Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hide and seek

[do keep scrolling down if you've come for the translations]

Another mind numbing day for news.

In Madrid, in the aftermath of the horrendous fire, they're still felling trees left and right. In Mexico, another high profile snatch and run kidnapping for large bucks, this time the coach of a major football team. In the States, Niger still means phantom uranium instead of...what it is. And in the States, the new Supreme Court nominee is being touted as "good-looking." No, not. Cute is, in fact, Villaraigosa [the new mayor of LA, for those who've not had the pleasure], on quite a few levels.

Tourism continues to plummet in Ireland and soar in Catalunya. As if the cachet of horrid weather, expensive everything and resolute dedication to the virtue of rudeness could last forever. Just walk the streets. In Dublin - and not just on the Northside - one must practice constant defensive maneuvers, and you'll still probably end up bruised and battered. But in Barcelona there is a certain duende to the to and fro, an exquisitely intuitive sense of the flow of bodies about one. Yes, precisely. Like the night and day difference between a boorish and a fine lover.

But tonight I'm playing my own version of pin the tale on the donkey. Eyes closed, pin in hand, globe spinning [always the last thing to be packed]...playing it like a ouija board, I imagine. Hoping that some smart part of my psyche will touch the fingers that hold the pin and finally find the precise spot where I've always meant to be.

Because reason fails, as it so often does. Reason might whisper Biarritz, because, even if the heavens were to fall, the cassoulet will always give comfort and make me weep. Or Budapest, because the flats are eminently affordable and the stuff of my dreams. Deeply unevolved dreams, of course, of fresh snowfall on ancient cobbled streets. Or Krakow because it still exists, especially in the long winter, an exquisite, implacably triumphant city of certain magic.

Yes, yes. The insistent allure of faded glory, still to be plumbed in the quiet detail of a place. A specific, knowable barrio or street corner or lamp. Just touch it and...

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