viernes, 27 de agosto de 2010

"Send a letter and we'll be sure to get back to you"

I am certain I have shed light on the phenomenon that is free thought and how it has infested the analogical mind of the common man here, yet certain events today have spurred me to make further scribblings:

“I was diligently working in the confines of our office when low and behold, the sound of gunshots filled our mundane air. I flew to the window to gaze down upon the vanguard of a rally/demonstration. As I had constructed previous arrangements to meet a client for coffee, I had no choice but to follow my curiosity. I should add that many events not unlike these have marched into my scope before, yet somehow the number of police and the steady sound of explosives had suggested this might offer a spot more excitement. So off I trotted, downstairs, out the door, to be greeted by a thick wall of smoke and Pablobians scattered around the main road, placing fireworks and such like on the tarmac, lighting them and scurrying back amid excited yells and rhythmic chants. This was straight up anarchy. Hundreds of protesters filled my sight.

Naturally, I wasn’t the least bit concerned as to what the reason for all this fuss might be, no doubt one of the following: 'We’re bored self-righteous students applying book read philosophies to a world we know little about' or possibly: 'I got pregnant when I was 12 yrs old and drunk off potato vodka, please create some rights for me'...or my favorite: 'The British stole an unpopular holiday resort...and some oil, lets take a stroll through the streets to mark our discontent'.

Anyway, I thought it best that I maintain my distance but, nonetheless, continued my observations. As per usual, they had employed a spearhead of men with paisley patterned handkerchiefs around their faces and long sticks or metal poles in their hands. It was these chaps' job to clear the streets, which had obviously cleared its self quite effectively...paisley has that effect. Behind this unruly bunch, were the problem solvers and drum bangers. Trailing behind, far behind due to the extensive size of this fun train, were the families, general stringer-ons and exclusive fans of large groups of people and consistent noise.

I had had quite enough for the day, the kafuffle was beginning to irritate me and I had no intentions to follow their plight. The moment had passed, for me that is, and I strolled off to the capitalist comforts of my favorite cafe/spice haven."

Moral of the story: “long walks through cities good, paisley and fireworks... bad.”

miércoles, 25 de agosto de 2010

Scouts and skirts: Bayden-Powell would have approved

Despite being in denial for some time, today I am fully aware that I possess the navigational skills of a little girl and yet, I continue to put my GPS under unnecessary strain. I draw attention to this fact merely because I have realised that I promised, some time ago, that I ought to retell a few rather important adventures, intentionaly and non-intentionally that way, which called on me to lean on absent boy scout skills...

“...There lies in this city a ridiculous public transport system. I was aware that there would come a time when I would have to take its reins and march a little closer to ‘knowing’ the place and immersing myself in the waves of smugness that inevitably follow. That time had come, I was due to congregate with other persons and so I took it upon myself to plan my journey by the means the "colectivo". I had a brief glance at the ‘GUIA T’( guide book for bus routes...they are all public owned and therefore move independently and unfortunately, temperamentally) in the hope that I might have my next steps planned. Thus, fueled by enthusiasm, a touch of Hendrick’s gin, bus numbers, a few road names and the arrogance of youth, I saw it a royal time as any to set off, which I the wrong direction.

“Well Freddie, look at you, finally brushing off the considerable doubt of hypothetical scout leaders......”

I was so very pleased with myself that I continued to boldly plough on, certain that the road names I should have been reading were waiting for me patiently. They were indeed, just not where I was heading. I had wandered into the heart of Constitución (I live on the edge, everyday flirting with danger and my three Peruvian girls). I was in the heart of darkness: the heart of the city’s quite delightful crime epicentre and ‘transvestite prostitution market’. One cannot find a female prostitute in the heart of darkness, the market, it would seem, is a tad specific.

By the time my rational voice had crept up on me and quietly whispered:
“Umm Freddie”
“Yes,” I duly replied.
“It would appear that we’re trotting in the wrong direction old fellow. Oh, and one more thing....we’re surrounded by men in skirts; this is not Sparta.”
“Well that’s very observant of....”
“Well...does this strike you as a salmon pink trouser and cerulean blue top type of area?’re a lamb in lambs’ clothing Frederick, no good can come of this.”....

It was as if the fog of enthusiasm had cleared and there I stood, in all my Surrey-Kent border glory, standing erectly in a dark street whilst prostitutes accumulated around me. The whistling started, the taunts...the probing questions...:

“Hey, white boy, why you here!”
“What you looking for?”
“Where you going?” and large a fairly deep and meaningful set of questions. Does anyone ever know where they are going...

