Sunday, June 27, 2010

hot and cold

I went to a party last night and there was this gorgeous Venezuelan boy with one of the sexiest accents imaginable. I was a little drunk and I really wanted to kiss him. Suddenly we had to leave and I was almost grateful, because I thought of Marido and how I'd like to kiss him the most.

I have one more long day of shooting and trekking tomorrow in Montevideo, and then I go home to Buenos Aires. I'm really looking forward to returning to my own freezing house and cooling my heels for a few days. Although this trip has been uncomfortable and a little bewildering, I am thankful for the work and have been experiencing this incredible feeling of wondering, wandering, and making things work. It is also a tremendous distraction from my pre-trip anxieties with Marido, which I am trying so hard not to obsess over.

I'm staying with a host I've couchsurfed with before, one of the nicest and most generous guys in all of Uruguay. And I feel like that says a lot, since I adore the Uruguayos. They are such a welcoming, caring people. I've been asking for quite a bit of assistance getting around town and reporting this guide, and most people are extremely helpful. On the bus yesterday to I don't even know where, the bus driver not only helped me to get where I was going, but inquired to where I was going afterward, and wrote directions for me as he drove, nearly swiping a parked car.

Being in town for the World Cup quarterfinals qualifying celebration was also a trip. Everyone headed downtown for the spontaneous celebration. It felt like they had won the title. As my host said, "People don't even care if they win. They will celebrate each victory because it could be the last." Thinking I could be Korean, people get grabbing and hugging me in the streets to console me and show solidarity. It was beautiful, and I was so glad to be here.

One of the strangest things about getting used to being alone is suddenly desiring the company of specific people, to whom I find myself constantly writing letters. It is like I cannot go a few days without writing to someone. When I am really happy, I miss people the most. I just want to share everything with my loved ones, but I am surrounded by strangers. Nice strangers, though.

Friday, June 18, 2010

this is what crazy looks like

I am totally insane this week. I have not been able to sleep, but I don't feel tired or even irritated. I wonder if I am just not used to being this happy. It has been hard to breathe without the aid of cigarettes.

Marido returned to Buenos Aires a few days early so we have been hanging out a lot. I was very excited to see him, to see if I would still feel the same about him. I did. It is not the excitement of meeting someone totally new and strange and beautiful. It is the strange sensation of being with someone who seems to understand you completely, without really knowing anything about you. I don't really get it, but I don't know if there's really anything to get.

During lunch of our second date he asked me if I wanted to go to Spain with him. Of course I want to go to fucking Spain with him. But whether I can, that is another story. And whether I should--well, I don't really traffic in those terms anymore.

Basically, this is what my brain and blood and body has felt like for the past three weeks--

Of course I have reservations about going on an overseas trip with a man I have spent a total of like 12 hours with. I asked him, "Is that a good idea?" And he said, "If we don't do crazy things like go to Spain with someone you just met--who will?"

You can see why I like this guy. My finger is on the trigger. But I am nervous--not because I think anything bad will happen, but because I'm pretty sure if I do go, I will fall completely in love. What a terrifying notion. I wondered aloud what the chances are of him being totally psychotic and he said, "I think you are more likely to be psychotic than I am."

I also just turned my remaining 5 weeks in Buenos Aires to 4 weeks, because I have to go to Montevideo next week to shoot another story (or two, hopefully). Jumping a plane to Spain would cut the 4 weeks down to about 10 days. That is just weird. It is all so much to handle that all I can do is lie awake and think about it until the sun rises. And the thoughts start with, "I need to sell at least three stories in the next three weeks," and then end up with "Hm, perhaps you should get the elastic fixed on that cute black dress of yours."

I have no idea what the hell is going on, but I only feel partially in control.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

planning for the future

My computer is out of commission and I just wrote this long blog and then accidentally erased it because I´m not used to the foreign keyboards. It happened in an instant! Meh.

Anyhow, I was talking about all the dangerous thinking that´s been going on during the past extremely insomniatic two weeks. I´ve been in this utopic state of mind where I can do no wrong, and nothing bad can befall me, and so of course I´ve been entertaining all sorts of ideas that involve Djibouti, Dakar, Micronesia, Bucharest, Budapest, Macau. You know.

