We’re at the bar. The defunct bar. The one in front of Hotel Aeroflot.
I’m at the central table, munching on some chicken and engaging in conversation. Tony is talking about something- every so often he walks over to the grill, to tend to the pieces of chicken he’s barbecuing.
The afternoon is bright and sunny, and the weather is great.
As it usually is on Sal island.
Tony is saying something about squid season. He says it’s currently squid season, and that soon some guys’ll be going out to fish for squid in the ocean.
Hm. Sounds interesting.
I imagine squid has a special place in the hearts of Cape Verdean locals. Because amongst other things you generally don’t really need money to access squid meat. You just need to go out and fish, or something.
For me right now- sitting on this wooden bar stool, staring at the crystal blue Atlantic Ocean barely ten metres away from my position here in the shade, squid meat feels especially accessible to me right now.
Like I could walk right into the ocean right now, and straight-up grab some squid.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just hungry.
I probably just need to accompany people on a squid fishing expedition or something, to get some of that calamari in my system.
But stuff like eg sausages? Imported stuff you can only get at the mini-mercados? All that stuff costs money.
And honestly, thinking about anything that requires me to have units of bank-issued currency right now- That- that just gives me a headache.
I’ve got no money.
The sorts of currency I possess, exist in other forms: I’ve got time. I’ve got my hands and legs to walk about and do stuff.
Accessing my needs via these channels – that feels way less stressful than having to think of bank issued currency as a factor intermediating between me my essential life needs.
Hm- You know, I might just go along on that squid-hunting expedition with the people Tony is talking about.
We’re still chatting.
There’s me, Tony, Danny and his wife who are on vacation (from the US, I think), Roberto, and sometimes Romano.
Tony has been friends with Danny and his wife- for like a number of years I think. They visit Cape Verde every now and then, and when that happens they meet up with Tony and co. They’re very nice people. They’re generally the ones bankrolling our supply of barbecued chicken right now.
I can’t complain: I live for free in a studio apartment here at the defunct Hotel Aeroflot. I spend my time generally trying to figure out my next steps in life – me being on a gap year from college in the US and all.
Again, I have no money. These wonderful people periodically set some chicken here up on a grill – about thirty seconds from where I wake up in the morning. They provide food, drinks and much needed company.
I’m not complaining. I’m not complaining at all.
Danny’s wife made fun of me one time. We were through with the chicken- and then not long after, I mentioned that I wanted to head somewhere to do something.
She looked at me and went, “Yeah go ahead. Eat and Run”.
Funny. Very funny. Great wordplay.
But I didn’t find it funny. Not at the time at least. I was actually pretty hurt. It spoke too directly to the reality of my financial situation. I didn’t even notice the wordplay until much later.
Haha. Hahaha. “Eat and Run”. Hah.
I’ve been thinking of getting a tattoo.
The thought has been very pronounced in my mind.
Like an impulse. Not a rushed spur-of-the-moment impulse, no.
It feels like something I absolutely need to do. Like something necessary. Like something vital – something that fulfils some deep-seated psychological need.
I don’t really get it.
It’s like there’s this groove in my personal space of thoughts, that I find myself periodically being sucked into once I’m in its vicinity.
Hm, I need to figure out what to do today. Mohammed says I can get some bread and coffee at the Baye Fall meeting later this evening. I need to go charge my laptop at some point – some documents I need to work on. Tony is saying something interesting about the tourist agencies on — TATTOOOOOOOO
Like this screaming voice that hijacks my thoughts every now and then.
I don’t really understand the feeling.
But I’m not fighting it.
I’ve been thinking about what sort of a tattoo to get.
Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons has really been on my mind over like the past year or so.
I got introduced to it in freshman year of college – in Multimodal Communications class.
It’s supposed to be some sort of abstract art, but with words.
So- similar to how abstract visual art generally doesn’t seem to have obvious denotative suggestions, but rather depends on some sort of mental state/contextual understanding that you project onto it to give it meaning, Tender Buttons does not make sense when you read the literal words in its pages.
It has sentences like “The change in that is that red weakens an hour”.
Sorry, the change in what?
It generally requires you to think about words and the intention behind a sequence of words in a different mosaic-esque sort of way, to make some meaning of it.
Stein’s intention behind the work was to enable the reader “understand without remembering”– something like that. Like you’re reading English words you come across every day, but these words elicit images in your mind that remind you of nothing you’ve ever encountered before.
Honestly with art sometimes I can’t tell if something is profound and surreal and shockingly non-intuitive, or if the whole thing is a scam and everyone’s just having an “Emperor’s new clothes” effect.
Regardless, there’s a specific line from the book that has been resonating in my thoughts since Berlin.
“All this and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is spreading.”
It has honestly felt like some sort of a spiritual mantra to me in recent times. Like a bible verse I clutch tightly to and build my life around, because it makes me feel safe.
That’s what that has been like.
I’ve been thinking of getting that as a tattoo. Around my arm somehow.
I’m still trying to figure out how to do it exactly.
Image: Sal Island. Hitching a ride to Santa Maria with two UK tourist guys on the hood of their quad bike.