miércoles, 16 de agosto de 2017

That's who she is

   Ms. Maurier had always lived in the same neighborhood. She had been born almost seventy years ago in the local hospital and now she lived in one of the many high rises that had been built after the war. The idea was that people should live closer to the core of the cities, thus limiting how much a city could actually grow. Many of the sight that were around when she was a young girl, were nowhere to be seen anymore. The building in which she had lived with her husband had been recently demolished.

 With the money she had received from the city, Ms. Maurier was able to pay for her new home and some other things that she had always wanted to have but had not being able to buy because of her husband. She had loved him dearly but he could be a bit of a bore at times. He didn’t like loud music or a lot of noise in the movies. He just liked peace and quiet. She had no idea if it was because he had worked as a security inspector in a local warehouse, but now she was able to enjoy life a bit more.

 Of course, she felt guilty for the first few months. Then, she realized her husband would have loved her to be happy after he died, so she went to one of the largest stores in the area and bought all the latest appliances in video and sound. A group of very nice men and women came one morning to set it all up for her. She talked with them and made some fresh scones with tea for them, when they were done. Once they left, she started reading the instructions and enjoying her new space.

 In seconds, she had every single movie, TV series and documentary ever produced at hand. She started watching that same day and she laughed profusely once she realized the time for lunch had been quite a while ago. She decided to change things further by asking for something on her new devices. A pizza was her choice and it arrived just in time to watch the last episode of a soap opera she had followed years ago but had not seen the ending too because of their TV breaking down.

 She enjoyed her meal, even though she had never really liked pizza, and she went to bed rather late with a smile on her face. She thought of her Richard, her husband, when entering the bed. She never really understood why he was so uptight and dry in so many ways. He was a proper gentleman and had always been the best husband she could have ever wanted. He was good provider and a kind soul. But he was boring, every single day of his life. Always doing the exact same thing, at the exact same time. He was like a clock, always hitting the same marks.

 When she woke up the next day, Ms. Maurier decided it was time to broaden her world a little bit longer. Although her new experiences with appliances had gone great, she wanted to explore the world outside of her neighborhood.  She walked to the train station and waited for one going towards the beach, which was located far into the city’s suburbs. She smiled every second, waiting for the machine to arrive.

 It pulled over smoothly and Ms. Maurier stepped in carefully. She had always seen the trains filled up to the roof in TV and on the news, so she wanted to be prepared for the chaos. But what she found was a beautiful place, all clean and sparkly of how white it was. It had big windows that curved and gave a great view of what was outside. Even the voice announcing the stations sounded kind and much like a long forgotten friend. She sat down and enjoyed the ride, looking around, like a little girl.

 Most people were working. That was the reason she found for the train and the stations being so empty. She stepped outside on the last stop of the line and when she crossed into the boardwalk, a potent beam of light received her. It was the sun that was just poking his potent mass from behind a large cloud. It had been a strange moment but she had liked the fact that the weather seemed to be welcoming her into that new world she was visiting. It was scary so the light made it less so.

 The boardwalk was also very clean and from there the ocean could be see in its entire splendor. The waves were soft and small, no real wind blowing over the sand. Not many people were enjoying the weather, except from a woman and her children a few couples that seemed to be more interested in kissing their partners than in watching the majestic thing that was the sea. It’s color had never been seen by that older woman who was about to cry for it was much more than she had imagined.

 She immediately ran towards the sea and didn’t really care if she looked insane or not. She couldn’t care less about that. Ms. Maurier had never seen the ocean and it was an experience that had just changed her perception of life. It was too much to process but, even so, she wanted to enjoy every single second of her encounter with nature. She hadn’t put on a swimsuit or anything. She hadn’t even grabbed anything besides her purse and an umbrella. But she realized she didn’t need anything. She removed her coat and scarf and started enjoying the place she was in. It was perfect and she realized she would have loved someone to share that moment with.

 Richard had never wanted to go to the beach or anywhere else for the matter. They didn’t have a honeymoon because they knew a baby was coming home soon and they just wanted to provide the best for the little one. She had loved the baby so much, since her doctor had told her about him, that she didn’t even cared about not being able to travel or move a lot for months. She wanted to be a mother, to be the one to take care of that new life and just have a happy family with her husband.

Things went on as such for several months until Ms. Maurier fainted in the kitchen one morning, while making her husband his favorite dish for breakfast. He took her to the hospital right away, the same she had been born in. She was in a room for hours and hours, no one talking to him or telling him even two words. Finally, a doctor approached her and explained that his wife experienced a miscarriage. That morning, their baby had died right in their home.

