The class is done, and the work was the least of the difficulty. We were talking to the teacher afterwards, and he said from the first day he was warned this class would be difficult. Eight people, from so many places.
One a local hustler. Another a Brit living in Honduras. A retired Midwesterner with a Masters Degree. A bartender from New York coming from a vacation across India and a home in Spain. The young Brit who may border on alcoholism, but is still a good kid. A Mexican-American with dual citizenship who is a native bilingual. A long time flight attendant and nurse who had trouble with all the shows on television being in Spanish. Then there was the bard, listening to the music people make.
The nurse never made it through. Two others may never make it in the industry. The rest are harder to predict. They have their goals, but whether they will remain teachers is a question. Either way, life goes on, whether we fight upstream, or coast down it.
There is too much to really tell, too much I don’t remember clearly because of how much happened. The food poisoning on Sunday didn’t help either. Nor did the bird shitting on me on the same day. Even with eastern and western medicines I’m still not one hundred percent today. Or the back spasm today that gave me cold sweats and some trouble breathing for a few minutes.
The people are always what fascinate me, though. Hearing the things that come out of people’s mouths, the things that they are so sure of when they don’t understand anything of what they are saying. Hearing them admit they are wrong, then try and prove they are right anyhow. Hearing their lies, and having them ask about the lies, like they were never taught the truth in the first place. Most people need a reason to lie, but a few need a reason to tell the truth.
Sometimes I’d participate, yelling to make a point when what I heard was so stupid I began to speak before I realized it. Sometimes I’d just willfully antagonize people, questioning their beliefs, finding the holes, and stacking on more questions. Sometimes I just listen, recording notes for future use. Some characters in the world are more grand than any we can create on paper. Some people cannot be believed even as they live and breathe in front of us.
The greatest amusement I found came with the grinding of teeth. It wasn’t so much that he believed what he said, but that he couldn’t really explain what he believed. I understood, but the words made no sense in the context. Spirituality mixed with extreme materialism. An absolute belief held up by illogical reasoning. A perfectly ordered and functioning madness with no space for flexibility or change. So many things I would have never believed. In the end, he was a man with faith, but no real hope beyond this world. Maybe it’s a blessing, maybe a tragedy.
I accepted a job teaching business English at a local school. I hear there is a lot of travel, but it should be good experience for six months or a year. After that I need to move to a another school, teaching younger students to practice for China. Or maybe I’ll spend a year in Cambodia first. There are too many options to even begin to consider.
I do want to stay in this city for a time. It is such a strange place. I’ve never know that a people could have such small dreams. Everyone knows the question, what do you want to be when you grow up. Back home, the answer is always a god. The greatest doctor, or musician, or actor. Iron man, or superman. Bill gates, or the president. Here, they want to be a lawyer, or a nurse. To have their own business, or to just make enough to not have to scrape by. The dream is to be what most Americans never appreciate. To be comfortable, happy, and safe.
There are times when my dreams are that small, that easy to quantify. Usually, they are impossible. I take martial arts to fight off the zombie apocalypse, or to defeat Sijo Wong in single combat. The zombie apocalypse is actually the more reasonable possibility of the two. I travel to become a polyglot, and speak twenty languages fluently, while studying people of every culture. I study to know myself, the traditional path of enlightenment, awakening in this dreamworld. I teach to expand the student’s dreams, to help them strive for the impossible. My dreams are always impossible, because sometimes, just sometimes, they become my reality.
Only one thing this week made me truly angry. I was walking through a street market on Avenida Mexico and I found myself grating my teeth. There was a man, joyfully playing an acoustic guitar, completely butchering Another Brick in the Wall, by Pink Floyd. That song is not happy, it is pain, anger, sorrow, and shame. You do not prance around while playing, singing, or even thinking of that song. You absolutely never change the lyrics just enough so they mean the same thing, but you’re still butchering the song. Even knowing I was doing it and why wouldn’t allow me to relax my jaw until I was out of ear shot. It was like someone making a replica of the Taj Mahal out of balloon animals, pausing every now and again to make fart noises.
On the other side of it, there was a group of street musicians singing opera and playing classical instruments. I wandered around between songs, stopping to listen with everyone else. They sang beautifully, and I was sad it was so short. I kept wandering, but that is what stays with me. That music. I always wish I could sing, but I have neither the range nor the power to make the sounds I want to hear.
This was a perfect changeover from my old life. It was an extremely ordered class, with a well tread pattern and business model, mixed with the absolute chaos that comes with too many strong personalities in a small room. I wonder what the class of twenty would have been like with these people. I wonder if the others would have just been drowned out by the noise we made.
I remember the question of the two hundred twenty seven servings of coffee creamer used in one day, the discussion of the significance of man in the universe, and the existence of the soul and how it dies with the body. Questions of hygiene, alcoholism, judgement, and the difference of opinion over the slightest discrepancy. Some days I couldn’t believe adults act this way. Other days, I wish everyone had the passion I saw in front of me.