I Feel It All

So, it's the title of a cheesy Feist song. But, I feel it all.

You can't be dead here in Mexico City. At least not in the early days. This place demands every single sense. Side long glances to see if you're being followed. A rapid survey of the 10 lane avenue before you plunge head long before an oncoming cascade of endless cars. The language, strange and yet vaguely familiar, as background noise and then suddenly popping into relief. Whole sentences, even conversations, that ring of sense. The cry of street vendors-a repetitive, insane cry. Not even "tacos." Just an incessant, ascending cry. The whispers of strangers in my ear at a fancy Condesa party. The yell of a man on the subway. My own voice. "It's going to be OK."

The whiff of feces while walking by a market and the onslaught of smoke while trying to squeeze through the crowded food stands while making your way to the subway. The muy rica taste of churros, enchiladas, every type of organ meat known to man wrapped in tortillas. Eyes. Stomachs. Tongues. Brains. Savory, slippery, rich meat wrapped in fried, fresh dough, topped with cool guacamole, crisp onion, searing chili.

Touch. The crush of frustrated Chilangos forcing their way onto a Metro car at rush hour. The kiss of a friend as you greet each other. A lingering unwanted touch from someone new and undesired. The grease of the subway pole. And the city touches you back-always the dirt of the city in every pore. Too close.

And amidst all this sensation, feeling begins to tentatively sprout. Not emotion, of which I've had oceans of over the past four months. This is more fluid, transparent. Totally effortless. It's fed by an astoundingly bizarre work of art. A new friend. The best evening after the worst day. An afternoon of journalling and wandering. It's fed by random experience. I thought my life was full of colour. I didn't even know what that was. Last night in a rooftop bar over the Zocalo my new friend Adrian told me that all people naturally tend towards routine. Constancy. How long can I survive this onslaught of immersion? How long before I crave the expected? Could it last a lifetime?

My brain, relaxed and well-fed, has begun to wander. I hope that this is the first stirrings of creativity, so long strained by corporatism and petty worries.

Let's get a little lost here...


grace said...

love your description of the Mexico, my dad put me onto your blog writing 'i think you'll like her, she's a bit like you' and i hope you take this as a compliment - a bit confused, a little wander-lusty and a lot in love with adventure!

B.Kienapple said...

Hi Grace, I love that your dad pointed you to this blog. No you speak the truth, that's me! I think you'd like a book titled Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves. It definitely pointed to some uncomfortable, and interesting, truths about myself. Cheers!

adialsaid said...

Your writing really pops in all of these Mexico posts, but this one is my favorite.

Not that it struck a chord to read you describing my hometown in such a lovely way (the whispering strangers, the dirt in every pore, those lines made me shudder with delight). Actually, quite the opposite. I completely failed to relate to what you've been feeling.

Which made me realize something that I probably already knew on some level: I am dead here in Mexico City. Too close to death, anyway. I've been desensitized to my country, to my city, to the neighborhoods I know so well and the ones I have somehow still managed to never venture into. The smells, the sounds, those little details that make a city special to live in. Somewhere down the line, I've lost these senses. Maybe except for the tastes.

Reading this post made me want to do at least one of two things, possibly both. A) Fall back in love with my city. Forget the traffic and explore the unexplored nooks. Eat more organs. Become more fluid. B) Go away. It's hard to discover new worlds within an old world, so go to some new world, at least for a while. Leave the constancy. Go somewhere completely new and feel everything I can.

I'm determined to do this now. I've got that itchy, excited feeling of a plan starting to form. Like when I decided to get my tattoo, or when I was looking up apartments to rent before I moved to California. I think you may have inspired me. Thanks.


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