Soon pimps began to join our jolly, philosophical party. I began to quicken my pace, aware that my time was somewhat limited and soon, Freudian retorts would not satisfy the appetites of my new best friends.

I had to get in a taxi, a bus...I would ride a small marsupial should one pass. Alas, there were no taxis, neither marsupials. There was a bus with a number I knew not but a destination that had to be better than my current one. I jumped on and peered out the window at the wake of high heels and pressured equipment I had left behind.

Moral of the story: “just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.” Interpret that how you will.

lunes, 23 de agosto de 2010

Being blue eyed and blonde was never this hard...

It seems I’m encircled by linguistical bars that keep me enclosed in an anglophonal zoo of sorts. Yet, as discussed previously, my chiseled, Imperial features are contributing significantly to the upkeep of these bars. My house of sculpture (gym), or the one I now limp into in order to do physio (exercising every muscle but the one’s you can actually see), is becoming a source of considerable amusement; everyone thinks I look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This has been initialized by a personal trainer, Pablo:

So, there I was, chatting to him about personal perfection and what it was like to have reached it, when he suddenly goes…

“arrrrrrnol sneggar”

“What the bigglesworth Pablo…what are trying to say? Come on lassy…where is it girl..what? They’ve taken the 4 wheel drive, 3ltre, bmw and crashed it into a rare species of Canadian maple tree?” I replied.

“No, no u look like arrrrnol…u know (the ‘k’ was probably unnecessary there)..Arnol.” He then carries out a lacklustre performance of some gun fight, I can only assume it belonged to a 'Terminator' film.
“Ah, je comprends, I’m not sure I quite agree but yes, the basic structure is certainly there,” I shot back at him, accompanied with a slight flexing of my left pectoral muscle.
“No, it your face.” He half laughed back at me.
“What the fuck Pablo, thanks a lot, why is it that I look German to everyone?.... I’m hardly the senator of California or even one of the boys in a Hitler youth propaganda poster.”

Regardless, Pablo has since been dining off his supposed light bulb moment ever since and worse, like some dogmatic, South American disciple, he’s been spreading the word. Consequently, it is the common man who now tries to catch a look (at my face) and then go scuttling off to the Pablo dwelling rockery to cackle away in agreement. I’m taking it all in my measured stride and even embraced the joviality. Just the other day I was conversing with a couple of Pablobians, asked to be excused to use bathroom and, as I walked away I turned, narrowed my eyes and grumbled: “I’ll be back”. They absolutely bloody loved it, I bloody loved, we all bloody loved it. Good delivery, good timing, great material…no one stood a chance.

Moral of the story: “looking German doesn’t presuppose a lack of humour.”

lunes, 9 de agosto de 2010

The one with the pregnant woman, 3 Peruvians and a sprinkling of paco: this is not pornography

A healthy mixture of disgruntlement and fear is coursing through the office veins. In the last month, two pablobians have met the cruel hand of authority. One of which was pregnant, neither kept any dignity, both leaving a wake of tears behind them: glorious pablobian tears, justified by the public recognition of a fairly awful start to a mother-child relationship.

“What I do? I have job!” I heard her sob and thus, drawn by the sound of a woman's tears, the scent of vulnerability and a wonderfully low self-esteem, I trotted off to find the source.
“Oh, good afternoon Pablita ( subsequently they had made her work all day before telling her to piss off), you hardly seem in good spirits.” I chirped brightly.
“I lost baby,” she snuffled back at me whilst pointing at her stomach. I was well aware of where the baby might be, directions were not required.

I replied with condolences, inappropriately suggestive comfort hugs and internal laughter that warmed the area where my soul ought to be. She had lost her job and failed in the early stages of motherhood...was it too late for a good old fashioned donkey punch..or maybe Morrisons’ value coat hangers. A D.I.Y. job beckoned...besides, she hardly had the money. Had she but held on to her post for a following 4 months all would have been well and rosy, but alas, she did not. One would have thought I might have some compassion for such a dire situation, but alas, I do not.

