The blues of busking

It was Saturday. The rain wasn’t yet falling but would later on, getting my beautiful second-hand saxophone a bit wet and making me worry about rust, the ultimate triumph of nature and the fact that taking it to the streets is ultimately overrated.

What are the streets going to provide, anyway? Revolution? Egypt’s triumph of the masses has gotten a little convoluted. Affirmation? Unlikely. Definitely not comfort. People are only out in the streets because they’re trying to get from Points A to B. The journey is uncomfortable and the destination is everything. That’s how it always appears, until my girlfriend told me that the journey/struggle really is the meaning, and the destination is just a promise to keep us going.

Busking either makes me very happy or very unhappy. One can either find a comfortable, spacious place to play a musical instrument in the CBD (result: no money), or hustle where people congregate and be told to piss off by business owners and other buskers. The council restrictions read as follows: “You are not allowed to play anywhere fun. Or practical.”

So, why do it? There’s affirmation and a bit of money. It’s better than just playing for nobody in my bedroom. That is probably the order of the priorities unless you’re a dude with a guitar who has it and knows how to rock the casbah. They make cash, colourful notes. Others just make coins. Or nothing, if you fancy yourself as a lost soul playing alone under a bridge. Beware of trolls.

I’ve come to hate Swanston Street, from a busking (and aesthetic) perspective, but there are few alternatives (Bourke is for semi-pros). Business people don’t care about noisy quasi-vagrants, which crosses off the CBD westside. The older we get, the more our heart dies?

Sometimes I get two or three fans. People seem less inhibited to ask directions from me. What do you know, I’m a fixture. The best are people who take a film of me playing on their phones, or want to take their picture with me. Maybe I’m briefly not a nobody, to them I’m a Melbourne icon! I could care less if those people give me money, they are giving me something else, something better. But money makes the world go round too.

I have my staple songs but tire of them rapidly. I know what works for sax, in the circumstances: no songs with repetitive notes, or that are too slow and indistinct. I read sheet music like a grade prep learning to read, all pauses and squinting, so it all has to be in my head. Occasionally I connect and a couple of people tell me I’m awesome. Yeah, I knew already. Oh, you mean at sax?

Sometimes I am not on, make many mistakes and have to smother a rising humiliation. I’ve already scattered some pre-coins into my box to not look so pathetic since many people look not at me but into my box, wondering if they should quit their own day jobs.

Of course they should, but for unrelated reasons.

On the night the dream died

I have a lifelong obsession with the country Paraguay. This is an obsession that has subconsciously guided all of the decisions of my life. The goal is incomprehensible, and therefore so are the actions that need to be taken to achieve it. I can’t rationally explain (or justify) to other people the reckless and irrational things that I do, because I can’t explain to them the irrational goal.

This year I was in a perfect position to achieve my aim of living there for perhaps the half a year or so needed to get it all out of my system. I had a perfect combination of money, time, material and relational detachment, a plan and relative youth, but I did not use the three-month window that was open to me, thinking that there would be more time later on. There wasn’t; my brother in Australia became sick, and going ‘home’ to Australia again wasn’t a decision to be made. I was about a week or two away from touching a lifelong pipedream, but the chance once again became an insane impossibility fit for only fantasies, the way pipedreams are.

I went to Encarnación, a small city in the south of Paraguay across the river from Argentina. I was scoping out what I would miss, as I had previously decided that I wanted a smaller town in which to conduct my business and my life. I was tired of distances, transport and travel times. Encarnación would have become my new home.

Paraguay was celebrating its 200th year of existence as a nation, and painted murals on the fences and the red, white and blue number 200 in lights in the plazas were celebrating this everywhere. It was raining as I walked around Encarnación. I wanted to see the central plaza (bigger than usual Latin American plazas, impressive) and the mighty Paraná River across from which the Argentinian city Posadas with its buildings and a few lights appeared from the rainy mist list like an apparition. On that same street – the Costanera, the street that ran along the river – were the stands left over from February, when Encarnación is the carnival capital of Paraguay, another thing I would have participated in with relish.