 She thought of them while looking at the ocean and she thought that maybe, just maybe, Richard had always been rather cold because of the abortion. It’s not like he had been the life of the party before that but he did have traits of someone else in him, a rebellious and interesting soul that had things to say, even if they weren’t many. That person, who she had fallen in love with, disappeared right after she went back home from the hospital and he was never seen again.

 Cleaning a tear from her cheek, she thought that it was possible that her husband had lost his feelings for her after that event. She knew she had changed and it was fair to say she had changed too. She felt empty and a failure. Ms. Maurier never told anyone, doctors or family, about a couple of suicide attempts she had committed the year after she had lost her child. She had to endure it all by herself and now she was looking at the sea, trying to stop the tears from coming down her face.

 A young vendor appeared nearby and she bought a freshly squeezed lemonade from him. It had the right amount of sweetness and it was just enough to pull her spirits up. It brought a smile to her face again. She only stayed there for a bit longer.

 Back home, she went to bed early, with no dinner on her stomach. She just wanted to rest and not think for a few more hours. But her life decided to haunt her that evening. She couldn’t handle it. So she stepped out of bed, turned on the TV and put on a comedy movie. That was Ms. Maurier.

lunes, 14 de agosto de 2017

Triste y felicidad

   En un momento todos estábamos juntos. Al siguiente, cada uno había retomado el camino que había estado recorriendo por un buen tiempo. Es difícil de procesar cuando las cosas pasan así, tan rápido, pero supongo que eso es mejor que nada. Eso es mejor que seguir y seguir y seguir sin saber muy bien adonde es que se está yendo. Cuando las cosas cambian, al menos un poco, se gana una nueva perspectiva. Es como verte a ti mismo en un espejo. Lo cambia todo.

 Es complicado cuando esos cambios momentáneos son de felicidad y no de tristeza. Está claro que la tristeza se quiere evitar, se quiere mantener lejos de uno mismo. Lo ideal es una vida en la que no haya sino alegrías. Pero esa no es una vida que tenga mucho sentido pues, cuando el ser humano fue adquiriendo conocimiento, también adquirió un montón de equipaje emocional que no había tenido nunca en cuenta. Nos hicimos más inteligentes pero, a la vez, mucho más vulnerables.

 Por eso nos duele cuando alguien se va y cuando alguien muere. Son dos cosas parecidas pero, al mismo tiempo, sustancialmente distintas. A la base, se trata de un cambio de lo que vemos, de lo que percibimos. Sin embargo, con los poderes de la tecnología actual, la gente que se va de nuestro rango de visión ya no es como si se hubiera muerto y luego resucitara cuando vuelven. Los podemos ver todos los días, si eso deseamos. Podemos hablar de cosas sin importancia, pueden estar allí.

 Los muertos siguen tan muertos como siempre lo han estado. La inteligencia no ha cambiado eso porque ese es el único estado en el que entramos que es inalterable, hasta donde sabemos. Podemos estar enfermos de graves enfermedades, pero hasta eso puede cambiar de un día a otro. En cambio la muerte es un final, un final abrupto y horrible que nos hace pensar que todos en algún momento llegaron a ese inevitable final. Es difícil pero somos humanos y ese es nuestro camino.

 La felicidad es diferente. La felicidad no es como la tristeza, que parece alargarse mientras más la sentimos. No importa la razón, ella se incrusta en nuestra alma y parece drenar toda la energía que puede. Es por eso que lloramos, para tratar de contrarrestar el dolor de la tristeza, que no nos coma vivos. En cambio, la felicidad es algo de un momento, nunca dura demasiado. Por eso el amor es un concepto tan idílico y tan absurdo. ¿Como va la felicidad a extenderse por años, así nada más, como si nada? Requiere trabajo duro y apoyo de muchas otras cosas.

 Todos los tipos de amor tienen un fin, como la vida humana. La diferencia es que podemos sostener el sentimiento como muchos otros empáticos. La felicidad y la tristeza son la base para ese intercambio que hacemos todos los días, con todas las personas que nos importan. Nos hacen sentir tristes y felices y eso es bueno. Si no nos hicieran sentir nada, simplemente no estarían en nuestras vidas. No hay nada más triste que alguien que intenta meterse en una vida sin ser invitado.

