I pack the vape back into my bag. The tiny microdose of marijuana from the electrical cigarette make things slow down just a bit. I feel less in a rush. Calmer. Present. I’ve been working in a coffee shop for about 6 hours non-stop. Loving what you’re working on so much can make six hours feel like thirty minutes. It feels good to be outside in the afternoon sun. The central square is alive with activity. People selling a variety of things. Colourful balloons, a new straight ballon of sorts that shoots high into the air and then floats softly down, seems to be popular. They hang in the air all over the square with screaming, happy children waiting to catch them below. Cotton Candy also in vivid sugary colours in clear plastic bags tied onto long sticks that serve to carry and to market the product. Young girls in traditional Mexican dress walk around selling bright textiles. Table runner type things.
I am looking for an ATM and store to buy a notebook, but I don’t have an exact destination in mind. I simply walk where the people are. I turn left and right without thinking. I love getting lost in a city. Seeing something I’ve not seen before. The streets, informal stores that line them and the formal retail beyond the sidewalk, are all busy. Saturday afternoon. I make an effort to make eye contact with as many people as I can as I walk. No other gringos in this part of town. If someone looks back at me I smile and greet them. Ninety-five percent of people’s initially blank faces light up as I smile. It feels like there is a string from the corner of my lips that I control. When I smile the string pulls and lifts the other person’s face.
“Just me and my guitar ...” sound the lyrics through my headphones. An upbeat song on a Spotify playlist my friend Simon and I share the music we love. “GP and SL“. This would be an amazing track for me to play when I DJ on my boat party. A small dream that I have to organise a party on a boat. Not more than five seconds have passed since this thought, I look up. In front of me the green and striped awning and with black print “la nueva esperanza”, the name of the guitar shop. Wow, if you ever needed a sign that you’re thinking about things that inspires you.
I continue to walk, grateful for that guitar realisation. I’m making an effort to be aware of every feeling that arises and question why I feel that way. I see a mannequin with a punk hairstyle. Anxious. ‘Who the fuck has hair like that’. I catch myself.
Are you joking? You tell yourself a story about a hairstyle on a doll and then you allow yourself to feel anxious. When I spell it out for myself like that I realise just how crazy that is. The link is so clear. I think something, I feel something. It happens to all of us every moment of every day. I chuckle to myself at the clarity and appreciate the amazing lesson I’ve just learnt. A story I tell myself and realise something to do with punks or mohawk hairstyles make me feel anxious. Interesting. A memory suddenly springs back into my head about the first time I heard what a punk was. My parents had just got back from a trip to London. I’d never been overseas. I guess I was ten years old.
“Look gags these are the ‘punks’ I was telling you about,” my mother tells me, showing me a printed photo from her trip. Back when we printed photos there was a delay of up to a week between a story told and the visual aids that went along with it. “They are against the government, don’t like rules and take DRUGS”. I stare at a blurry picture of a pale looking couple, taken far enough way that the photographer wouldn’t be noticed but close enough that the pixels gave you an idea of what you were looking at. Colourful hair standing straight up on top of their heads. I’d never seen a punk before. Both wore jeans and torn clothes and army type boots and chains and, are those earrings? It was as though they’d been delivered from another planet. Drugs, don’t like rules and establishments the irony is amazing. I love that I get to reflect and see how, with all the love in the world my mother was protecting and teaching her sons about things we needed to look out for in life. I love how I get to see how my mind has a story and how until today, played out unconsciously in my life.
I turn right onto the next block the setting sun is bright on my eyes. The colourful street instantly loses colour. As my eyes adjust to the light, the colour slowly returns, not as vivid as the previous street. I look across the road. Another clothing shop. As I get closer the four people outside become clearer, the sun still sharp in my eyes. Four mannequins stand dead still next to each other dressed in fake Levi jeans and badly embroidered polo horses on knitted shirts. Each one has a bright, differently coloured mohawk. I laugh out loud. Are you fuckin kidding? How beautiful. My lesson didn’t need to be made any more clear I get it. Seems the clearer I see these things the clearer the clarity becomes.
This is great I love this. I don’t want to forget this. I can’t type now while I’m walking. Since the update of my journal app you can now add voice notes. I haven’t used it yet. Perfect.
No, don’t. Don’t let your phone take you out of this moment. Be preset, keep enjoying it. I’m happy, I tell myself, I want to note this. I open the app and press the new microphone icon that wasn’t there before the update to version 3.0.
“New Premium features available. Do you want to upgrade for $35 dollars per year”
Assholes, they did this is the same thing last time when they charged for update 2, how do they charge for each update?
I become aware of the voices becoming louder as they repeat “hollllaaaaaa” almost at a shouting level. I’ve been subconsciously aware of it for a while as I walked, lost in thought. I follow the noise looking to my left and see two girls perhaps four and five years old hanging out of the window of a car. As my eyes meet theirs they realise the gringo they’d decided to greet for a fun game had heard them and they giggle hysterically as they drop down into the car to hide from me. Their father sitting in the driver seat waiting, puts his newspaper down from the noise of the young girls. We make eye contact and he realises what’s happened. Embarrassed, he puts his right hand up to apologise, my face lights up and I start to laugh. The string from my lips lifts his face into a open laughter too. Without words: children, being children.
I had decided not to be present. To unlock my phone, and then without realising it got lost in thought, two kids literally screamed to get my attention back to the present moment. When I look for lessons to learn and beautiful things to show up in my life, they’re everywhere!