Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sueltame que bailo sola

September 10, 2006

My new neighborhood makes me smile. After a day of reading cases, making small talk with my lockermate, and debating anti-loitering ordinances in my head, I come home on the 14th Street bus, often jam packed, evesdropping on one-side phone conversations, smiling at jokes between the bus driver and regular riders, and watching, watching everybody. Who are all these people, where are they from, what are they going home to? When started school, I thought I would finally meet new people like me. I imagined conversations we would have about our classes and our passions. Instead, I feel surrounded by kids who talk about football and who was grinding with who at whatever sports bar the school happy hour was at last night. They're not bad people, I told Jamey on the phone, but they're just... not cool. At all. Like not even lukewarm. If they were a temperature, actually, I think it would be the temperature of pee.

Animese! I learned this command from Washington Hispanic newspaper today: cheer up. Everyone is lonely sometimes, I tell myself. Focus on the positive. Understanding snatches of one sided Spanish phone conversations on the bus makes me happy. Walking down 14th Street in the dusk, passing groups of people socializing, calling across the street to each other, even commiserating outside Alcoholicos Anonimos, makes me feel connected with humanity. I feel no connection with my fellow students, though, who seemed so concerned about whether Dick got down with Jane or when the professor will call on them in class and if they will know the answer when he does. One of my professors is 3 years younger than me. And he calls me Miss Miller and I guess I would call him Professor Fontana except that there is never really a chance to talk to professors directly in a class of 100+ students. Especially when a few of them insist on wasting 1/2 of the class period with questions about how to circumvent the ABA's ethics obligations so you can bill more hours. Animese, animese!! Fuck, it's not working.

While I'm in a down mood, I might as well mention that an old friend from grade school committed suicide two weeks ago. I send his mother a sympathy card with a Rothko print on it today. It was the yellow and white painting -- appropriately meditative, but redemptive -- and as I was looking at it, I thought, I should get some more somber cards to keep around for things like this. And I felt a wave of bitterness, frustration with the wrongness of it, that here I am, at age 32, buying funeral stationary. It's just not right, it's just never right, but it happens anyway. Jonathan, you will be missed.

I think a lot about a picture I forgot to take of some graffiti in Santo Domingo near El Conde. Scrawled in rushed spray paint, it said, "Sueltame, que bailo solo." I looked it up in the dictionary, and best I can tell it means, "Let go of me, that I dance alone." It still feels heartbreakingly profound, and tomorrow I return to class for the next song.

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