January 4, 2011

the night BEFORE the night that we slept on a park bench and a guy peed in the bushes next to me and offered me beer from a plastic bag

Everyone else's memory is of THE night.  THE night when we missed our train and slept on a bench in a park.  But my best memory is of the night before THE night.

Did I ever tell you that I watched Slumdog Millionaire with 2 Norwegian guys in a 40 seat theater at the back of a hostel in Barcelona at 1 in the morning?  I think I have, but who cares.  Nobody's forcing you to read this.

It was the most insignificant thing; I was tired and Pau and Angie wanted to use the computers at Kiah and Susan's hostel before we headed back.  We had to take the subway to get to our place on the outskirts of the city and nobody would have contact with family for a few days.  Literally the only reason we'd stopped there was because Paulina and Angelina were homesick; I was perfectly happy wandering around Spain aimlessly.  In my mind, what was a few extra days, or even weeks?  It's strange how you almost forget that home exists.

Well, I'd gone into the "computer room", checked my email, and chatted with my sister for about 10 minutes.  Funny how quickly we ran out of things to say - this was literally every conversation that we had while I was gone:

"what's up?"
"not much.  It's hot."
"it's hot here too, even at night.  how's work?"
"it's good.  Julie [her boss] and I went out to lunch today and then to the container store."
"that sounds fun.  did you buy anything?"
"no, I'm fucking poor."
"oh, that sucks."
"yeah.  so where are you?"
"[Insert the place that I am].  It's beautiful.  [Insert name of random roommate] is being crazy, though."
"that sucks.  what did she do?"
"[Insert crazy thing that she did]."
"you want me to tell her to stop being so fucking crazy?"
"no, I'll figure something out.  I'm gonna go, I'm pretty tired."
"say hi to mom and dad for me."
"love you."
"love you, too."

- or maybe it's just that we didn't need to say a lot.  We could talk about experiences later; you don't want to reminisce too early - it ruins the fun of actually doing something.

So I told them I was done (some crazy brit wanted to use the comp anyways) and that I'd be next door; it sounded like Transformers was playing or something, maybe I could take a nap in there - at least it was dark.

But when I walked in, it was something completely different.  I was instantly engrossed.  The darkness didn't have the effect I'd imagined - instead of dulling my senses I was wide awake.  Sounds were louder, smells stronger, colors brighter.  I sat, and I watched, and I thought about the time I'd spent away and the things that I'd dome.  I thought about my friends and my plans and my finances.  And then I finally thought about me, about how I felt at that moment, at that exact moment.

I had a feeling of complete transcendence; here I was, a Mexican-American, sitting in a hostel in Spain with Norwegians watching a film that took place in India where they spoke Hindi and English.

Have you ever wanted to take a moment and put it in a bottle and seal it air-tight, so that when you got it out again it was just as fresh as when you put it in?  It's more that a photo or a mental image; it's feeling the same way, exactly, as you did when you were in the moment.  I finally did it, and hearing this music is all that I need to bring it up again.

Someone remind me to look up this night in my diary; maybe I'll post my entry.