It was my curse, to only see Paraguay, a tropical country, in the gloom of its short-lived winters (although a hotel worker told me it always rains in winter in Encarnación), like an entire country’s weather system was merely a message to me. I imagined the sun coming out the second I left the country. Message received.

The houses were small but were only behind tall picket fences and not ugly, forbidding walls. The streets were deserted, for who but a fool would be walking around in the rain? This was Paraguay’s day; that night they would play (and win) the semi-final of the South American soccer tournament and many people were wearing the red and white striped shirt of Paraguay’s soccer team. I entered a bank, and five of the six employees were in red and white. I’d just been to Brazil, where they hadn’t bothered wearing their colours. Brazil has action, but Paraguay merely has their country. There were possibly even more women than men wearing the shirt, a masculine pastime played in feminine colours. These quiet beauties had white skin, big eyes, black hair, small and beautiful figures, and spoke in their incomprehensibly sexy (and plain incomprehensible) Paraguayan Spanish-Guaraní accents.

I thought that going to Paraguay and experiencing the stillness, the bored tranquillity, had killed my desire, but when I left I found that the desire was still there, to torment me for the rest of my life. In Encarnación there were unaccountably a couple of Asians here and there, and the next night I ate at a classic Japanese restaurant, where an Asian family behind me had a daughter who spoke her family’s language with a very Guaraní accent. When I walked away from the restaurant in the cold along the ten blocks back to my lodging, looking at the one-story houses, feeling the small size of their city and the small size of life, I felt that I could love Encarnación.

The next day was the trip across to the second option I had considered for myself, the small town of Villarrica, which would have been home if I had considered dropping off the map entirely (Encarnación, at least, is the third biggest city in Paraguay, which indicates what a small, rural nation it is). The countryside in between the two places featured dirt roads, palm trees, magnificently green plains and waterways, and large houses that were usually pained green or blue in accordance with Paraguay’s nature vibe. There were cute towns along the way called Yuty and Caazapá, but unfortunately Villarrica had an ugly centre that consisted purely of shops, and I couldn’t have possibly lived there. It had Paraguay’s quiet, forgotten, naturalistic feel, but it also had the unpleasantness of Paraguay’s other vibe, a large market of things being sold; a buyers’ and sellers’ country, a nation that was simply one large shopping centre of objects of dubious origin. Villarrica was too small to have action, too big to be beautiful, although the outskirts were pretty. Reports that Villarrica possesses an Alliance Française school (I wanted to teach French in South America) just didn’t seem possible. Verdict: Encarnación yes, Villarrica no.

Someone waved to me from a balcony in Villarrica, as I disconcertedly made my way back to my lodging. The Paraguayan people were so straightforward, smiling and friendly, although I couldn’t penetrate their way. Once I left that unreal country whose existence I can’t be one hundred per cent sure of, the world became real again.

 

My girl in Bolivia told me she hopes I wake up from the dream-like state I float around in, before she never said another word to me. She could have been the woman of my life, but she was sandwiched between the two other things that I wanted more than anything else, and The Dream dictated that I had to leave her. I hurt her, a principled, consistent woman who will probably have nothing to do with me again. I believe it truly isn’t worth it, getting into relationships on the road and with the necessity of cutting them just when they are flowering. The first girl I was with in Bolivia understood this better than most, and clamped down on any residual feelings, and burned me. Years later I learned from her and adjusted my feelings accordingly, but other women were more straightforward with me, more natural. They treated me as a genuine option and not just as a plaything, and I still can’t bear their sadness when I left them.

I still haven’t woken up to myself, but when I picked my brother up from hospital here in Australia – the reason The Dream had died – I felt guilty for even wanting things for myself at a time like this. Waiting for him to be finished, watching him, I had a slight window where I had to force myself not to tear up, and wondered what exactly God was thinking when he made life such a sad thing.

Happiness found in Portugal

Lisboa from across the river

“Extraordinary things are happening in Portugal,” I wrote early one Monday evening a month ago. I was in Portugal for a few days at the start of August, already a world ago. Fate stepped in and delivered me something extraordinary each time that I thought I would succumb to the overrated torpor of hostelling. Portugal, while a beautifully exotic word and a name that I can hang my hat on, was not in-your-face, so unless I could find a person to show a piece of Portugal to me I wouldn’t be able to find it. In the end, two people did: Lauryn Hill and Kánanda Freitas. Neither of them were Portuguese.

