way. The rest of the things she had to learn were quite easy and it was just about remembering the right ingredients and the amounts of alcohol she had to use.

 She practiced a lot because she wanted to be really good in her first job. If she was going to do it, Bronwyn had to feel she was doing the best thing she could do. The very first day she worked on the bar, she impressed everyone with her moves, despite being very nervous about something she hadn’t realized she had to do: talk to people. She had always being kind of shy but talking to half-drunks and people in almost darkness was much easier than doing it as if they were outside.

Her first day was an absolute success. Alicia came around late to watch her for a bit and then congratulated her on how much energy she put into doing the drinks. Bronwyn couldn’t really talk much because she was always focused on making the drinks properly and not missing one thing about them. She supposed that, in time, she would be able to do them without thinking that much. And it was true. After only a month in the bar she began to be more relaxed and even made friends with the other people in the bar and some of the clients.

 Besides, she found out people could give her tips and some of them were really good tippers. It was very clear for her where they came to, but it was pretty obvious that Alicia’s boyfriend had attracted the right crowd to the bar. They dressed with expensive clothes and paid for several drinks that large groups would consume. Some nights it was truly insane, seeing these rich youngsters drink and drink and their wallets never feeling a single thing from all of that craziness. For Alicia that was simply incredible, as were the tips she received.

  The place had two levels: the lower level was where the bar was located also had a lounge area and a small dancing floor. But the true dancing area and full club experience was upstairs. Lights there were even more scarce so all the waiters had to act as security officers also: they couldn’t allow any bottles or glasses upstairs, only in the tables and the bar in first floor. It was a difficult task for everyone and Bronwyn tried to help as much as she could by always being attentive of the stairs and the people going up to the second floor.

 There had been several times in which people tried to go there with their champagne or whisky bottles and one night in particular they found out why it was so dangerous for that to happen. A very drunk client grabbed his vodka bottle and hid it in his pants. The lights, or lack of them, helped him go unnoticed until he reached the stairs. Bronwyn thought he looked very strange, so she told a waiter to follow him and just see if he was hiding something under his clothes. The waiter did as she said but finding the guy wasn’t easy upstairs.

 It only became clear what he wanted to do once a girl screamed upstairs. Bronwyn almost dropped a bottle when she heard the noise. She ran upstairs automatically, as well as many other people. When they got to the second level, they realized the drunken man had broken the bottle and was threatening a woman with it. The waiter that had gone behind him was trying to convince him to lower the bottle but the he launched himself at the waiter, trying to cut him. Someone, a big guy, grabbed the drunkard before he could do any harm and put him on a lock.

 The bottle fell to the floor and the big guy took the man downstairs. The lights were put on and everyone was asked to leave the scene of the aggression, except for the workers, the drunkard and the girl he had threatened with the bottle. They all waited for the police, who arrived shortly and took the man away. The girl then explained to the officers that she was his ex-girlfriend. She could only guess that he had followed her into the club and had been waiting to do something all night. She was trembling a little bit as she told her story.

 After that, the big guy revealed his identity: it was Victor, Alicia’s boyfriend and owner of the club. He had been there just by chance and had been able to intervene. However, he wasn’t in a very good mood. He told everyone it was a shame that they hadn’t realized he was going up there with a bottle. He told them that they should be much more perceptive about who went up the dance floor. He told everyone he was very disappointed in them. After saying all that, he just left, leaving everyone to clean everything before leaving.

 Bronwyn thought she was out for sure. After all, she had left her post only to see what had happened upstairs. People could have stolen drinks or even money. She was certain that Victor would call her to tell her she was fired or not even that, maybe someone else would tell her. The next day of work, she was really nervous about that but no one ever came in to say anything. Furthermore, every single person that had been working in the club was still there and some of the also thought that they were going to be fired on the spot.

 Apparently, Victor was a much kinder guy that he looked like. That was a good thing for all of them because it wasn’t only Bronwyn that needed the job but every single one of them. From then on, they assigned a waiter to the stairs area to check on people and eventually Victor hired a security guy to do that job. The tips eventually got even better and Bronwyn realized that working as a bartender was not bad at all. She earned good money, she was good at it and she would make friends every night. The conversations she heard sometimes made her laugh, and some other times almost cry.

