Monthly Archives: March 2012

Day 193

I went and sat along the sea today because it had something to say.

I don’t normally to visit the beach. I find the 5km distance between it, and I looking at out of the window at it from my house, is sufficient most days. When I am on the shore of the Mediterranean I get this gut feeling that it never ends. Somewhere, somehow, someone must have made a mistake and that it really just continues forever. Thats one of the reasons I never visit it. Its too expansive and too calm most days. Its makes me feel a beautiful and majestic sadness. Today though was different. Today the sea was wild and roaring. The waves had force behind them and hissed as they crashed against the rocky sand. There was noise and movement. An orderly confusion. It was calling out to the saggy tan skinned men with their blonde chest hairs peeking out of their cut off sleeved T-shirts and to the women who walked besides them dressed in floral print blouses, some carrying little toy dogs. The sea was inviting them to dare to come to its shore and test its waters. I sat for a good while listening while the wind blew wisps of hair in front of my eyes, and at times covering my mouth trying to sip from the can of beer I held to its lips. In the end, no one accepted the offer of the sea yet it remained raging.

Listening, I’ve been doing that more often, and more delicately lately.  By Apple dictionary standards,  listening only requires one to be alert and ready to hear something; give ones attention to a sound. Seems easy enough stated as such, yet many things go unheard in our daily lives and surroundings.

Living alone in a small Spanish village, with only a few friends and limited contact with others has turned itself into a blessing for me. In almost a harsh way its forced me, literally giving me no other option to to think about, and re-think about things. Except for a few bad weeks here and there I’ve been extremely happy with these past few months, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get bored, or lonely. It was one day when I was feeling lonely and bored I thought about all the old folks in this town. I decided that I would try to do things that everybody else does to entertain themselves here, ruling out excessive drinking, drugs and sex.  My thoughts went immediately to Antonio.

Antonio is an elderly man (80?) who lives across the street from me. It took me awhile before I actually talked to him, I just observed him at first. He lives alone in a small apartment, he normally wears the same outfit, actually no, he does always wear the same thing, which includes a little grey cap and a green vest with many pockets on the outside. Like many people in Torrox he leaves his windows and front door wide open, and so I just became accustomed to see him every time I stepped out my door. On many occasions he would be in a little rocking chair in front of a T.V. I could never see but only hear,…and 4/7 days a week he would be fast asleep in the chair. Then I got to know his name, and he got to recognize my face.

Maybe 2 weeks ago, I started to notice that the windows were suddenly kept closed, just as tightly as his front door now had become. It went on like that for a whole week. I started to get worried. I knew he didn’t have any family in Torrox and I started to think that maybe he had fallen, and like some horror story no-one ever thought to check on him, or maybe he had died peacefully in his sleep one night. It really made me sad to think that, so naturally when I was walking home from school this past week and saw him on the sidewalk I practically ran to catch up with him. I may have startled him, but he smiled and we walked together. I told him I was glad to see him, and that its been awhile, I asked if he had gone on vacation ( that sounded more polite than saying, ‘oh I thought you died’! ). He said no, that he was just out walking more now that the weather has picked up, but that he was going to be traveling to Brazil for a month at the end of the year. We said goodbye in Portuguese.

The thing about this sweet old man is that I had started to follow his lead, and have begun the habit of pulling out my reclining chair and putting it in front of the window everyday after school. From the seat of my chair I watch people walk past, eat lunch, listen to audiobooks ( I really like them now, I enjoy hearing the sound of someone but being able to control the volume and silence it if I want, unlike real people ) write ideas down, and watch the sky change colors. I like to watch the birds disappear and to see the bats come out.
 

Tying this all back to listening, by taking certain distractions out of my life, like T.V. and the internet in my home, not being attached to my Mp3 player all the time I’ve started to fill my mind and ears with other things. Like Antonio, I’m taking life a little more easy, and enjoying more simple pleasures which is what the old Spanish people in Torrox seem to do, but not from boredom or being lonely, but because it’s what brings happiness and fulfillment to their day. In making these certain simple changes the small sounds that were previously  in the background have now come to bring me happiness and fulfillment and it is through listening I slowly have became more grateful for what fills my time. The sound of a voice I haven’t heard in a long time, the birds singing outside signaling before I even step out of bed that its a beautiful day, the lyrics of a song I never paid attention to, the laughter I hear being with friends, crickets at night while I walk. I find now that no longer am I ever in complete silence.