 En conclusión, hay que aprovechar todos los momentos que se tienen en la vida, sean tristes o felices. Lo tenemos que hacer porque son esos momentos los que nos mantienen a flote y los que nos dan la energía para seguir adelante y para poder ver todos los giros del camino que estamos recorriendo.  Esos momentos nos hacen ver más allá de nuestra corta visión humana y debemos estar agradecidos por poder sentir, por poder expresar todo lo que tenemos adentro. Somos seres atormentados, en general, pero también capaces de cosas que, hasta donde sabemos, nadie más es capaz.

viernes, 11 de agosto de 2017

Too late

   Rain would fall for hours and hours. It seemed it would never end. The storm had been lashing out against the land for many days now and only from time to time it would feel like it stopped being so harsh. But then it seemed to restart again, twice as strong, relentless against anything living in the land. Even the oceans and lakes were in turmoil. Everything was upside down and people had begun to suffer serious shortages and problems, mostly related to food and general supplies.

 What families did was to ration food and try to consume as little as they could. They hardest hit groups were the ones where grandparents and small children shared a household. No one had the capacity to feed such a large amount of people and it wasn’t unheard of that so many people lived under one roof in that region. After all, it was very far away any big cities and that was the way people had lived for generations. Rain had never changed that before and this storm was no exception.

 So they had to make what they could with what they had, which wasn’t a lot but they made it last as long as they could. Fish, chicken and beef were kept like treasures and mostly vegetables were eaten because people could still try to recover some of those from beneath the mud. Some were pretty resistant like celery or carrots. So they consumed that first with maybe a little piece of actual animal fat every day. Pieces were slightly larger for children but that was not enough.

 Many children lived in those mountains and they were seriously affected by the rain. The poor quality of water to make their food and the amount of nutrients from what their parents could give them was simply not enough for them to be correctly nourished. After the first week, many children started feeling bad and many parents did the trip beneath the rain towards the small town nearby, where the only doctor in the region lived. He always had bad news for the concerned parents.

 They had malnourishing problems, very serious cases of infections and lack of proper hygiene because of the water being contaminated by damages to water pipes and so on. Many children died instantly, the others filled the few rooms the doctor had available on his small practice. He asked for help from other parts of the country but the roads were under water or severely damaged and no trains or planes could reach the remote location. They had been driven out of the world by the storm and had been let to die or starve for who know how long.

 When the elders started feeling as bad or worse than the young, people were in a general state of panic. It didn’t felt real that it was happening all at once. Some thought of the storm as a punishment from the Gods but others thought it was simply the chaotic weather changes happening all over the world. They might have not been the most well connected people in the world but many had television sets and they knew very well about climate change and what it had done in other parts of the world.

 After three weeks, an emergency team was able to reach them through the forest and then taking a very long path that made them penetrate a nature preserve. It was the only way to reach the small town and that was only because they studied several maps of the region in order to find that hidden way in. When they reached the only settlement in the mountains, they were able to tell people that a couple of helicopters had been sent before they left for their mission, but they had never called back.

 People were only shocked to hear this but only for a few minutes, because their families were suffering and it was too much to start caring for others at the moment. They needed the help the group brought them and that was the only way they could think of to change the state of things. So the volunteers, a group of fifteen men and women, got installed at the doctor’s house and started helping with vaccines and other treatments they had brought on big crates that had been carried by mules and themselves.

 Sadly, all they did was not enough to really ensure that everything was going to be fine. The rain wouldn’t stop and sick people from the most remote areas of the mountain range would come in at all time, very wet and sicker than they had left. It was a really sad thing to see for the volunteers and it was difficult for them not to be sick as well just by looking at all the despair and the human condition that was in display on that small community. It was hard and a test to their abilities.

 After a couple of days, it was decided that most of the group would go back to civilization. Only five people would remain with the doctor, in order to help with all the patients arriving and leaving every day. Besides, the townspeople needed hands to bury the people that had died and they also needed appropriate bags to do that because contamination of the water had to be avoided at all costs. The group also had to bring more people and medicines, a whole lot more than before. They left early one morning and expect to reach their destination in two days.

 And they did. However, they also encountered the crash site of one of the helicopters. The scene was gruesome and some of the helpers had to vomit right besides the wreckage because of the stench and the sight of things. They had to mark the place on a map, on their electronic devices, in order to go back there in future in order to collect the corpses and any valuables that could shed a light on the cause of the accident. But thunders above them reminded the group that the storm was the culprit, no matter the details.