I was stressed out because I have six weeks left in Buenos Aires and a decision has to be made concerning my apartment--whether to sublet it, or to leave it completely--and I am terrible at making decisions more than a few weeks out. I have basically tabled my plans to return to San Francisco in the fall, seeing as that would doom me to a happy life surrounded by the people I love most, and decided to strike out into new territory. The two top contenders at the moment are Mexico City and Budapest. Dreaming about places I have no knowledge of is great company for insomnia. But I also took a long time puzzling over if I have totally forgotten how hard it was when I first moved here, deaf and dumb and lonely and wandering. Yet I haven´t forgotten. I suppose I am just so surprised that I found so much peace and happiness here, that I want to look for it everywhere.

There are plenty of people who can understand this point, of not wanting to just sit back and enjoy beautiful something they´ve discovered, and would much rather move onto the next heartbreaking challenge. I am just now beginning to get this. But with people, it seems, and looking for love--I´m not sure how similar these things are. It seems to me that looking for a perfect place to call your home is kind of like looking for your true love, and it is especially true when you think of it in terms of finding those perfect pieces and truly "settling down." I mentioned my Marido last week and I wasn´t kidding---I know I say that a lot---but what is up when you know you could be happy with someone and somehow just aren´t ready for it? What does that mean? That you prefer to be single? Or just that you love the thrill of the chase?

I have been looking for love for so long that I think I may have forgotten that there was a goal to all this dating...and it wasn´t just for free drinks.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

it must be christmas

The dinner with Dimples was absolutely perfect, and the fact that he didn't stay over didn't bother me at all. I don't want to deal with his complicated romantic situations, but I am okay with crushing on him as a friend. That is my greatest M.O.

Anyhow, things don't seem so serious when you have a Plan B, and last night I went out with this older guy (40) who contacted me last month. He's a photographer as well, and if anything, OKCupid has linked me up with several cool photographers down here. I also thought it would be refreshing to go out with a guy who (hopefully) would be old-school enough not to mention an ex-girlfriend on a first date. And older guys usually pay for dinner.

I was haggard by the time we met up. I was so high on life Friday night that I couldn't sleep until almost six a.m., and then spent Saturday stressing over my malfunctioning camera, and then lugging all of my gear around town, trying to finish this story. I didn't think I would be very good company, but stick a few drinks in me and I'm pretty good to go.

The only reservation I had about meeting up with this guy was that he is from Argentina, and my dating experiences with the porteƱos have been less than ideal. But he has been living in my beloved San Francisco for the past decade-and-a-half, so that was another plus. He turned out to hit all of the right notes with me. While there wasn't wild chemistry or crazy sparks, I felt really comfortable around him--maybe it was the fatigue, the whiskey, or maybe I have finally gotten the dating thing down. It was weird. We talked about a lot of things and it was like nothing really needed that much explaining--what I was doing down here, why he left Buenos Aires, why his marriage didn't work out--same wavelength all around. It was a completely different dynamic than the one I have with Dimples, who I just find fascinating because I don't understand him at all.

The 24 always figures into these stories. He was being a gentleman and didn't invite me over, so he walked me to the bus stop and waited with me. We waited and waited and waited and when we finally spied it cruising down the block, we said our goodbyes but then the bus just blew by without stopping. He asked me back to his place, and I said yes.

He's leaving for Spain in a few days, and I doubt I'll see him again before he leaves, but I promised to be in touch in San Francisco.

Oh, life. When you're in love, you're in love. With everything, everyone, all of it, more more more.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Today I met up with Dimples for lunch, our third lunch date. I'd called him yesterday to invite him over for a dinner party I thought we were having tomorrow night (turns out it's Sunday), and he said yes to that, and then invited me to lunch today. I can't figure this kid out at all. On the one hand, he's totally not interested...and then he wants to meet up two days in a row? I don't get him.