 
 
Simple sounds.
Simple pleasures.
Simpleness.
Happiness.
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Day 192

A little listen of what I’ve been up to this past week.

Day 186

Tomorrow I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m buying myself cigarettes. Winston’s to be exact. The kind in that come in a plain red box with a big white label warning that “Fumar mata”.

Yes smoking does kill. Many things cause death in fact, like being born, and I’m guilty of that one, so surely I too will die some day.  My death however is very unlikely to be related to smoking complications,  as I do not plan on picking up the habit. Ever. I want this pack of Winston’s for myself to give to Miguel, or to have handy rather should he ever need one.

This would be the same Miguel who weeks ago I had run into at the bus stop, the guy who works at the radio. We exchanged numbers that day but he never called me about the potential prospect of me helping out at the radio. I didn’t really think much of it, since I’ve been traveling, but now I’m back, and determined to be a part of that radio.

My plan of action was simple and has proved to be effective thus far.

I didn’t wait for his phone call but instead I just went over to the radio, and walked through the open doors. I found him sitting in a little smokey room typing away on Facebook. I explained I really was interested in seeing the radio, and I proceeded to move a box of water bottles off an extra chair in the room, made myself a seat, and sat down next to him.

After a brief tour of the place, which is occupied mainly of empty rooms, we started talking about general sorts of things. I found out he’s 30 and  part of a band called, ‘SIN RENCOR’ (without grudge). I saw a YouTube video from a concert they played in Sevilla. Miguel does the electric guitar. I was pretty impressed. The style of music is Andalusian rock,…think classic American rock  but with a ‘flamencoesque’ flair to it. It sounded great from the crap-quality video, I’m sure to hear it live would be an experience!

I also met LouisMi, another member of the band and good friend of Miguel’s. He dropped by to do a commercial, so I heard the makings and final product. It came out professional sounding, although it was a little humorous, it was a political campaign and he had to google the guys name because he wasn’t sure what it was. Goes to show it pays to fact check.

Miguel finished up early at the studio that first night, so I accompanied him to the cafe next to the bus station and we talked a bit over some decaf until his bus came. That was last Friday. Tonight I went back to the radio for the second time. I showed up around the same time as I had before, around 7 but dressed more casual, in sneaks in a hoodie, consciously mimicking his relaxed sense of style. I’ve heard it said if you go into job interviews you should be subtle about it, but slowly start to mimic the person who is interviewing you, because they will unconsciously notice it and approve,…things like nodding, or maybe sayings like “I absolutely agree”, or hand gestures, little things like that.

In my mind the radio is my job interview, although pay and an actual position are highly unlikely aspirations. Still I want to hang around, help out a bit, and definitely observe and hopefully learn something. Plus get Miguel to write a letter before I leave using fancy professional language saying that I did all these things, should it ever aid the Communication degree I aim to finish some day.

A key to achieving all this means showing up with a smile, and coffee. Miguel likes coffee and also when I ran to the cafe and showed up with some for him. At first he fumbled in his pockets like he was going to pay me for it, I stopped him and said, “look, I’m your helper, I do these sorts of things now”. He settled back down and smiled.

This brings me to the Winston’s. I noticed immediately that he was a smoker. I’m not going to use this blog to shame smokers, but as a non smoker I can instantly detect someone who is, and whose finished a cigarette, even if it was outside,  awhile ago, or they already washed their hands or brushed their teeth. The smell is strong, distinct and lingers.

I knew Miguel was a smoker  because of his voice ( which actually sounds nice, and perfect for the radio ), and his small “office” has like this permanent haze, and also because I witnessed him mechanically smoke 4 cigarettes in less than 20 minutes.  His smokes remain at his left side at all times, just next to the make shift ashtray of a former water bottle filled with an amber-colored liquid that has various lengths of cigarette butts bobbing up and down in it.

