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

miércoles, 5 de julio de 2017

Norman

   From the very first years of his life, Norman Atelon was a very peculiar man. He was always avoiding situations, which would cause him to ruin his appearance, such as playing in the mud or during the rainy season. From the moment he learned to read, he spent his time doing just that, inside the house, in his room. He didn’t really like the company of his parents or of any other person. He’d rather have his stories and his imagination to go with it. That was more than enough.

 Norman developed this love of stories through his upbringing and eventually became one of the most renowned authors in the world. For some reason, he had dedicated himself to writing children’s books. His family saw this as odd behavior because he didn’t like people, and children were his very least favorite. He thought they were obnoxious and repetitive, not really taking any interest in the real interesting things life had to offer. He thought they were dull and dirty.

 However, the author once explained to his mother that he loved to write simple stories and that’s why his creations were considered more suitable for children. He didn’t agree at all but he knew it was best not to argue too much, because he did want to be taken seriously by other authors and by the world in general. For a person that didn’t really like people, Norman had a real need for people to be acceptant of him or, at very least, of his literature. And the world answered in a big way.

 His first book was a recompilation of short stories and it sold like fresh baked bread. Mothers and fathers all over the country fell in love with his imaginative creations and the kids really took to it too. Social media was a very good promotional platform for him, as many kids that liked his stories loved to paint or draw their favorite characters and then upload the pictures online. It was all made as a contest by the company publishing the books and it earned him a lot of money.

 So much he earned, that he became a rich man by the age of twenty-three, when most people are barely coming out of university, trying to enter a world hostile to their wishes. The irony was that Norman had never really wanted to be part of the world. He couldn’t care less if his stories made money or not, he just wanted to be out there, his name with all the other great names of literature. That was his achievement and he wanted to feel he had made it big. However, despite all the success, he didn’t get the recognition he wanted, only the one he didn’t care about.

 That’s why he made an effort at keep getting better at his craft. He studied, educated himself further abroad and, of course, he kept writing, almost every day. He lived with his parents for years until he decided he needed to get out of there but not because he was too old. He had realized he had to be fully alone to be able to create things that every other author would be jealous about. So he left his parents in a huff, not really feeling anything else than the burning desire to be considered a great author.

 His new apartment was small, very small. But it was located in a very wealthy neighborhood, with everything he could ever want not very far away. Not that he ever went outside for anything. He hired a maid to do those kinds of things for her. Food was a waste of time in his mind, so he dedicated the least amount of time to it, even reading through his meals or interrupting them abruptly when an idea came to mind. He had always been very skinny but he soon acquired an additional greenish hue on his skin.

 His parents and people he saw for work noticed this right away but they all knew him too well to say a word. Norman wasn’t the kind of person to care a lot about personal appearance. However, his mother convinced him to go to the doctor once. He complained about losing time of his daily schedule but he went with it. The doctor found him to be a bit underfed but, aside from that, he was healthy as a horse. It was incredible but he was, so no one could say anything about it anymore.

 The maid was ordered to cook better meals and he accepted to spend at least twenty straight minutes to breakfast, lunch and dinner. But he kept reading through the meals, because his mind had to be busy every single second of the day. People that met him thought it was exhausting just look at him go through a normal day. Norman was not a normal person at all; he was very unique in a very particular kind of way. Maybe that was the reason he didn’t like people that much.

 Friends, he did not have. He didn’t have any use for friendship or love or sex. As far as everyone that knew him was concerned, Norman was still a virgin and had never bonded with anyone else in his entire life, not even with other authors. People thought he wanted to be accepted by them but the fact was he wanted to be considered a true writer, a member of the group. If the people in the group liked him or not, he didn’t care one bit. That made people very annoyed by him, even if they were meeting him for the very first time. Norman was one of a kind.

 Ten years passed from his first publication. He lived in the same apartment, being cooked by the same maid and with his mom coming in every Sunday, as she had done since he had moved out. However, his father had died fairly recently so she had to visit alone. But Norman never seemed to notice his father was not around anymore. He did go to the funeral but he read a book through the ceremony and during the burial. People were very angry about it but his mother kept everyone from doing a scene.

 However, it was her who made the scene one day, one of those Sundays she visited her son. She served the meal left by the maid, as she always did and looked at her son as he ate fast to go back to his writing. He was working on a book about a young girl and her relationship with a magical cow. Or something like that, his mom was never that aware of the stories he made. No one really seemed to be, except his editor. The meal had gone by as usual except for one little detail.