Lauryn Hill re-wrote her story, even if one concert may blend in with another for her. On a plaza (public square) next to the ocean she came to me, even though I only arrived in Lisboa half an hour before the free concert was to begin. I stood waiting for her for hours in a crowd of mostly black Portuguese. I was surprised to learn that they too were a part of the Portuguese scene, meshing and joshing with each other in black-cool Portuguese language.

This is my picture. I was there!

I’m going to interrupt the pure narrative of this one to state that me in Portugal ultimately was the story of re-found happiness that I had believed was gone, in two people. Lauryn Hill appeared genuinely grateful to be passing through her repertoire of musical truth there with us in Lisboa that night, even if that truth had come and gone more than ten years ago, since in the end we each have to prove ourselves today or else disappear into irrelevance. I was grateful for this moment in my life too, and at one point she saw me, I’m sure of it! I was making a heart shape with my fingers, as much a Portuguese theme as a love moment, and she acknowledged someone in the crowd in my direction, and for the sake of dreams I’m going to believe it was me. She had wound the clock back: she was very pretty and it seemed to me, very happy too, or at least happy to be committed to a moment in which she could momentarily give the best part of herself to people who appreciated her. She looked frail in a way, but her clothes were her-stylish and she thanked us for our patience at the end of the night. Her backing singers all hugged each other in joy after she left the stage: a job well done.

Two days later on Monday, August 2, I was next to the water with a 19 year-old Brazilian waitress who had only been living in Portugal for six months. Why do I directly relate my joy and esteem to whether an attractive woman is interested in me? I do, and that day when she kissed the back of my fingers I was overwhelmed; finally a woman saw me as a man and not as some sexless wraith, and I would not have to make the first move that I had never traditionally known how to make. Fernanda was a woman who had fallen out of the sky into my lap, surely a gift from the God I’m not sure if I believe in. She was brown-skinned and that day she wore a pink dress with sandals. When I felt her hair it was a little stiff, different but lovely, a black person’s hair I suppose. I rode Lisboa’s classy trains with her and after many minutes of simple caresses I finally gave her a kiss, already a foregone conclusion. Half an hour later we ended up in each other’s arms next to the river, with all Lisboa spread out on the other side. A perfect moment, and I had acknowledged to her that I was happy, but I didn’t add what a rare event that was. When the ferry left to take me back to the mainland at six o’clock that was it, another mood lost before it could flourish. Staring at the water while on the ferry, I felt the same feeling that I had when I had left Karina behind in Bolivia in 2006. Feelings can’t be stored or remembered; we only have a moment in which, when we feel them again, we surprise ourselves and say, “I remember this.”

Spain had everything a person could need to be happy but I didn’t take it; Portugal had considerably less, but somehow what I was looking for.

Sensual

A post to finally justify the somewhat ridiculous URL of my page: last night in a bar-slash-whatever (places are seldom just pubs anymore, they are generally funkified combinations of that and nightclubs) I saw a perfectly formed girl (by my specifications: delicate but not too thin) with a beret and tanned skin in the absence of daytime light sitting on a stool, and in front of her there was an attractive guy with a three-day old beard who was also on a stool facing her. They were kissing each other every so often, which is not so unusual in the circumstances, but they did it with a tingling anticipation that was lacking in other pashing couples. It was a scene that captured my attention for a few seconds. Then she put her hands on her lap on top of her thighs, flat with the palms down, and moved them a centimetre forward. In that instant I saw subtle sex pulse through her. I thought: there’s a possibility that those two might be committing to having sex with each other, maybe not tonight but sometime in the future. This is sounding like voyeur territory but from the snippets that I glanced in my ‘I don’t want to be here’ awkwardness, it was one of the sexiest things I’ve seen. Let’s face it, workaday life is not full of these moments and TV sexiness is not sexy, it isn’t real.