It was such an experience to be there with all those people, hearing their problems and the reasons they were happy about. It was funny to see the groups of friends dancing all together and it was also great to see love flourishing between two people, whoever they were, or seeing friendship be so active in men and women. Eventually, she stopped working there when a company finally decided she was good enough for them. But Bronwyn never forget the lemon slices she cut and the drinks she served at that club.

martes, 9 de agosto de 2016

The ninja (Part 2)

  The ninja covered his face again, being able to stand up after being smashed against the ground. Kevin was still in shock, almost paralyzed, very close to were he had stood when that familiar face had looked at him with the eye that had gazed upon his so many times in the past. The ninja did not stay to chat; he was agile enough to open the wind and exit through there. How did he not fall to his death? Kevin had no idea. To be honest, he wasn’t even thinking of that.

 That night, he wasn’t able to sleep. He decided to go to work early and check on the records again for the incident that had taken the life of his husband almost two years ago. As he drove to work in the middle of the night, he remembered that day clearly. They had been fighting a lot, the reason been that Paul wanted to have more missions on his own. He didn’t want to be paired up with his husband every single time. Kevin took this the wrong way.

 For a week, the tension in their home had been very high. They would only spoke to each other if they had to, avoiding each other completely at work. However, they were assigned to the same mission once again and Paul wasn’t up to complaining about it with his superiors. He knew it wasn’t a good way to try to start his own thing as an agent so, in order to win everybody’s trust as a capable guy, he accepted the mission without asking any questions.

 It was a very straightforward mission: they had to infiltrate a very secure compound where a very wealthy businessman kept his private documents. In them, he supposedly had proof of the existence of several chemical and biological weapons that had been sold illegally to countries that wouldn’t know how to manage any of that. Their mission was only to copy the documents and come out as soon as possible.

 Entering the compound was very simple. The three agents they had sent were able to step in undetected, all very well trained in martial arts and everything needed in order not to make noise or activate any of the alarms of the place. They were able to reach the library, where the documents were being kept. It was Paul who took the pictures of what they needed and finished just when Kevin stepped in the wrong direction and activated an alarm.

 They had to knockout several of the businessman’s thugs, which was easy at the beginning. But on their way out, one of them was able to take hold of Paul and Kevin was sure he had heard the snapping of his neck and his body falling to the ground. He was sure he had seen his body hit the ground just as his body went numb and the other agent had to help him run faster.

 The information was lost that day. However, they were able to retrieve all of it months later, in a raid the special forces of the state had been authorized to do in the compound. Of course, they had no opposition of any kind. They didn’t find any bodies on the premises or recently dug areas. Even like that, it was very unlikely that Paul had survived that. The guy that grabbed him was taller and bigger in every sense, his hands being larger than Paul’s face. He had to be dead, that’s what Kevin had to convince himself to believe

 There was a funeral for Paul and everyone in the agency attended. Kevin got to meet his parents, which he had never met before. He didn’t get close to share his grief, instead looking from afar and realizing that, despite having gotten married in secret, they still didn’t know a lo about each other. The fact that he had no idea what Paul’s mom looked like before the funeral made him feel awful.

 And that was two years ago. As he drove into the office building, he realized he had no idea what route he had chose to get there. He had barely paid attention to the road and he felt bad for that for a second, before returning to those days once again, before Paul disappeared and they were happy, back when they had decided that they wanted to live together forever and ever.

 It had been a very easy thing to decide. They had been dating for a little more than a year after the relationship had started in the strangest of ways: not four months before commencing their love story, Kevin had finished another one with a former girlfriend with which he had been engaged to be married. He decided to call off the wedding when he realized he couldn’t deny that he felt different inside and needed to process that. Beside, work had been hard, as usual.

 Paul had been working with them for a while, not too long. He barely knew him well and the truth was they didn’t really like each other. Paul saw Kevin as the typical guy that thinks he’s better than everyone else at anything, form his physical appearance to anything he could do with his body and his mind. And Kevin thought Paul was a very smug guy, never really accepting his mistakes or accepting his obvious flaws.

 It was on a mission that took several months to complete, where Paul had saved Kevin from a bomb, practically using himself as a shield in order to protect his partner. From then on, they gained a certain respect for each other that enabled them to form a relationship that grew to be a very stable friendship. But even then, they felt something was off with all of it.

 At the same time, Kevin began his problems with his girlfriend. They got worse as the date of their wedding got near and, after another intense mission where he and Paul single handedly completed the task at hand; he realized she was not what he wanted from life. So he cancelled the engagement and tried to think about everything for a while. Just two weeks after that, he kissed Paul for the first time. And another two weeks after, they had sex. It was then when Kevin realized that he had been very close to making a very big mistake.