 The mother burst into tears. She had never done so, not once in her whole life. Not on her childhood home, no in the house she had bought with her husband and least of all in her son’s apartment. She just couldn’t keep crying, tear rolling down her cheeks and nose. But that was not all that happened. Because, as she dried her face, she noticed that her son just left the table to sit on his table and keep on writing. Then, her sadness turned into rage, a feeling she had been repressing for many years.

 She yelled, as no one had ever yelled at Norman. Of course, there had been people who had had altercations with him. His way of being was off-putting to many. But that time, he seemed to actually care about the person who was yelling. It was his mother and, no matter how his personality was, he couldn’t just ignore the person that had brought him to life. She claimed she had been caring for him her whole life and he had never shown her the slightest sign of affection.

 For the first time, it seemed he didn’t have the right words to say. Norman had developed a very sharp and fast tongue. But that afternoon, all words seemed to leave him for good. And there was a reason for that: she was right. He had never shown her affection or any other feeling for that matter.


 He stood up and tried to walk up to her but he couldn’t. His legs wouldn’t budge. That feeling for her mother, whatever it was, was being overpowered by his personality. And she noticed. That’s why the woman grabbed her purse and her coat and never spoke to him again, not even when he was finally recognized as he had always wanted.

martes, 15 de noviembre de 2016

State visit

   Everyone at the airport was ready. The staff had put on their best clothes and every single corner of the small terminal building had been cleaned to the last millimeter. From very early in the morning, people had arrived to help organize every single part of this impromptu visit. After all, it was the president of the most powerful country in the world. And theirs was one of the poorest and most isolated ones on the whole planet. However, the presidential plane had to refuel somewhere, so the small nation had received the honor of hosting the president for a few hours.

 From the moment they had been warned about the impending arrival of the plane, hundreds of people were put to work. Not only those in the airport, people who only really worked on weekdays and even then only in certain time frames, but also every single operator and technician available. They wanted not only the people to feel welcomed but also to make the best work possible with the plane. They got fuel from the city’s reserves, as the amount they had on the airport was not enough to refill a plane the size of the one they were going to see in a few hours.

 The process required almost every person in the capital, a city of about a thousand people, to wake up and also help by cleaning the streets of the city and the authorities enabling the movement of fuel reserves from where they stored it to the airport, which was fairly close to the city. People took to the streets with brooms and mops and every single cleaning help they could get, but the truth was no one really knew if the president was going to land and stay on the plane or walk around a little bit. Many people were curious like that.

 The president of the tiny nation was the one that was moving all over his house, calling the right people and asking everything from food to more cleaning products. He wanted to send a message through TV but the people of the studios were helping around so he decided to send it through the radio. It was much simpler and more effective; as it was the medium of communication that people listened to while they were preparing the city for the big arrival. Every single person in the country heard it and everyone understood the importance of the visit.

 To the eyes of the world, it was practically a miracle that their country actually existed. To be honest, it had been a thing of luck and one of those strange coincidences that happen out of nowhere. They were too isolated and unimportant. Practically everything they had came from their neighbor to the east. So they had known starvation and real poverty because when that neighbor didn’t have enough for themselves, they suffered too. But the world in general never really knew anything because they weren’t watching, until now.

 The country had no army but its people did behave like one once the president’s message had reached every single person. They knew they had around six hours to have everything ready. With luck, the weather up in the clouds would delay the plane a bit more to give them more time but they constantly checked with the aircraft and that didn’t seem to be the case. Everyone had to do their best in the time given. Only an hour after the president’s announcement, everything was coming up nicely and all citizens were helping, even elders and children.

 A huge amount of people arrived at the terminal in order to use the old kitchens that some rundown businesses had not used in several years. The idea was to cook a good amount of their national food for the people arriving, as well as other dishes that they might like. It wasn’t crazy to think that they would be very hungry, even at that early hour of the day. After all, this was all going on in the darkness of the night. The president was scheduled to arrive around eight o’clock in the morning, so they had to wake up or not even sleep.

 The cooking team was led by the nation president’s chef, his own wife. It wasn’t like in other countries were the president has everything and the people below him have nothing. In that nation, everyone was basically the same. People hadn’t starved in some years but they weren’t rich or even close to that. So the president’s wife decided it was best if someone close to the government like her supervised the food. It was the best way to guarantee that it would be perfect for someone with such a high profile as the ruler of the richest country in the world.