Call this foolish, but I think women have sex embedded in their genes, a certain style of eroticism and movement during sex that us chimpanzees with penises will never be able to replicate. They also have dance within them too, an innate understanding of movement that again, us men don’t have. I guess what the two things have in common is movement, sensuality, feeling. My judgement is skewed by sexual desire, but women are the ones who bring the beauty to our race, who make it worth anything. They are the ones most responsible for that elusive subtlety and magic that sometimes happens.

I can be in touch with it too, but since these qualities don’t actually affect anything in our knockabout world, I’m left floundering because my subtle abilities (writing, languages) do not get cabinets built, or roads designed, or food produced. As James Brown sang, “This is a man’s world.” And perhaps that’s the problem.

 

P.S. A google image search for ‘sexy’ and ‘sensual’ came up with a lot of skin and a bunch of asses waved to the camera, and missed the point entirely.

There’s an awful lot of coffee in Brazil…

… and I’m no doubt buying into stereotypes, but what is that certain something about Brazil that sets it apart from every other country? Is it a lack of inhibition, a society that is open to any posibility and whose limits are only its crushing social divides, the poverty and racial stigma against its lower classes?

The Brazilian story is a swarming culture where basically anything goes in a good and a bad sense, a whirling kaleidoscope of motion and colour and emotion and sensory overload. Compared to the sedate Spanish countries surrounding it it is an island of acceptance, of pleasure and suffering, where the highs are higher and the lows are lower, a miracle in one sense to counter the more orderly miracle of the Dutch in Europe.

And, from out of that chaos, Brazil has consistently produced the most gifted attacking soccer players on the planet over the last fifteen years. From Romario in 1994, to King Ronaldo and Rivaldo in 1998 and 2002, to Ronaldinho in 2005, to Kaka in 2007, the production line has been constant. But these kings often make sudden falls from the top that go against our society’s now-is-forever perceptions. Romario decided on a job well done after he gave the country the 1994 World Cup title and put his feet up. Rivaldo went from World Cup-winning lynchpin to a soccer nobody in the space of three months in 2002. Ronaldinho famously lost his mojo in mid-2006 after he appeared for all the world to be the greatest player of all time. Kaka hasn’t been up to much since he won the Champions League for Milan in 2007 (literally, he was the one who achieved it for the rest of the team and not vice versa). Ronaldo mostly bucked the trend with comeback after comeback from injury and he proved himself wherever he went, although not for extended time anywhere as his whims wandered.

Why does this consistently happen? Am I being unfair to these players who tap into uncertain magic in an uncertain business? Don’t these fades happen to many attacking players, who have the most difficult gig in organised sports (Shevchenko post-Milan, for example)? Is the summit a tightrope, easy to fall off? Or, is the fall a Brazilian trait? Did these players, many who came from abject poverty, lose their hunger after having proven themselves and risen in the world against all odds?

I might have expected Kaka to buck the trend, coming as he did from a stable middle-class family rather than the social breakdown and the doubtful lessons of the favelas. Or am I being classist, racist? I called in 2007 that he has enough of a head on his shoulders (implying: unlike the others) to appear for Brazil in their hometown World Cup tournament of 2014 at the ripe age of 32. But I think now I was wrong: he already seems like yesterday’s man. He has this World Cup to set things right, because he failed in 2006 and if he fails in 2010 there will be no 2014. He always seemed more beholden to European effectiveness than Brazilian fantasy, his cool glacial movement, passing and shooting producing stunningly skilled if emotionless goals by the standards of those other Brazilian masters. I’m not a Kaka devotee but I’m fascinated by the normalness of his story, perhaps the proof that ‘White men can jump’ by the disgraceful racial standards (in both directions) of the United States, and belying the cliche that genius can only spring from the turmoil and creativity of poverty.

Would I blame the shooting star tendencies of the others on the unsettled mentality that growing up with nothing produces? It would be crude, and cruel, to be sure. But I can’t help but think of Pele, who could never get over the favela mentality that he always needed more money even after he became stunningly rich and famous, and subsequently whores his endorsement to anyone who provides the golden handshake (remember erection disfunction 2002?). Then there was the King Ronaldo, who always likewise felt that he needed more women in his life even after his exploits were set in stone and they began falling over themselves for him. Call it an overcompensation from his youth?