 The guard at the office building recognized him and he was able to enter without any problem. Outside, the first glimmer of the new day could be seen very far into the horizon. As he sat in his office, he looked for the files of their last mission and checked every single paper the Special Forces had submitted about their mission there, when the whole place had been swept.

He couldn’t understand what was missing, what had happened. Paul was dead; he had heard his neck snap. He was sure of it. He had been convincing himself of that for years. But now he was alive. Even with that scar on his face and those wild eyes,  it was still him beneath that ninja outfit. He looked in the computer again and discovered that a similar ninja vigilante had been reported before, in a couple of missions by the agency. It seemed he was very skilled and worked both against and with them.

 It was difficult for Kevin not to think about the guy with whom he had slept so many times, kissed so often and felt so close during so many nights. During their life together, they had slept in the nude and Kevin had learned to love to wake up and feel Paul just by his side. He would often hug him tight and kissed him softly. It was difficult to understand why and how he loved him so much but he did. Maybe that’s why it was so hard to see him alive.

 A stack of papers fell from a nearby table. Kevin woke up from his daydreaming and looked in all directions. The papers had been stable moments before and there was no window opened. He got near it in order to check out the exterior but they were too high above the ground. He knew it was stupid to be worried. He decided to grab something to drink from a machine, unaware that the picture he kept there of the two of them had been taken away.

 In the rooftop, Paul removed the cover over his face, revealing his very pale skin and the scar across the side. He looked at the picture, without any particular expression. He seemed to be on the edge of tears for a moment but then he threw the picture from the rooftop and put on his face cover again. The shadow of a soul that had been visible for a moment, was not there anymore.

sábado, 9 de julio de 2016

Juno V

   Collecting ice from the rings was very dangerous but also one of the many things they had set up to do on the mission. The Juno V crew knew their responsibilities by heart and every one of them knew everything about their ship and their list of duties. They also knew how to fix the microwave if it broke or how to properly grow food in the small compartments where doctor Wood worked all day every day. Not that anyone thought he would leave or something, but rather he had told him how to do it.

 He was a botanist, one of the best, and had accepted to be on the mission because he wanted to test many of his theories and what better way than in a mission to Jupiter and its moon. It was the perfect place to make tests and try to execute every single one of his theories in order to know if they were accurate. His results would prove essential for the advancement of botanical technology on Earth and in other space missions.

 Wood had tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and apples growing on his small farm. Well, it wasn’t really a farm because of the dimensions of the laboratory and of the food but he enjoyed calling it that, it made it seem less advanced, more grounded. After a few months, he was able to feed the other five people of the ship with his vegetables and they enjoyed their salad thoroughly. It was much better than eating one of those dehydrated meals they had in stock. No one complained about sizes or portions because they understood the difficulty of the whole thing.

 One of the astronauts that spend a lot of time with Wood was Brooke Stone. Ms. Stone was in charge of the telescope and everything related to the observation of the bodies they were studying such as Jupiter, Europa, Ganymede and Io. She love to spend her day taking pictures of them, trying to not only make them functional for work but also a bit artistic as she thought science lack a little bit of that sensitivity only real artists had.

 When she was younger, Brooke wanted to be a painter or a sculptor. But her parents did not encourage that at all. They were very accomplished scientists and believed the only art that made any sense was music and even if Brooke wanted to be a musician, they would have thought it would’ve been a waste of her time and their money. So throughout her childhood, she was convinced to become a scientist like them.

 She didn’t resent them or anything like that. If anything, she was pleased to be there, taking pictures of the chaotic weather of the gas giant, a very long distance away from her parents. They had a very tense relationship and she realized it worked best when they were separated instead of being in the same room. She loved her moments alone, which she used to draw, sometimes copying the picture she took.

 The adventurous one, the guy who took a step forward to pick up the ice shards with a robot, was called Alexei Ibaraki. His mother was Japanese so he had these different features that made every single person turn around to look at him. Not only was he very daring but he was also very attractive and interesting. He was one of those guys that always has a story to tell or that has that ability of making anything they say into something extremely interesting, even if it really isn’t.

 Alexei was also a model, besides an astronaut, and was used frequently in campaigns done in order to encourage children to study the sciences and getting interested into it. After being sent to Mars on a routine flight however, he became also the poster boy of several brands that wanted him as an imaged. His face was connected to beer, butter, insurances, banks, toothpaste and even condoms.

 The truth was he enjoyed that work but he loved to be in space doing work that was more important than selling beer to people that were already going to buy it. As he operated the hand of the robot that collected the ice from Jupiter’s rings, he realized that’s what he wanted to be doing his whole life. He wanted his actions to be remembered instead of his face. Alexei was tired that people only looked at him for his beauty and not his brain and wit.

