A truck passed me on Periferico when I was waiting for the bus. It was an old semi, not uncommon in this part of town. The thing that caught my eye was the flat tire on one of the double tires. The truck was not slowing down, or even taking notice. It just kept going with that flat tire flapping against the asphalt. That was what I noticed this week. The flaws.
Sometimes when you live in a place long enough, you stop seeing the warts and scars. Like any relationship, you hit the days when you see the flaws and you ask questions. For me, few flaws are worth abandoning the relationship. It has to be something that can only end in pain. Today is a day of questions. Looking around and seeing the world, noticing that it’s not quite a dream.
I have that problem sometimes when I wake up, and I don’t know where I am, how I got here, or what happened to the ship I was just on. Maybe it’s because I just renewed my contract with the school I work for. Maybe it’s thinking what I’m going to do when I leave here. Maybe it’s just my family moving from San Diego to Atlanta, leaving me with far less reason to visit home.
The sunrise in this city is beautiful. Normally I’m more interested in sunset, something about my mindset when I have to get up before the light of day for work. The city is usually awake long before sunrise, the people making food, preparing for the morning rush, or just getting an early start. The streets are all set up on a grid pattern, letting the sun cut through, lighting everything in a way to hide all the scars. Someone once told me if you start a photoshoot expecting to use photoshop your setting yourself up for failure. It makes me wish I had a camera that could see things as they are.
Even through the scars you can still see the things you always loved. I remember management complaining when people hugged at work, just in case it might offend someone. I was walking through work and saw a couple walking through, stopping to kiss deeply, in a way people only do in private, or as someone leaves on a plane in the States. Here, that’s ordinary, even expected. It’s sweet, and you can always see the love between the people. Back home, we hide our emotions so we don’t offend people, or to keep our feelings secret. The more I study the social contract, the more I wish everyone did. I wish they would learn to question things, and to move past the things that cannot survive the questions.
Then, there’s the other side of things. I wonder why the parking lot at that company always smells like poop. The strange thing is that it’s never the same kind of poop. Sometimes it’s sewage, like back when I was a plumber. Other times it smells like manure, which makes sense with the cows living next door. Other times it smells like cat shit, the awful rancid kind where you have to clean the catbox immediately. Occasionally it’s fine, but most of the time I’m glad to get inside. And why only the front parking lot, not the back?
There are other things, like the subway. I like it most of the time. I can usually get a seat, and its smooth enough that I can usually nap for the trip. I used to try and study, but it’s just too loud to hear the phone. Then there’s the people on the subway. Most of the time they aren’t really notable, just people on their way to wherever they go. On Friday though, there was one girl, young, pretty, but very strange. She looked a bit concerned when she first sat down, but the look didn’t go away. Then, a woman sat down next to her with a baby. Nothing special, the baby didn’t cry, or do anything other than look around. I swear the girl’s face changed from concerned to a mix of concerned and freaked out. It was like the baby was a freaking alien or something. The girl never looked away from the baby, like she thought it might kill her if she did. I could barely hold back the laughter.
I keep thinking back to the problem with Mexico, and a news article I read. Someone is repainting a lot of the crosswalks in Mexico City, trying to make the city safer for the pedestrians. Half the article was about the work their doing, and the other half was about how it didn’t matter. It talked about how no one stops for crosswalks unless there is a speed bump in front of it. When the news is that disillusioned, what hope does anyone else have?
I do love this city, but like anything in life, I always question things here. I wonder how I will see it once I’m gone, what will really stay with me as I move on.