 Meanwhile, in town, another tragedy happened at night and there had been no way to escape it: the mountain itself collapsed and carried several homes from almost the summit to the foot of the hill were the most densely populated part of the region was located. So bad it was, that the patients at the doctor’s house felt the rumble in the middle of the night and they alerted others in order to evacuate. But that didn’t happen because there was no other place to go besides there.

 The volunteers that had been left there had the very difficult task to find survivors. However, they soon realized that was not going to happen. They started finding bodies, after some of the mud and dirt had been washed away by the rain. It was gruesome to see their faces covered in brown or grey and their expressions of fear forever imprinted on their faces. That had been their last thing to do and it looked horrible. The volunteers, however, did what they had to do.

 People from town helped with blankets and also tablecloths and the dead were covered with those and then lined up in front of the doctor’s office. Then, one body at a time, they were carried to a clearing in the woods where the ground was firm. They had to spend several hours digging for a hole, but they did so anyways, in order to provide a dignified place to rest for the many people that had died at night, never expect nature would turn against them after so many years living there.

 It took one more week for more help to arrive. The condition of the trail they had used had decreased and the amount of things they brought was not easy to transport. Besides, many people on the outside world wanted to help, to do something for those poor souls.

 The storm ended two weeks after than, suddenly one afternoon. Clouds slowly floated away and the sun came back. But the lives of that community had changed forever. Death had covered them with its veil and now they couldn’t see a proper future in what had been their home for such a long time.

miércoles, 9 de agosto de 2017

Cucharada de realidad, la mía al menos

   Nada. Nada por ningún lado. No hay opciones, no hay alternativas, no hay absolutamente nada que hacer. Claro que más de uno culpa a la persona, en este caso a mí, y dicen que no buscamos con suficiente ahínco o que simplemente no queremos trabajar y los ocultamos con numerosas excusas. No les voy a hablar de excusas porque no las tengo ni las quiero tener. Les voy a hablar de la realidad de las cosas, de lo que es estar sin trabajo en un mundo donde un desempleado es peor que un ladrón.

 Un ladrón entra a las casas y roba lo que haya de valor, o al menos que para él o ella tenga valor. Y agrego el “ella” porque en esta época del mundo no se puede ser sexista en ningún caso. Todos y todas podemos ser ladrones, viciosos, groseros, irresponsables y ejemplos de lo peor de la humanidad. Tener pene o vagina no cambia nada de eso. La humanidad está podrida y la fisionomía de los cuerpos poco o nada cambia nuestro potencial para ser todavía peores.

 Pero ese no era el punto del que hablaba. Lo que decía es que los ladrones tienen un trabajo. Es ilegal pero lo tienen. Igual pasa con los cartoneros que se la pasan recogiendo papel y cajas por las calles o los que piden dinero en las esquinas sin dar nada a cambio. La gente no lo dice a viva voz pero a esas actividades se les considera trabajo a la vez que son maneras de no morir en las grandes ciudades. No importa quién sea o para qué necesite el dinero, el punto es que algo hacen y la gente los ve.

 Y ese es un gran punto. ¿Porqué creen que a estas alturas de la historia humana la gente todavía se viste de traje y corbata, con zapatos bien brillantes y todo muy en su lugar? La gente dice que se trata de etiqueta, de estar presentable y de lucir pulcro y bien presentado. Pero hay algo más. Esos elementos son visibles a casi todo el mundo y le grita en la cara a cualquier transeúnte: “Tengo trabajo y todo esto que llevo encima es prueba de ello. Aporto a la sociedad”, así no sepamos que carajos hacen.

 Porque no hay trabajo malo. Al menos no a los ojos de sociedades que han vivido desde siempre en un estado de necesidad perpetua. En estos países del llamado “tercer mundo”, nunca hemos sabido como se siente vivir sin necesidades, hasta las personas con más dinero las tienen de una manera o de otra. Por eso hacer cualquier cosa es bueno, no importa si fritas papas en un restaurante o saludas a la gente al entrar en un edificio o si pretendes hacer respetar la ley. Los seres humanos respetamos el hecho de que alguien más haya decidido que una persona es lo mejor para cierto puesto.

 La convención humana dice que cada uno tiene su lugar. Ese cuento chino (más bien europeo o gringo) de que todos valemos lo mismo es una mentira enorme. Ni a los ojos de la sociedad ni a los ojos de la ley somos iguales. Hay poderes mucho más fuertes que impulsan por debajo todo lo que vemos. Uno de esos poderes es el dinero pero otro, que subestimamos seguido, es nuestra propia manera de hacer las cosas, nuestras costumbres arraigados en los más hondo del cerebro.

