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

lunes, 12 de junio de 2017


Rain falls. That's what it does. But it doesn't do it always in the same way. Sometimes, rain feels almost extraterrestrial, as it fell not from the sky, but from some awful place, far in space. Other times, you would think it comes from a land made of candy, created for children or for people that love a nice piece of heaven in their mouths. Wherever it comes from, rain is one of those things that makes us feel truly alive, specially when it rolls down our faces and bodies.
Rain is water but it can also burn when the body it touches is not pure, full of guilt and all those pathetic human feelings that fester inside brain and heart. Water cannot wash way all of our evil. It's not acid, even when it feels like it. Some cannot feel all of its properties. There are people that could swim for hours and never feel clean, not truly. Hot or cold, the liquid is not enough to wash away everything that is wrong with the human soul, and humankind in general. People won't be saved.
Rain won't do It and nothing else will. On other worlds, it rains gasoline and diamonds. So we all have that in common: things will Jeep falling on our heads, no matter what we think about the universe. The brain might have an understanding of how mostly everything works but when we're all dead, that won't matter. Water will still be water and gasoline will keep falling from the sky unto someone else's head. And it won't matter if we were here, if we attempted to understand this place or not.
Rain won't care. Nothing will. Because we don't want to understand that se are all here for a little while. We were given some seconds on the clock of existence and that time will run out. No matter how much we try, we won't be here forever and our existence will leave no trace. No wonder or creation made by our hands will remain to tell our story. This scares us more than we want to admit, but that's how it works, no Gods in question. One moment we are here, the next we're not.
Rain, however, will stay. Until the very end.

viernes, 8 de mayo de 2015

Local politics

  As Marina walked to her polling station, she repeated in her head the names of all the candidates or, at least, the names of the ones she knew about. This time there were so many names. She liked it more when it was between three or four people. But this time there were almost ten and that just seemed too much for a race for a mayoral post.

 Nevertheless, it was the most important mayoral post in the country. Some people even called it the second most important political figure in the country after the president. And that wasn’t surprising when you realized how really useless was a job like the one of the vice-president. Marina thought that office should disappear and pass their responsibilities to other hands. Most people in the country didn’t know who their vice-president once, except maybe this time around because it was well known he was going after the presidential seat in a few years time.

 But anyway, today was about the city. Marina had been born thee in a middle class neighborhood and had grown up there. She had never moved, except after college when she decided to leave the country to learn another language but that was it. She could say she knew every street, every corner of her neighborhood and also the whole city to be honest. After all, as a  girl who had worked as a delivery person in a pizza place, she had to know addresses and a good chunk of the city.

 Her district had grown through the years. When it first appeared on maps, some seventy years ago, the neighborhood was on the edge of the city and was home of the wealthy. Their house, beautifully constructed Victorian buildings still stood on every street of the district but wealthy people had long been gone. Many of them now lived in country houses or large apartments overlooking the city from the hills, which were the tallest geographical feature. Now her district was middle class and very diverse.

 Marina had seen change before her eyes, because her neighborhood had also attracted, over the years, a very diverse group of people. From people from other regions that had come to the capital for a better life to artists and intellectuals who made the Victorian houses their homes or cultural centers for the whole city. Many of them had been converted to dancing schools, acting schools, music conservatories and other uses. And maybe because of this, it was becoming rare to see big families leaving in the neighborhood. Instead there were a lot of “new” families coming such as homosexual couples and many singles and students.

 When she got to the polling station, Marina was already sure of her choice. It wasn’t difficult after all because there was only one person that would seek to preserve the past but also embrace the present, exactly what her district was all about and what she honestly loved about her neighborhood. Marina voted for a woman, one of only two women there, because she was the one most vocal to embrace the “new” city instead of going back to the old, ragged politics.

 In another part of town, more exactly near the hills that watched over the shallow valley were the city sat, Albert was stepping out of his polling station. He didn’t really put much thought about his vote as he had decided many months ago, since the candidates had become public.