I love Ronaldo. The way he came back from three years of injuries into the second most difficult tournament in soccer that is the World Cup* in 2002 and easily got back into his goalscoring groove – eight goals in seven matches, a modern-day World Cup miracle – would indicate that he was indeed something very special, probably the greatest pure goalscorer of all time. His otherworldly skill allowed him to overcome a few knee reconstructions and a questionable attitude to training to reach the top and consistenly score wherever he went, even as late as at Milan in early 2007 after he was at least three years past it. He never fell forever like the others because he was simply the best at what he did (Ronaldinho hit the greatest heights as the best ever player for a brief time but that’s contradictory), but he didn’t stay at the top* in Europe because he never stuck around in one place for long enough, mostly because of injuries. I have to recall at this point that Europe is not Brazil and no matter how clean a life Europe offers, it isn’t home for these players. Maybe that’s why Rivaldo fell, why the pretenders Adriano and Robinho couldn’t cope, why Ronaldo never found a ‘home’.

*(True soccer buffs know that the UEFA Champions League, although not as glorious as the World Cup, is actually the true pinnacle of ability and skill in a stultifying environment that permits no leeway except that which the best of the best create for themselves. Ronaldo proved himself the best in this environment too, but didn’t take consistent part in it. That’s just the way it randomly worked out.)

I hope Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Nilmar will be the 2010 version of the three Rs of 2002. I suspect their arrogant, complacent efforts of 2006 will be put to bed. There is one month before those beautiful yellow shirts show this time as always that their focus and ability to make exactly the correct runs, passes and shots when they see space is unmatched in world soccer, that when you see their attacks build up on the break you can feel the power of their technique, thought and movement. They are a creative facet of society that is seldom matched in any field. Is it part of the fabric of the country itself? Why doesn’t anyone else produce such exceptional attackers?

That’s me

This is not to say that there won’t be anything here in the near future, but I’ve reached a point that all bloggers reach: at some point they end up saying all that was once unsaid and that they felt they needed to say or else they would die. Thanks to the modern-day miracle of the net I’ve been able to say everything that was within me and feel like I built up some sort of opus if you combine this site (2008 and 2009) with my two “me in Bolivia” based sites (Bolivia Tracker, 2005 and 2006, and Second Chapter, late 2007 to early 2008).

I don’t mean this in a deadly emotional way but I don’t think there’s anything left for me to say now for the moment; there’s nothing really festering away that I can put a fresh spin on, as all of the stuff about apostate authors, washed-up soulstresses, obscure South American countries and general moodsetting is now out there. I don’t think there’s anything ‘new’ inside me for the time being. I’ve run out of inner material and any opinion I may proffer at this point would merely be empty theorising from a person who was never strong enough to live through the details.

I’ll tell you a story: one day a confused young Hercules was wandering through the hills when two young women offered him a life’s choice. The first choice was pleasure, a live of ease and plenty. The other choice was virtue, a life of struggle that would eventually end up worth the pain. He chose virtue and ended up accidentally killing his family and then in reparation slaved away on his twelve impossible labours, a terrible burden that he nonetheless achieved and incidentally in the process got rid of a few monsters and made Ancient Greece a better place. He gave up his happiness for the greater good.

Let me tell you: I would not choose virtue in a million years. We no doubt end up as better people on the other side of the struggle but I have not yet been able to deal with the struggle in the first place, and so never improve. I argued with a girl once: she said there are things we’d never repeat but it’s good that we got through them once; I asked, so why do them if we hate them in the first place? The answer is obvious; through the struggle we’re improving our futures and toughening ourselves up for a world in which strength is everything. Yet I’ve never been able to go against my emotions and push through; I’m just not strong enough. And I could try and it would no doubt be much better on the other side of the struggle, but I don’t want the pain and humiliation of that struggle. So I never improve.