 Culpamos a los poderosos o a los pobres de todo y de nada pero la verdad es que cada uno de nosotros aportamos a que las cosas empeoren o mejoren o, en el caso actual, a que todo siga como ha sido durante el último siglo. Miles de avances tecnológicos no cambian nuestra manera de ser en lo más hondo. Seguimos teniendo costumbres tontas, como ignorar las mejores porque creemos que tiempos peores fueron mejor, solo porque no aceptamos nuestro presente.

 Ese estado de negación perpetua es el que ayuda a que el mercado laboral sea, en esencia, el mismo que hace unos cincuenta años. Sí, por supuesto que han aparecido nuevos empleos y se han abierto caminos antes inexplorados. Pero siguen siendo trabajos y a la gente se le sigue seleccionando de la misma manera. Así sea un robot el que analice las hojas de vida, el resultado será el mismo pues los datos que se consideran no han cambiado y, seguramente, jamás lo hagan.

 La edad es un factor clave. Alguien joven es, a los ojos del mundo laboral, alguien con vigor y energía, capaz de traer ideas nuevas que ayuden al progreso general de la empresa. Sin embargo, también son mulas de carga, pues tienen mayor resistencia y se les puede pedir lo que sea y lo harán porque, en estos países de los que hablamos, no pueden darse el lujo de negarse a hacer una u otra cosa. Así sea algo que no tiene nada que ver con su cargo, lo harán porque se arriesgan a perder su miserable sueldo.

 Y es que los sueldos siguen siendo miserables porque la humanidad avanza, nunca para. Así lo suban hoy y pasado mañana, el sueldo seguirá sin ser suficiente para poder vivir una vida realmente agradable. Ese lujo está reservado para los ricos y para las personas que esperan cuarenta años o más para poder reunir lo suficiente para hacer de su vida algo de provecho. Esas historias son contadas y hoy en día pareciera que son más numerosas. Pero es una ilusión del mundo interconectado que hoy. Sigue siendo igual de idílico que hace décadas.

 Lo otro es la educación. La pobre educación que ha pasado de ser un pilar de la humanidad a un negocio que se vende como salchichas a la salida de un estadio. Ya no hay calidad sino nombres y precios, como quien va a comprar ropa a un centro comercial. Lo que la gente busca es comprar la marca más cara que pueda comprar y ojalá esa le sirva para lo que quiere hacer. A veces el solo nombre es suficiente y otras veces hay que apoyarlo con más inversión, dinero y dinero.

 La calidad es algo que pasa a tercer plano, ni siquiera a segundo. Son esos árboles que pintábamos cuando éramos pequeños, al fondo de todos nuestros dibujos. Hacíamos el tronco, grueso o delgado, de color marrón y luego una suerte de nube verde que iba encima. De vez en cuando le dibujábamos algunos frutos pero los colores se confundían y lo que se suponía eran manzanas se convertían en bolas negras. Así es la educación, nosotros la hacemos para bien o para mal.

 Esos que hablan de un profesor u otro, que ese sabe más o que esa clase es más satisfactoria, solo está tratando de justificar el dinero gastado. Porque, de nuevo, somos nosotros, cada alumno, el que hace que toda la educación tenga sentido. Y no hablo solo de la universidad sino también de la secundaria, la primaria y hasta el jardín de infantes, que hoy cuesta una millonada y no sirve para nada, excepto como peldaño a un colegio caro que es tan vacío como una caja sin contenido.

 En los trabajos existentes no quieren personas creativas. Eso, en una palabra práctica, es pura mierda. Muchos trabajos dan la ilusión de ser una aventura o, peor aún, de dar el control al trabajador. Pero eso no existe o sino todos serían sus propios jefes y ni siquiera la gente que de verdad lo es puede hacer lo que se le da la gana. Hay fuerzas de todas partes, que quieren algo o que solo lo toman. La mente que piensa ya no es una cualidad sino un problema, si acaso un estorbo.

 Esas son mis justificaciones o como sea que les de la gana de llamarlas. Así explico yo el hecho de tener más estudios que la mayoría y, sin embargo, a los casi treinta años de edad, ser un fracaso completo a los ojos de toda la sociedad, sin excepción.

 Y lo peor, o la sola realidad, es que no me arrepiento de los pasos que he dado. Si tuviera una máquina del tiempo, no la usaría. Porque sería este mismo mundo de mierda el que estaría del otro lado del umbral. Y ya está visto que a mi eso no me sirve para nada.