The plan is to buy some Winston’s and keep them around so when he runs out I can offer him one. As this has happened once before, and I was unprepared. I’ll buy them, but put them in another box ( I found a special edition of Marlboro’s in an empty drawer in my house). It would be too suspicious and coincidental if we both happened to smoke the same brand. As far as my smoking,…I’ll keep the box half empty, and tell him I smoke only on a few occasions, but like to have them around just in case.

After spending some time with him I think he is very good at what he does. Pretty much a pro. He never went to school but just learned on his own. I respect people like that. We’ve also had good conversation, although he kind of caught me out of the blue when he randomly said, “Can I ask you something?” With his question being how I felt about Capitol Punishment being used in the US. He said a high schooler asked him for a debate paper she had to write, and he didn’t have much concrete information. This made me feel better, because the last time I had concrete  information concerning that was probably when I was in high school preparing debates. However, we both agree that its seems barbaric.

It’s my plan to go to visit him again on Thursday. I won’t bring coffee though. I don’t want to appear too overly eager to please. I want him to appreciate the effort, and not become accustomed to it.  But I don’t think its a bad idea to remain perceptive, willing to learn and keep showing up like I have. Its been enjoyable spending time at the radio and getting to know him, in addition I think a key in life is to take advantage of opportunities, even if it means making them for yourself!

Day 179

First Video and the shortest. She comes to Torox!

Second Video we get a little silly and see some cool places in Paris.

Third Video in multipart series. Warning: content contains pretty girls in ridiculous outfits.

Fourth video and I think the best. Find out what flamenco and gas masks have in common (hint: US! )

Fifth and last video. Worth watching if 1. you like to see silly 2. if you like Moby <B

That concludes the series! Hope you like!

Day 177

After 2 weeks of nonstop togetherness I almost wanted her gone.

That being said that I enjoyed her company very much and am grateful for everything she gave and did for me.

Despite the lack of sleep the night before which caused a BLAH of emotion inside me, I think the two or three tears I shed for her departure were genuine. No. I know they were. Its funny I told her,..and I meant it. I felt like I was being left behind at the airport. The whole time Lori,…or mi amiga “my friend” as everyone who met us referred to her as (I guess its a combo us not looking related enough and her looking young and I old?? No…I look like I act mature. That must be it. Then maybe she looks like she acts immature? No…she looks young. Just that. )… even I lost my place after that tangent…. so I’ll repeat without interruptions. The whole time Lori was around it felt like a strange vacation. Like we had picked this destination to venture off to together, and soon we’d be heading back to GB together again. Something like that. Although my life in GB seems so long ago now, with her being with me it was like having it back again, or more that I would return to it. Almost.

We had a good time.

Ha. I hate that question, after a long trip,..”How was it?”

How do you answer something like that?

We had a good time.

OK. I made the mistake of having some expectations beforehand- that were never completed, perhaps leading to moments of disappointment/frustration, and we had some tense moments…but I’m certainly in no position to complain or bitch and all said and done it really was good, more good than not so good. So much happened I’m not even going to try to talk about it. I tried my hand and making some videos, to document the experience for her. I’m in the editing process. I plan on posting the end results on here,..it easier to show than to put things into words. But that takes some time.

But she’s gone now, so I have lots of time once again.

And silence.

I had missed the silence I had enjoyed alone. Sometimes she broke it, and it disturbed me. But then I become accustomed to it, and now I have to settle back into silence.

I don’t have the internet in my home anymore.

She only left a few hours earlier today and already I feel lonely. But maybe its just because I’m tired. I’ll get used to it again.

I think I might buy my plane ticket home tomorrow. Not because I’m homesick. I’m not. Of Course I miss people though…but because I think its time to do so.

I like having a start and end to things. I like to look forward to things. I like to plan for things.

The bar is closing now…but I don’t feel ready.

Day 170