 They acknowledge that all those people in that plane, around two hundred according to the information they had shared with them, had been and eaten in places much better than their small country. That was obvious and they didn’t feel bad about it. But they wanted them to leave knowing a little bit more of their culture and about what they loved to eat and drink in those lands. The menu had been defined by the president’s wife and she was very confident that it was going to be one of the best feasts in the recorded history of their nation.

 It consisted of a special recipe for meatballs using a kind of cheese that was made from goat milk, which also happened to be used in their national beverage, which was kind of like a milkshake but less thick and richer in flavor. They also cooked the goats in various ways and were very proud about their vegetables and mushrooms, of which they had a very large variety. Various dishes were cooked with all those ingredients and some spices too.

 The small country’s president arrived in the airport only two hours before the arrival of the plane, to check everything out. The terminal had been painted in record time by volunteers and the control tower was bursting with life when, in normal days, it would only have one person and not even all day. He thanked everyone there and then went to the terminal’s commercial area where his wife and helpers were giving the final touches to the food. The smell had flooded the building and it was very delicious, so much that many stomachs growled loudly.

 Then, he went outside and did a walk around the tarmac and the runway. There wasn’t a single spec of dust anywhere, which he thought was absolutely magnificent, especially for such a windy part of the country. It seemed as if the weather was also helping them achieve their goal. The red carpet in the tarmac was the same one that the president had stepped on when he was inaugurated for his term, more than three years ago. A president’s term was five years and he couldn’t be reelected, which he personally thought was a good idea.

 He decided to check the band that had been practicing for hour in the cold and congratulated them for the amount of love they were showing the country. He stayed a bit to hear them play and, to be fair, they were not as prepared as he would have like, but there was no way of getting better musicians with only an hour to go. They would have to do. What made them special, at the end of the day, was that they played their instruments with real passion and the idea of making their country proud. And that was more than enough.

 The president decided to wait for the plane in the control tower. There, he would be able to know every detail about the upcoming visit. When he stepped in, the plane had crossed into their airspace. It would be only thirty minutes until they touched down in the runway. The atmosphere was really special. Every single person in the tower, in the terminal, in the tarmac and even in the city was ecstatic. This was, by far, the most exciting thing to ever happen in their country. And they had all worked together to make it the best day possible.


 The plane came out of the clouds and landed, in a very soft and elegant manner. Everyone applauded and greeted the people inside through the radio. The president ran outside, getting ready with all others. Many people from the city had come out of curiosity and they had been allowed to stay a bit further away. The plane parked exactly where they had determined it should go. For some minutes, nothing happened. Then, the door opened and everyone stopped breathing for a second. Their moment had come.

viernes, 22 de abril de 2016

Notice

   I took my shoes off on the wooden walkway, as well as my socks, which I put inside the shoes. I stared at the ocean for a while before I realized I was alone and it was no surprise: a very cold breeze was blowing that day and there was no way someone would choose that time of day to go around and have a stroll by the ocean. Well, except me of course. I stepped on the sand and was surprised to feel it very cold and humid, contrary to all my other experiences at beaches. That sounds odd but the point is I had never been in a “cold beach”.

 I walked slowly towards the ocean. Mid way between the end of the walkway and the water, there was a big rock the appeared to emerge from the deepest parts of the Earth. I left my shoes on it and took a couple of seconds to raise my jeans as high as I could in order not to get them wet. Minutes later, I was in the water, enjoying the wind and the sound of the ocean crashing and forming foam all around me. Somehow, I felt free and better than ever.

 I stopped being alone after a while, when several seagulls landed near the rock and started poking the ground for food. I was surprised to see that one of them was able to pull a crab as big as my fist from the ground and then another one did the same. And then maybe the biggest bird of them all decided that my shoes were food or maybe my socks.

 I saw the bird exploring it all with its beak and I had to run like crazy back to the rock to scare the bird away. I always couldn’t do it because the seagull was not impressed by me running towards it. I had to scream and open my arms, as wings in order for it to release it just couldn’t win. It finally took off and I was able to grab my shoes but, as I pulled out both socks to see it the bird had damaged them, I felt a severe pain.

 Birds are not as stupid as we think. As it happened, there was a small crab inside my shoe. It must have gotten inside of it when I decided to go and soak my feet into the water. It had closed its larger pincer on one of my fingers and I had to shake my hand real hard until it released me. It fell to the ground and I hoped the big seagull would eat it. My finger had a deep cut and that ended my time on the beach.