He's mentioned some ex-girlfriends. Now call me old-fashioned, but whatever happened to that taboo of not bringing up exes on a first (or even second, come on) date. All these young lads seem to have no qualms about that. But today was exceptionally weird. He told me he was with a girl last night, but was into her friend, and blah blah blah. He was talking to me the way he would talk to his brother. Before I knew it, we were talking about an STD scare he had recently. This kind of shit I reserve for my closest friends. I had no idea how to respond to any of this because part of me is fascinated by it, and the other wonders "Why the fuck is he telling me this? And why do I still want to sleep with him?"

I do get him in some ways. I told him straight out I knew he was trying to get over someone, and this shocked him. When he mentioned going to a hospital for some reason, I said, "You thought you had herpes, didn't you." He said a lot of things, and it was pretty easy for me to piece things together. This is one of my specialty areas, seeing what people are really trying to say. But in the end, it I came home with the worst headache I've had since I thought I had dengue. My brain was just furiously trying to process all this shit. My roommate came home and I had to rehash everything through with her--how he talked about dating girls with borderline personality disorders, this 21-year-old he's infatuated with, as well as the 36-year-old pathological liar he practically allowed to move in with him here in Buenos Aires. Oh, and a girl he met at a party who flew from Japan to stay with him...and then he decided he couldn't stand her. But she was hot.

I tried to understand what he was telling me. Like I would ask him if he really thought it was a good idea to date sociopaths. Or if he really believed good sex alone could keep him intellectually satisfied for very long. But all this shit kept coming out. Mind you, this was our third time going out, and our other two lunches consisted mostly about talking about various Spanish phrases that we found interesting. The whole thing was so weird and maddening. Massive headache.

I kind of felt like he was trying to keep us on a buddy level. But on the other hand, one of the lessons I am constantly relearning in my thirty years of existence is that men always want sex. I put all the weird, un-matched pieces together in my head--the indifference, the sex tales, the juggling of ladies, yet the insistence to hang out--and none of it makes sense until I say "Oh, he just wants to let me know he's only interested in NSA sex. Because he's fucked up in this and this and this way."

And you know what, I'm okay with that. In fact, I think I had the same conversation with Joe in New York, only I was a lot more concise about it. My exact words were probably, "Don't expect anything more from me than this. I'm totally fucked up." And with that out in the open, everything was just hunky-dory from there on out.

Of course, I also just think that is the coward's way of saying, "I am hereby relinquishing all thoughtful matters to the custody of my genitals."

What a sad state of affairs. But I can dig it down here in the dirty south.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

southern winter

The onset of June shocks me. It is cold now in Buenos Aires--like San Francisco cold. My house isn't heated; the windows aren't insulated; I am cold. I've been here for six months now, save a few weeks here and there, and this too I find shocking. Not because it's been so long, but because I'm realizing that what makes a place your home isn't your level of comfort, or how many people you know, it's just your desire to call a place home. For now, this is home.

It was cold and rainy on Saturday night and I didn't feel all that great, but I ordered in anyhow--put a call in to my young lover, El Gengibre. We lay in my twin bed and watched low-quality movies that I'd downloaded on my laptop. It's the kind of thing I feel like you would do with someone you've known for a lot longer than two weeks, but I suppose being down here has done away with a lot of formalities. When I lived in New York, I felt like dating was all about creating an image of yourself that you then had the stress of living up to. But here we don't have such illusions of grandeur. Literally: Hey, this guy speaks my language. And suddenly you're comfortable enough to be bedfellows, dirty tissues and all. Not that I've ever been one for grandstanding, but the way I live down here...not so glamorous. Any one who sticks around for this with me, I feel, is kind of in the same mindset as me. So for now, we are just...keeping each other warm. The way that he holds me when we sleep feels far too intimate, but it is partially because our beds are so small. This forced intimacy can delude a person into thinking they are truly loved. But is it really delusional? Love is different when options are limited. You love the one you're with. Period.

It's too bad Dimples doesn't feel that way, but, eh. El Gengibre keeps me warm when I need him. And there is something very beautiful about that. And it is nice to have someone to make eggs for on a Sunday morning. No wonder it feels like home here.