 Carmen Nyongo, the medical chief of the ship, was very aware of the crew’s problems. She was not only a certified physician but also a psychologist that loved to spend at least thirty minutes which each of them every two days to check on their mental health. This was determined by the agency as something very important as they were going to be very far from home in a place where no one else had been before. They needed some support and Ms. Nyongo was an obvious choice.

 She had worked for years in military hospitals were she proved to be simply the kindest person ever to come in contact with all the soldiers and astronauts that needed her help. She loved to listen, since she was a very young woman. She liked telling her friends what she thought of the world but she much rather listened to them and their dreams and what they had inside their heads.

 Carmen thought people were extremely interesting and that’s why, after medical school, she got a masters degree in psychology. She thought it was essential to get to know about mental health in order to prevent and help people with their physical problems. She was not your average doctor but she had proven, once and again, that her methods made a lot of sense, to her and her patients.

The most frequent one, of course, was the captain. Her name was Katherine and she had been born in the Australian outback. Her parents still owned a big ranch there, where they had some of the best cattle in the country. With all the money they had won with that, they had built up a very good life for themselves and their two children. They rarely went to the ranch anymore, but it had been that place that made them who they were now.

 They lived in beautiful homes and went to the best school. When Katherine said she wanted to be an astronaut, her family didn’t say a word for or against it. They just supported her with money for every single expense she had to make to turn her dream into a reality. So she studied abroad and came back only on the holidays. From then on, the relationship with her parents was kind of broken, not really deep.

 They were not very sensitive people, any of them, but she would have loved more kisses and hugs in her life. She would have wanted to feel some kind of interest from them, but the only thing they did was giving her money and talking to her about it all the time. And when they weren’t they were busy. So when Katherine met Carmen, it was just a natural thing to become a very frequent patient of hers, even before the mission started. She just wanted to come to terms with the fact that she wanted recognition and she was never going to get it, not from her parents at least.

 The last crewmember, the one who made everything work properly, was Alejandro Obregón. Different from his captain, Alejandro had a very difficult life and had to raise himself to the place he enjoyed today. He was the happy father of a very intelligent young daughter. He loved his wife, whom he had met in a fast food restaurant after training in the astronaut academy. She was studying in a nearby university and they hit it off right away.

 They both had a very strong personality, the kind that made them being a little overdramatic but always effective in public. They didn’t mind being looked in the street as if they were crazy. They didn’t mind anything else than their love for each other. They also had in common that they supported a lot of good causes, maybe because they had received so little over their lives.

 Alejandro would always go to marathons supporting any type of disease, would march in the pride parade and would protests in front of police stations or administrative building. He was all about causes and its effects on people’s lives. He really believed everything could be better for everyone. And that’s why he had become an astronaut: he thought that a future where everyone was equal had to involve that final frontier and he was going to be one of those who brought it closer to every other person on Earth.

lunes, 7 de septiembre de 2015

Not unique

   It’s amazing how sometimes you can torture yourself with so many stupid little things. I guess we want life to be so controlled, so perfect and calm that anything that poses a challenge or a sudden change makes us nervous. I personally don’t like people who say, “I like challenges” because no human with a proper brain would like to be proven wrong. What people that say that phrase mean is that they are not afraid of confronting themselves, but that doesn’t mean they are going to conquer their fears, it only mean they are going to face them. Fear is something very relative, almost having a world of its own. When you say you’re scared at night in a dark street, it is not the same fear that I experience when looking at a spider, even if it is on a TV screen.

 Anyway, we tend to make everything so big, so scary just to tell ourselves we can overcome it. Problems and dilemmas are now, at least in appearance, more stupid than ever before. I mean, people think it’s a problem to have fat on their bodies or to dress one way to a formal event and not the other way. These are dumb examples but they are the truth. People now have put their challenges at the same height of their apparent skills of when solving problems and facing life. They are so afraid of anything than even putting on a skirt or jeans is a life threatening decision. The idea behind this is that people face smaller problems, challenges, than they would usually do, avoiding the larger ones almost always. But when life comes and surprises them, they turn it into a drama only they can understand.

 Now that’s stupid. We are humans, a species that is quite abundant in the world, so thinking only one of us has experienced something that others haven’t, and it borders madness. We have a really big problem realizing that we are not unique; we are not as special as we have led ourselves to believe. The truth is, and always will be, that we are animals and, as such, our lives and pretty similar, no one really standing out. What makes humans stand out is the society and the rules we have built ourselves. It is not through nature that someone takes power over others or experiences a life of riches and others experience poverty. It is through the human condition, which can always change, at any time.