 Albert was almost fifty years old, had a lovely wife, two kids and worked in the city’s stock market. It was a difficult job but one he loved because he had always been fond of numbers and, to be honest, of money. He made a lot of money in that job, more than he could have ever imagined and with his savings he had bought a large apartment, two cars and a flat by the beach, which they visited at least once a year.

 The truth was that, different than Marina, Albert wasn’t really in loved with this city. Yes, he had been born there but from a young age he had travelled around the world because of his father’s work and had learned how much better it could be for everyone. People in other countries could be financially better and be able to live an “easier” life. In this country, the differences between the rich and the poor were abysmal but the rich were not that rich to begin with.

 Besides all this, he was tired of the mayor’s policies to forbid him to use his cars as he wanted, the taxes went up every year so he could help pay what the poor spent in water and power and he thought that the city was mixing too much for his taste. As an example, in his neighborhood many people that used to live in other parts of the city had begun arriving recently. Some were foreigners hired by multinationals but some others were just people that made his district look bad.

 At work and around his family members, he would always try to convince them to vote like he did. He told them that the mayor had to be someone that worked the same way the government worked in the good years for the economy so the city could grow to make a better life for all of its inhabitants. As a proof of sorts of what he said about the current mayor, he told everyone he could hold on to for more than five minutes that he was thinking of moving to the countryside, to another jurisdiction, because he thought smaller towns knew exactly what to offer to people like him.

 So after he voted, he took his wife voting too and after that left the city to their beach flat where they would check the results o f the voting.

 Another person that was leaving the city was Juan. Juan had arrived to the city some two years ago, when looking for a university where he could study to become a designer. He worked very hard in his classes and always tried to innovate and be the one the teachers looked at. After all, his family had gone through great challenges in order to send him to another city to live and study. At the same time that Albert, Juan was leaving the city to visit his family back in his hometown after going to vote early.

 He preferred to do it really early so the voting station would be almost empty. It was well known that in the capital very few people voted earlier than midday and besides he had to be at the airport so he didn’t have much choice either. And talking about choices, his was a really difficult one. He had arrived to the city fairly recently but was able to vote because he had registered his ID in a polling station near his knew home.

 Juan lived a few blocks away from Marina but was only learning about the diversity in the district. He had grown in another kind of town, where people were less open and much more predictable in their voting ways. His parents had always voted for exactly the same party since they could remember but he didn’t want to be like that. He wanted to be the one of the few people that voted after thoroughly reading every single one of the proposals of every candidate.

 Some of them promised better transport, others better health other more security and so on. They seemed to be agreeing on several things but the truth was, when reading between the lines, that the same things meant different ways to get there for each candidate. One of them thought better transport was just having more buses and another thought it was all about the subway. Some declared security depended on education; other announced they would increase the number of cops in every part of the city. Two offered more hospitals, others more housing for the poor and one of them, funny enough, offered to reform the whole administrative division of the city to make it more realistic.

 It was a hard decision to make for Juan as this one was the first time he voted in the city and he planned to stay there long after he finished his studies. After all, this city offered more work opportunities and a lifestyle with more options than any other towns in the country. Yeah, of course everything was globalized now and things where changing even in the most traditional towns, but he felt that this city had a potential, had the capacity to be so much more than it was and he wanted to be a participant in that new era for the city.

 So when he went to cast his vote that morning, he decided to vote for the one candidate that had convinced him in most issues. He knew the man wasn’t going to win, if the polls were right, but he felt at ease thinking he had spoken his mind and had made the right choice, staying true to what he thought the city should be all about.

miércoles, 22 de abril de 2015

The concept of friendship

   Many people say that their friends are actually family as they have known them for as long as they’ve known heir parents or siblings, and have spent the same amount of time with each one. Some friends meet first in a park, when they’re babies, or because their families are acquainted. That is known to happen although it’s not the norm. Many people meet their friends later in life, when they reach the age to go into school. That place is the most common one to make first friends and to make alliances that would mark a person’s life, for good or bad.