I can’t see what’s left to make myself more multi-faceted, in an emotionless way I’ve lost hope. I could spend another half-year kicking it in South America, the only place that has given me swagger; or I could stop, marry a girl, have a child and pass the baton on. But there’s only one girl on the planet to whom I fit her specifications and who fits mine, and I suspect her specifications won’t lead to long-term contentment for either of us.

I look at society and see a world that’s wrong. Structurally things are actually massively improving: less sexism and racism, slightly more social justice, people all have mobile phones and more money, and yet to me in a social sense things seem to be falling. We’re always talking about sex yet have lost the magic of sex. I started teaching in a school and can never see past the negativity, my glass is always half- to three-quarters empty. I don’t want to be there, I don’t want to talk to people. I want the world to disappear into a black hole except for me and a wife and maybe one or two friends.

If I die when I’m 100 then I have seventy-two years left, or else we have three years left if the panicky misinterpretations of doomsday prophesies of December 21, 2012 turn out to be true, and since I’ve had the job I’ve been so depressed that I actually hope the latter is true. Suicide is wrong because there is always something new out there and it’s wrong to miss out on that, and besides that I like who I am and have things to offer others and I don’t want to lose those refined qualities of mine, but the idea of minutes upon hours upon days upon months of sadness just hanging out for that one possible moment of happiness… I don’t know how to live through the imbalance. I will, but the idea of it seems impossible.

This is my picture, what I feel represents the better side of me: the funk, the colours, the movement, the kinaesthetic and rhythmic confidence. I feel I’m attractive in a covered-up way, but not in a clothes off, summertime show-some-skin way, so this pic works there too. I think I have a spark that is unable to express itself in the social, talking-based society that we live in, but I can always wait for moments like these to present themselves. Thank you for reading.

Conversations with my non-PC cousin

hmen

An antidote to the negativity of late: on November 14, 2007 I had arrived in Arica, Chile after a 30-hour bus ride from Santiago. A bus strike in nearby Bolivia (my destination) meant that I had to kill the entire day alone in Arica, a place I had already been once before and had no compulsion to repeat. I had to stay in spartan lodging, spending expensive Chilean money rather than Monopoly-worth Bolivian coin. The area near the terminal was not optimal (or even completely safe?) but as I needed to jump on a bus to Bolivia as soon as possible I had no choice but to sleep nearby.

The airplane and bus rides had ruined my stomach and for days I couldn’t eat more than a few bites of anything. My sleep patterns were shot from jetlag and I ended up in bed sleeping at one p.m. while an earthquake shook the establishment and cut its electricity (consequently I never even knew about the experience). I spent a few hours at the beach but then had nothing to do for the rest of the day. I tried going for a walk but then saw a crew of bored young guys down the road and opted against crossing their path, a gringo alone in a poorer part of town. So I went back to the hostel, whose lights had been cut owing to the earthquake, and spent the rest of the day in bed with a candle that the landlady had given me despite her lack of smiles. What was left to do but write?

It really wasn’t a pretty way to get from Santiago (Chile) to Cochabamba (Bolivia). Adding the day lost to the strike on the Bolivian side, it took four and a half days of bussing and sleeping anonymously and alone in hovels, having to lug all of my belongings to and fro. All up it only cost about a hundred bucks though, and after the fact it’s intriguing to think that I was so alone like that, that I was in a foreign country and doing something against the grain. This is what I came up with to kill some time in that dark room: some purposely chauvinistic, fictional conversations with the macho mate (or “cousin”) that I would probably never have in real life. These are not necessarily things that I think personally, but I was bored and just rolling with it.

1)

“Do we spend our whole lives looking for beauty?” I asked him. “Is the only beauty around to be found in a woman? In the slope of her face, the shape of her eyes, the proportion of her body, the unique feeling her vagina gives you when you’re rubbing along inside her? Where does that leave other women who are not beautiful? They get left to their own devices until the day they die. It’s not their fault they don’t have what you’re looking for. They have their dreams too, they want to be looked at by a beautiful man, they want to have sex with a man that doesn’t repulse them, but they get written off if they’re not beautiful.” But of course I was lying to myself, we all act the same way: even the strongest spiritual bonds we form with members of the opposite sex – they only begin because the woman is beautiful, and because she thinks we are, too.