 With my other hand, I put the socks on my pocket and when I reached the walkway I put on the shoes with no socks on. It wasn’t the best way to go but I just wanted to go back to where I was staying and cure my finger. It wasn’t a long walk, as the small bed & breakfast was on what they called the waterfront, even if the beach could not be seen from the rooms. I felt the blood dripping but didn’t mind at all.

 I asked for my key in the reception and once I had gotten into my room, I checked the front pocket of the bag I had brought and pulled out a Band-Aid. Then, I went out to the bathroom and cleaned my finger under the sink. It hurt but the blood worried me a bit more because it looked darker than usual. I tried to think about what I had eaten recently but couldn’t really remember eating something strange that would cause such a strange reaction.

 When I was finished, I put on the Band-Aid and went back to my room. I decided to stay there for the rest of the day and just be safe away from any crazy injuries. And then I removed my shoes and realized one of my feet hurt. I had a blister on my heel, probably because I had worn my shoes with no socks. My feet were really sensitive so I decided no to touch it too much and just rest my feet, my hands and everything in that room.

 Minutes afterwards, rain started pounding against the window’s glass. I had started reading a book I had brought but I had deceived myself again, because I couldn’t go beyond page five. I just read the same words, again and again, and decided to leave the book and just try to have a nap. After all, there was still light outside. So I closed my eyes and tried to sleep but just couldn’t. My finger felt as if it was pumping an amazing amount of blood and my foot hurt a bit if I moved. I felt so stupid and silly, being there just doing nothing.

 But I knew I wasn’t the kind of person to have adventures every four seconds like other people. I had discovered, through friends, that people normally lied about that so I felt less self-conscious, but I knew that somewhere, some person was actually having a lot of fun and just enjoying life. I was the kind of person that couldn’t walk without getting blisters or attacked by birds. Other people had no idea what that was like.

 It was after thinking all of these things that I felt asleep and did so for about two hours. I had no dreams but rather a really calm sleep. So calm in fact, that I woke up exactly in the same position I had fallen asleep in. That never happened at home anywhere.

 I decided to put some thick socks, the shoes and try to see more of the small town before I had to leave in two days. I had found about it when booking my holidays and decided that, after getting to know a large city, I also wanted to get lost in some small town when I just could feel that I was discovering a brand new world every single day. I had lived that many years ago and just wanted to have that feeling back with me. Besides, I was tired of cities and their people. I needed a change.

 I stepped out of the hotel, having left my key again with the receptionist who would always be on the phone or playing with her cellphone. I didn’t have my cellphone with my, on purpose. The first reason was that it didn’t work on the country and the second reason was that I did not want any distractions from my normal walk. I just wanted to open my eyes and look at people and their normal environment and whatever that part of the world had to offer.

 The town’s main square was located just ten minutes away by walking and I could tell it was a lively day for the town. There were more people that I could have imagined and many nice shops and tents all over were vendors would sell local products, mainly made from oatmeal and wild flowers and lemons. They even sold fish in some of them and the smell made me feel better, even if I didn’t really like fish.

 I went all around the market and then realized that people, some people at least, were looking at me. They seem to point and then hush and then be on their way and that for me was very strange. Back in the city I had visited earlier that week, not one person had ever acknowledged my presence except the ticket vendors in museums and waiters. I even had to yell a lot in a restaurant to get some service. But something was weird in that small town.

 Or maybe, I thought, I was imagining it all. Maybe I just wanted to be seen or something and was putting all of that inside my head and trying for it to be part of the world. So I ignored it all and kept on moving. Sure enough, being almost 8PM, I decided to have something small to eat and some hot beverage with eat in a nice pastry shop with terrace, on the main square. As I sat down, a very nice waiter came and took my order and complimented me on my hair.

 I almost laugh but didn’t because he seemed honest. He came back very fast with a cup of hot tea with sugar and lemon and some complimentary cookies. I also asked for a ham and cheese sandwich and just ate and drink as I saw the people move all around. Again, I felt people looking at me and little kids would wave and make faces to me. And by the end of the evening, I got used to it.


 When I went back to my hotel, I was able to sleep nicely and, after showering with hot water; I decided to make my last day in the village count. I would fish and eat something great, and walk to one of the lavender fields and maybe even get into one of those farm tours and milk a cow or something. I just felt people saw me and I wanted to be a part of anything that happened there. I guess I wanted to thank them, somehow.

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.