 Let’s say someone is born into a rich family. We would think that said person has been a very lucky one as money guarantees many things in life that, in any other way, you wouldn’t get. It wasn’t nature that gave that person’s parents’ money, it was the society they live in. And that same society can turn the tables on that family and make them poor, make them starve an d know what it is to have nothing on your stomach for four days in a row. It isn’t nature that took it all away from them, it was Man. In nature we are nothing too special but in society we can be the best or the worst, depending on how we play the game.

 Now, what does this have to do with those things that torture us everyday? Well, society made those too. They made us be aware of things we do not really need to be aware with. Like the economy, some other things are meaningless in a real way. We have created them as humans, and they can be easily replaced at any time. That’s what has happened with the technological revolution, where one device is replaced by the next with the simplest of decisions. And, by the way, those decisions are never taken by only one man or one woman. They are taken by a group, no matter the size, and that’s what changes things. That’s why there are no more beepers and only smartphones, that’s why we want to control every person’s move and thought these days.

 The things that torture us have often much to do with those things we still can control. It’s funny but even if we think we have no control over something, we always do if it has been created by mankind. We cannot cure cancer and we cannot make a storm at will but we can make human things go our way. How do you think some people rob banks or create them? It doesn’t matter which one is it because the trick is that we can do whatever we want with it only because it has been created by us. We can always change things that we have done; it is only what happens beyond humanity that simply cannot touch.

 That said, we have done many great things, we have advanced in our evolution and have even forced a bit forward. That’s the most significant relation on how we have affected nature but we still cannot control that evolution. If we could, we would already have people living in other planets and on the bottom of the ocean. But we haven’t because we are still severely limited by nothing other than ourselves. The only way we can achieve these things it’s by reorganizing the world we have and creating new technology based on us. Because that’s what we have been doing for some time and what we will keep doing for a long while. Of course, not all of us are going to participate because evolution doesn’t need all of us but it does need a group.

 The realization that we are left behind is a great worry among humanity. It is practically the same than knowing you are alone, although you’re not ever really alone. We just feel that way precisely because we have been led to believe we are special, when we are not. It is true that our intelligence and ability to solve problems is quite remarkable but it is quite impossible for it to be unique. If other intelligent life exists in our cosmos, we wouldn’t be special at all and we are not now because it isn’t something of a single specimen but of a whole species. The fact that we are so many, makes us less special.

 But our numbers make us prone to surviving, even if we don’t really have that in us. Because not many people have real survival skills but the fact that we are so many, like ants, makes us difficult to eradicate unless a proper way to destroy us was invented. And it has, by us. There are artificial diseases and weapons that could destroy every single human on the planet and it would only take a few seconds. It would only involve the decision of one person, not even a group, to do that. And the fact that humanity has given power to one above others is simply ridiculous. That proves that we are not as smart as we think we are because we have basically told some people they can annihilate us whenever they want, they have our permission.

 It’s all because we live in a world of fear. We are not really free or will ever be because we tie ourselves down with the same ropes that some groups give us. Self-confidence, fear, angst, sadness… So many more that we use against each other, only to makes us feel a little less us and a bit more unique. What do you think a person who kills her or himself in the gym is looking for? They are not there to improve their health, no matter what anyone says. They are trying to achieve a physical state where they can be above the rest, be a little less them and a little bit someone better. That’s what has made this “physical” revolution a success: we hate ourselves and the fact that we are so, for lack of a better word, normal.

 I’m not saying that people that go to the gym hate themselves but most actually do. And not only them but all of us but every single person that had forced change into their lives because they feel they will never stand out if they keep behaving like the simple and boring organisms that they are. We try so hard to make everyone feel so unique and special, that it is a great pain when we realize that no matter what we do, we will never be really unique. We can put everything on us, we can take things away, but we are always the same people, no matter how many costumes we put on. Our personality is different, from person to person, but it is not unique either, just particular.

 And that should be enough from us. Why singling us out to the world when we know we all have the capacity to do exactly the same things? We can all be singers and actors and engineers because we all have the capacity to be each one of those things and many more. What we decide in life, however, it is matter of the current conditions we live with and our personal convictions and tastes, that are also no special but at least they differ a bit from person to person because, as we all know, we are all made from the same stuff but we are not copies of one another. We are very similar and not identical and that should be enough for us to stop tormenting us by everything and start living for real.