Meeting Ruben, aka if William S. Burroughs had gotten it into his head to make a sports movie this would have been his main character.
We talked for 12 hours straigth, and I skipped an entire night of sleep, and two days later I’m still feeling sort of jittery. But hey, it was worth it.
I guess we looked like two characters out of some weird trailer park series when we were teens. He’s an ex-basketball player standing a strapping 1m92 which makes my 1m74 look dimunitive. He’s the mulatto I inevitably think about when Kurt Cobain screams ‘mulatto’ in Smells like teen spirit. He usually blurts out anything he thinks (he’s an Aquarius), at times almost insulting me without meaning to, I’m at times very reserved, nervous, impossibly conscious of other people’s needs and concerns, tight, high-strung, and at other times risqué exhibitionist, challenging, brazen, overly monologueishly talkative. Depending on the setting. Ambivert (or Pisces if you the Zodiac).
We used to bike to school together. I refused to wear glasses outside and didn’t have lenses yet, so half of the time he was pretty much steering me away from an oncoming van. We had long conversations, were late for dinner, ended up in bars, skipped classes in high school and snuck into university classes, where we marvelled at the stuff being taught, so much more interesting than our classes, and stared at the 20 something girls who looked so much more nonchalant and approachable than their 16-year old counterparts at our prison, I mean school.
School’s been out for about 15 years now. Our conversations hit on the same topics as back then and have the same vibe. Only, there are between 600 and 1,000 books -damn it, how much figuring out does a boy have to do? This week an other Aquarius told me I read too much and she’s probably right- between then and now, and the wear and tear of being on rocky roads and incisive experiences ever since.
We talk about masculinity and feminity. And the women are definitely better off. Us boys are still sensitive, still porcelainishly fragile, either digging our heads into the ground, playing for defense, or trying to hide the fact that we still don’t have a clue behind a foppish facade of macho bravado.
Perhaps we’d be more centered, more stabile if our culture had had a rite of passage for boys, turning them into men. Perhaps equipping them with a Totem. I think about my friend from Chile who’s more in tune with his masculinity than us western boys.
We talk about the death throes of the latest world empire, the US. With its cartoonish presidential candidates. Ruben doubts Americans are still being fooled by the US version of Panem et Circenses.
He talks about people he meets and how they live in a bubble. How they live in the new Rome, and don’t know what’s happening on the borders of the empires. The Limes (wall) are cracking and toppling, and the problems of the provinces are spilling over into the heart of the sneaky, conniving, decadent senators’ domain and latifundiae.
We talk about him dropping out of highschool at 18. And me going off to study something fun, but rather useless in economic terms: slavic languages.
We watch bits and pieces of George Carlin, and take in his acid bite:
“Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations that’ve long since bought and paid for, the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pocket, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and the information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. They don’t give a fuck about you. At all, at all, at all…”
The conversation turns into a marathon 2-man group therapy session.
We dissect my impatient, ravenous writer aspirations and obstinate daydreaming about swimming in cash.
‘Why do you need money to do what you want to do?’
‘I could get a flashy YouTube channel and make political satire or something therapeutic’
‘You’re honestly going to tell me you need lots of money for that’
‘I need a crew, equipment, a studio.’
‘Are you fucking kidding me?’
He mistakingly assumes I’m never depressed and never stop working. I mean, what?
‘Ok, let me correct that: you get depressed, but you keep going.’
‘Yeah, in a Flucht nach vorne kinda way. Fail forward.’
‘But that’s good, that’s really good. I wish I had that.’
Well, I wish I had his insouciance and his deft evasions of monetary entrapments.
I suppose our conversation is fueled in part by the fact we’ve both kept our childlike wonderment. It wasn’t schooled or cultured out of us. We’re still open to pretty much anything.
And we are willing to wade through our inner mud.
For those familiar with kokology: there’s no oasis in his dessert, but that’s ok, and his cube is massive and granite-like.
He thinks I’m trying to compete with my father (current address: Walhalla), which is an honest mistake, but the truth is out of extreme filial loyalty I’m trying to proof to the world that my father was a very remarkable guy that ended up in obscurity. A dynamic I have to break and I’m working on it.
These past two weeks I’ve been lucky to attract several vibrant people. Two marathon conversations that jumped behind the scenes of the image we project most of the days on this planet.
It’s fitting that these conversations hacked into my sleep and had to be had while others were in bed and even bars were closing.
It’s almost like a time robbery. Stealing time away from the drudgery of tread-mill days, blurring into one, and if during our working days we show people a glimpse of how we truly feel, it always comes at a risk, especially if you want to keep your job.
We are all starving for connection.
And when you defeat the hurdles that divide us in this rush rush world, it’s all the more juicy when you do get it.