 In my case, and like many people, I also made friends in several playgrounds and places of conglomeration. Kids have that innate ability to communicate with others, without all the contamination that we have as adults. They don’t see beyond a face and they make friends for life in a matter of seconds. Even if they only see each other once, for a couple of hours, they label the other kids friends. Why wouldn’t they? They understand that people who share a taste for something or a passion are friends and, actually, that’s what the base consists of.

 But as adults, we do not make friends that easily because we know a lot more about people and because we are more worried about been safe that about meeting new people. It’s not something bad. Some adults don’t have that protective sensibility and that’s when attacks happen, whatever they’re reasoning or lack of reasoning is. As adults, we don’t really make new friends. We meet people and bond but it is very unlikely that we connect as easily as we would if we were kids. Because we know people and we know what they can do.

 Nevertheless, we meet people and often share a connection. But friendship built on adulthood is much more sensible to changes and it isn’t likely it lasts very long. Why? Maybe because you’re not really evolving anymore. You are the same person day after day, year after year. Many people start being friends because they share a growth process and they need someone to share that journey with. But when you’re an adult, that journey is much more slower, less satisfying and not very thrilling to see, only to live.

 Although, the real key is to know on what you have based your friendship. Is it built on shared experiences, shared tastes, a likening for the same kind of people, a feeling of loneliness, a need to speak to someone, …? What is it that makes you someone friend? Many people think it’s because you share opinions but that isn’t always the case. It is impossible that two people agree on every single thing. Maybe on key subjects. Maybe that’s where friendship lies: in connecting in a couple of things you consider to be most important in your life. If you find someone who sees life the same way you do, on those two subjects, maybe that person would make a great friend.

I, for one, count myself in the group of people that don’t really have a lot of friends. How many friends do you think it’s “normal” to have? Some would say ten, some others twenty, some even might say only one good friend is enough. But, as most of things in life, that all depends on the person you are talking to. After all, we are not all alike and we all have different lives that make us different people. Besides, it takes a lot more than a couple of shared opinions to be someone’s friend.

 Let’s take my high school as an example. I went to a school were parents with an above average income would send their kids, so they were many connections on that level. Many people’s parents were friends so naturally their children were friends too.  Then, there were some people with average or below average income that had been able to pay for a good school for their children. Those kids were, strangely, not always on with the other. Those were the ones that felt the need to blend in so they tried to have a wider range of types of friends. In fewer words, they played it safe.

 Was there any bullying? Sure. It would be a very uncommon school if that hadn’t happened. It was always about the ones that came up as unusual: the very nerdy guy, the very nerdy girl, an effeminate kid, the new kid,… They are many types of people in a school and it’s normally very easy to put every person on a box, even if that’s not the best idea. But that is what the kids do. Girls, from a young age, know that it’s far better if they have an athlete as a boyfriend than the nerdy guy. Unless that nerdy guy happens to also be an athlete but that rarely happens.

 And men also know which girls they should date: the physically prettier ones because they need each other as prizes. If the rest of the people know that they are dating someone especially “hot”, then the other will know who is more important. Of course, we are talking about young people’s dynamics. They are many times vicious and calculating and they have learned all that from their parents and media. No one can wash hands when we see a terrible teenager in a mall or small brat in the park. It is a shared blame but blame all the same.

 I was the new guy. I was the new guy for about two or three years. They saw me as an outsider because, although it was common for new people to arrive, they preferred the ones that were outgoing and had something to bring to the table. I didn’t. So I was an outcast for many years in school until I made some friends. But we didn’t have a strong connection, like common goals or tastes. We only had one another and that was enough to be friends.

 The years went on and I made some more similar friends and realized the concepts had slowly shifted. It wasn’t like when we were fourteen. At seventeen, girls want to date the bad boys and guys want girls that have been around the block. That is the truth and the biggest truth about it all is that it’s all a lie. Must people, and this is a proven fact, have not have sex until after they leave school. So it is statistically impossible that every single person with whom I graduated, had lost their virginity. But anyway, people claimed they have had sex because that was the next big thing.