What more...ah, yes, of course. The spoils of war are soon to be reaped: my current landlord, who also happens to be a lying, worthless piece of low life, obsessed by money and indescribably mentally fragile, is apparently to be moving out the house. It has eventually come to his attention that to live with those you viciously tax is not a wise life decision. Naturally, this did not sprout from unfertile soul. Along with an anonymous female north Londoner, I have been sowing the seeds of anarchy. Only the other day I got every single cat in the house neutered, along with the one he keeps elsewhere but, foolishly, brought back for a couple of days. Little does he know that these pathetic emotional users shall never breed. All thanks to the work of some plastic scissors. Added to this we continually alter the picture arrangement in the house. For a man with OCD, this hurts, although possibly not as much the aforementioned punishment administered.

I have been met with continuous resistance to my colonial aspirations, it seems many are unwilling to accept I am fundamentally better than they. For example, once again my chiseled features and soft, exfoliated complexion have place me in troubles’ embrace:

I was on my way back from work, a glorious image of superiority and colour coordination, riding along on a woman’s vintage racing bike. I believe I was sporting a saffron yellow jumper, pastel chinos, a French beret nesting carelessly on my head and a cashmere scarf drapping gloriously around my neck. Anyway, I stopped at my local veg shop to sort out food for the dinner I was to be cooking, a string of Moroccan dishes incidentally. After chatting away with my three Peruvian girls, whose shop it is, about what 3 spices they would take to a desert island, I payed and began to walk to where my bike was placed.

All of a sudden I’m confronted by this Pablo, around 25, drunk, high( off Paco I assumed) and without an item of cashmere in sight.

“money.” He said to me.
“donkey.” I replied, assuming we were playing the random word game.
“money.” He repeated.
“donkey.” I replied once more, knowing that this was unlikely to ever become a successful musical number...Simon and Garfunkel we were not.

The issue at this point was that I had some coins in my hand. Usually I don’t even think about it, I just shake my head and glide off into the distance. Today I did no such thing. The high spirits I was in meant that I handed him the coins and stood back. At this point, I must add that my danger raydar was beeping furiously.

“No. I see you pay for vegetable. More!” He requested of me rather rudely and began to get closer.

In a flash, however, one of the Peruvian girls comes out and tells me I had forgotten something. This was odd, as I was certain I had everything in my.... "oh...right, well yes. Thank you very much." I chirped back and allowed her to lead me back into the shop( which has an open front, only a wall of veg separated us from the outside world) and told me to stay where I was...I was unlikely to move. Instead I began to arm myself with sweet potatoes and a large aubergine.

Whilst I was preparing for a ratatouille based battle, my three girls led a verbal volley on my potential assaulter, all of them yelling at him in brilliant Peruvian unison. It must only have been a couple of minutes and yet it felt like hours as my life flashed before me and I winced at the image of my 12year old self in all its centre parting, quicksilver shame.

I had been saved by the collective height of around 4metres....Lord of the Rings in reverse. I thanked them and swore my eternal allegiance to their vegetable selling cause and gave them a number to call, should they ever be in need of help.....a number that obviously directed straight to the police station: I was thankful, not stupid.
So, the moral of the story is this: just because they’re short, doesn't mean you shouldn't talk to them.

jueves, 5 de agosto de 2010

Something I found in the closet...

Rummaged around my scribblings and found a piece from the start of the year.....

“Had the office end of year party the other day and I think that in the office party there is one person who ends up embarrassing himself, thus I decided, in advance, that it would be best if this person wasn’t me. However, there’s a difference between thoughts you’ve carefully constructed beforehand and those enlightened, cerveza infused ones you throw crudely around in the moment. I had found the light, and with that I took a nice big tequila sledgehammer and reduced my previous thoughts to rubble.

….. the party was at this Mexican restaurant, all nice and polished. We had a floor rented where everyone was to sit themselves for dinsies( there’s always that moment when you sit down at events like this and you say to yourself: “how much food can I possibly get away with eating before it seems rude…or someone realises?”). Anyway, there was champagne at the start( served in quarter sized, eunuch bottles), which, unsurprisingly, proceeded to die out swiftly, to be replaced by….soft drinks….what? “Pablo, where the hell are the beers you filthy man-kisser? I can’t possibly carry out the demolition of my sensible thoughts with Pepsi…I’d end up a shaky, hyperactive mess or like someone who accidentally got hold of a child's ADD medicine”. Luckily, I sought refuge in the naughty corner, where we proceeded to make our way gently through what we had available(i.e. they drank beer whilst I supped on some quite delightful rosé).

I think, all in all, I kept my composure, owing the majority of thanks to the fact that the winds of translation whisked away 75% of the unfiltered material that tripped out of my head."