He put his tie on and adjusted the knot. “Sorry to offend your sensibilities, but women are the only beauty that’s left in the world, and sexual pleasure the only magic. But to get what you want, you have to earn it. The world is unbalanced; all the beauty in it has been siphoned off by the rich. The rest of us have nothing to inspire us to lift our leaden soles off the ground.”

I scoffed at this. He was rich, for the moment. His suit was sending out the right messages, even if fraudulent ones. From what he told me, he only had a thousand dollars left in his bank account, but a grand can go a long way if so desired, and his family was available as a back-stop. Once he went back to work he would regroup and make more money. And then squander it on fleeting desires.

“Look at the situation in Australia. The most exquisite of our women are basically owned by our most powerful men. Their job is their looks, their front, to maintain their façade; our job is to maintain ours – to do enough to deserve them – by having enough stuff to show that we are worthy of owning these creatures. Are we good enough to own one? Women are commodities – they know it; they invest in themselves too. Wish me luck,” he said as he threw a few condoms into his pocket and strode out the door.

I didn’t, because I never wished him luck when he went off to invest in shares; if his commoditisation theory of women was correct then it would have been all the same anyway.

2)

“Guys drift on the wind, nothing more,” he started, beginning his modern day fable. “The women are the ones that give permission for sex to happen. Right? We’ll take it anytime it is available, unless the situation repulses us, which is seldom. If it takes two to tango, pardon the utter cliché, then both people have to be willing to tango for it to occur – and let me tell you, it’s never the guy who’s unwilling. We want it all the time and it’s a foreign concept to us trying to understand that they don’t want it all the time. Why are we all wired like we are? Isn’t it an ugly fact that a man’s brain thinks in two completely separate ways depending on whether we have white gooey junk swimming in our balls or if we don’t? Why the hell should that make any difference to any intellectual processes? But my God, does it ever!”

Maybe I didn’t have enough liquid floating around down there that particular month, but I had been going though a rough emotional patch of late, and seemed to be dwelling on the fact that all my lost loves had names beginning with the letter S. He continued.

“Yeah, they’re interconnected – the brain and the dick, I mean. The heart is something else. The heart is that part of you that whispers to you while you’re doing Miss Bar Chick July 2007 that unless she is engaging to you, the experience is unfulfilling. The heart tells you that you need a particular girl, that only she will fulfil that particular space. Shit, I once travelled all the way to France because of that one sacred woman, and I knew in advance that I wasn’t even going to be able to make love to her! Being a guy is a constant battle between the brain, the heart and the dick. The dick generally seems to be winning in this day and age. Look outside.”

I did. On a billboard out front there was a woman in her twenties kneeling in front of an open fridge in the dark. The only clothes she had on were a tight T-shirt and on the bottom half just her underwear. She was looking up expectantly as if she had been called, and the words printed on the billboard were “Yes, Dad”. The ad was for juice or something. (Note: This actually was a billboard I saw in Asuncion, Paraguay in 2006.)

“We still rule the world,” he said.
3)

“It’s kind of weird, the way Germaine Greer thinks. I don’t know if she’s a lesbian or not, but I figure that whether she is or isn’t, she wants nothing to do with men. She thinks the fact that men penetrate women is just a reinforcement of the power imbalance of greater society, a submission of the woman. She’s right, of course,” and in surprise I stopped what I was doing – in this case, trying to teach my sister’s little kid to jump by holding a piece of chocolate just out of her reach, knowing that she will metaphorically be doing the same to the boys in about fifteen years. “Every time you penetrate a woman you feel the power. But how can you rail against our very biology? It is what it is, end of discussion. I admire the fight she has within her to argue against such futility. Do we say it’s wrong that the sky is blue?”

He paused. “I don’t care what she looks like, I would love to stick my dick in her. Talk about the power.”

 

My mood brightened upon crossing from Chile to Bolivia the next day, my home away from home. I didn’t repeat the experience though. On my way home on Valentine’s Day 2008 I paid whatever it would take to fly me directly from Cochabamba to Santiago to Melbourne. Then the current era began.