 Kissing, having sex, alcohol, drugs… You name it. I doubt that it was only happening in my school. All kids have that rush, a need for what has been forbidden for many years. And they love it or at least fake they love it because at that age what you do most is faking and lying. Whether it is to your teachers or your parents or your so-called friends, doesn’t matter. You just do because you learn lies can take you where you think you want to be.

 I didn’t really lied back then. I didn’t have anything to lie about. Alcohol was fine but I was not interested. My sex life was better that many other’s in the school, which is something that does not make me proud but I find funny. But there was no love, no childish romance. I never experiences that. I never knew how it was to feel that stupid feeling of accomplishment when you haven’t really done anything. And, obviously, I will never know.

 In college I had the best time of my life, no doubt about that. I started learning about what I loved and met people with whom I made deep connections. I understood how it is you build a real friendship, balancing those similarities and the opposing opinions. That’s when I became and adult. I did it when I realized how society works and I refused to play by the same rules because I had learned them and wasn’t going to play that game of hypocrisy and lies.

 My rule in school was to make time pass and not to attract any attention to myself. And I think I did a tremendous job at it. But in college, when I realized who I was and why I was that, I started not giving a shit about what people said or thought. I think many saw me naked, not on campus of course. I attracted attention to myself a couple of times and did not care. I felt free and all because I was happy. I had never felt so fulfilled in my life.

 Nowadays, that freedom is blurry. I have no job, no prospects; the future is bleak at best. But I keep the friendships built on solid ground and all that I learned while growing up. The friends that I made on sandy ground are not there anymore. To be honest, I don’t know if they are really friends at all. I like them and would never say anything bad at them but it’s the truth when I say we needed each other back then but now what made us be together doesn’t exist anymore. We have no reason to be together as no real lasting connections were ever made.

 Friends, in any case, are important. We need that connection with others because it’s the only way we built ourselves up and realize our potential and how we can make this world one worth living in.

jueves, 19 de febrero de 2015

For the children

    Jenna considered herself the best mom of all of her neighborhood. As a matter of fact, her children had given her various “awards” throughout the years with the labels “best mom”, “greatest mommy” and others. She had left her career in real estate to say at home and take care of her children but when her Andy reached the age of five, she decided it was time to go back to work, at least part time.

 Her boss asked her repeatedly if she was certain about it and she always said she was very sure of it. Every morning, she would take her two children Andy and Veronica (who was three years old) to the daycare center. Then, she would work until the clock hit two o’clock. She would pick up her children at that time and would normally take them for food shortly afterwards.

 The meal of choice was always fast food. It did not matter if it was hamburgers, chicken nuggets, chili fries, subs or, sometimes, ice cream. Her mother thought she spoiled them too much but she did not think so. To be honest, she took them to those places for them to be happy, as every time she picked them up, they would be rather sad. She had no idea why and didn’t have time to wonder why.

 Jenna’s husband worked in a multinational company, selling various electronic devices to retailers all around the world. This meant he was rarely at home and almost had no chance to spend time with his wife. To be honest, Jenna had not had any sex with her husband since she had been pregnant with Veronica. That was a long time to spend without a kiss or a caress. But she was no saint…

 Sometimes she would be late to pick up her children, for reasons no one but her knew. Jenna would always compensate her absentmindedness by buying candy and more food and toys to her children. And they seemed to like it so there was no real harm in it. Besides being late, she would sometimes scream and them. She would never hit them or anything but she had to let out some steam somehow, especially when her husband called her to say he would be staying two more weeks in some country she didn’t even knew.

 That was Jenna’s life: she did what she thought was right, trying desperately to mend a life that had turned against her, or so she felt. One day she cried especially hard because she realized something that hurt her and no, it wasn’t that her husband was cheating. That she had known for many years and was the main reason she refused to be touched by him. What she realized was that she didn’t like her children. They made her feel trapped in a life that wasn’t he one she had thought for herself all those years ago, when she was and felt young.

 However, in her office, she worked with a man called Vincent. He was a very clean man, very thorough with every assignment he did. He didn’t like Jenna very much. To be honest, he didn’t really like anyone in the office. It wasn’t that he didn’t like people; he just didn’t like them. He had many friends out of work and enjoyed spending time with them although some conversations with them proved to be difficult. With time they got easier but there was always some kind of “awkward factor”.

 When he was younger, Vincent had to be sent to psychologist because his behavior was “strange”, according to his father. According to him, his son had never been with a woman and he was already twenty-two years old. He even went on to say that if he were gay, it would have happened earlier but nothing. Vincent and the doctor had many sessions until he realized he was asexual, which meant he didn’t feel any sexual desire for any gender.

 This revelation was obviously hard on his parents but was even harder to accept by Vincent. He knew it beforehand but the appearance of a word that describe who he was, made him think a lot of other things: would he ever have a family, for example? Was love always linked to sexual desire? The doctor had said he could have meaningful romantic relationships with whomever he wanted but now that seemed just a nice phrase to make him feel better.

 By the time he had gotten the job in the real estate office, he had realized that the doctor had been right. A year into his arrival at the job he had met a very nice woman called Rita. She was beautiful and brave and funny. She was simply everything he loved about people but summed up in a single person. They would spend many nights together, talking about various subjects that interested both of them. Their first kiss was difficult but he was able to overcome it.

 She knew about him being asexual and assured him she was fine with it. But after marrying and living together, they both felt they lacked something and that was a child. They couldn’t have him naturally for obvious reasons and when doing tests to make an “in vitro” fertilization, doctors informed Rita she was infertile. That came as a big blow to them, feeling unlucky and sad.

 They finally decided to adopt and discovered how difficult it could be. The agency they went to go through all of their history included their medical records. When asking about the psychologist sessions he had in his youth, Vincent told the agency he was asexual and that settled the matter for them. They told them they had a strong religious consciousness and couldn’t give children to people that “defied the model of what a family and a person should be”.

 Naturally, the couple was destroyed by this decision. They left the agency without speaking and knowing their relationship had encountered a large hurdle. Before they left, they saw a child playing in the gardens, maybe around ten years old. They smiled at him and then left on their car, never to come back again.

 That child’s name was Anthony. He had been under the care of the orphanage for a long time, since he was maybe four or five. He didn’t know all the details but he knew his mother was deemed unsuitable to have any children with her, so they took him away. He didn’t know if he had any brothers or sisters, he didn’t know if his mother was alive or his father had ever cared to find him but after so much time, the answer to that question was rather obvious.

 After playing in the garden with a bucket and a plastic shovel, he decided to go back inside, as dinner was only two hours away. He loved food and he loved to see how they did it. The ladies at the kitchens were very nice, although normally no child was let inside. They did exceptions all the time for Anthony, who loved to see how his favorite stew was made. He also loved the sounds of the machines, the chopping of vegetables and the gorgeous scents that filled the place.

 When he lay down in bed at night, in a room with at least five other kids, he often thought of food first and then he daydreamed about a family that would someday come for him. The older ones in the orphanage teased him sometimes, and told him he was already too old to be considered for adoption, as couple always preferred small children who they could raise for themselves.

 Anthony knew this was true because he had seen many of the young ones leave but he rarely saw an older kid do the same. But nevertheless, he was full of hope. Maybe his mother didn’t love him enough to keep him or maybe he was better off without her. That wasn’t important. But he knew he would love someone to teach him how to cook, to take him to school and to play with every day.

 Adults were strange all over, that much he knew. But he also thought that some of them were very nice, like the kitchen ladies. So every night he would dream about the family that would come for him. He always saw two people in his dreams but they never had defined faces or traits. They were just there, loving him in his dreams, been warm and making Anthony feel that, at last, he had a home. And that he was loved and was important to them.