xmas card – (en/es)

Christmas1
Christmas, a few years ago.
I was sitting in front of Bobby in a boozer in Rio de Janeiro, nonjudgmental at the way he was slurping the chicken –his teeth had crumbled long ago, perhaps due to his proficiency to lodge in his body five grams of haven dust a day.
Bobby settled his differences with the fowl, but that did not seem to improve his attention. Always a mile a minute, full of chemical self-confidence and acting as though he were on top of the world, that day, however, he suggested being a few steps below.
“I’ve been here ten years and that’s fine –he said suddenly. Certainly I don’t miss Canada. It’s just that Christmas Day drives me crazy”.
I thought he was right. Ask any expat, even those who are being caressed by an indulgent tropical sun, lost somewhere, happily sovereign and swaying in the lap of Paradise, and they will confess you when Christmas starts to blossom around, they get a puzzling vacuum notion. Ask those who do not care at all the pagan roots of a religion that swept cultures as if they were virus, or hate the insane worshiping of consumerism that Christmas represents. Ask those who know that next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out any quicker than the Christmas spirit. All those know that most seamen lead, if one may so express it, a sedentary life, whose minds are recalling the stay-at-home order … those for whom the immutability of their surroundings, the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life glide past, is veiled no more by a sense of mystery, but by a slightly disdainful ignorance … when a casual stroll or a casual spree on shore suffices to unfold for them the secret of a whole continent … generally finding the secret not worth knowing. Ask all those and you will find they suddenly have a new nationality: They are in exile, adulterous residents, being in one city, dreaming of the other. Exile. Citizens of the country of Longing. Yes, despite everything and everybody, Christmas remains for them the longest day of the year.
And while we travelers often laugh at the idea of a home, a dwelling, always desperate to escape the cultural and financial traps that they tend us in our hometowns, teaching ourselves to hate our own roots, so willing to leave our countries as we were the day we left the house of our parents; yet, somewhere inside us, beats a deep desire, a need to belong somewhere, that when everyone is playing the happy family in front the tree, there is no way to hide. It’s a terrible thing; it is all consuming. It is already present like a little shadow under the heart; it threatens to swallow you whole when you leave your own country, even though you travel and talk to friends twenty-four hours a day.
A biologist once was asked how birds can know in which direction they have to fly when migrating. He considered it for a moment and then concluded: “They fly in the direction that decreases their nostalgia.”
Maybe we all follow –at some level– that kind of unconscious command, choosing our way through the vagaries to which life constantly confronts us.
Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist… so we can always deny it under a veneer of misanthropy, or compulsive sexual behavior, or sleeping all day long. Or with five grams of Big C.
However, on December 25, for aliens as Bobby –and myself–, the minutes do not pass quickly enough. The main reason Santa is so jolly may be because he knows where all the bad girls live.
Christmas0
Una Navidad, ya hace años.
Me encontraba sentado frente a Bobby, en una tasca de Río de Janeiro sin juzgar como sorbía su pollo –sus dientes se habían desmoronado hacía tiempo, acaso debido a su pericia para alojar en su organismo cinco gramos de perico al día.
Bobby ultimaba su disputa con el capón, pero eso no parecía mejorar su atención. Siempre iba a mil por hora, lleno de química confianza en sí mismo, actuando como si se encontrase en la cima del mundo; pero aquel día, sin embargo, parecía estar unos cuantos peldaños más abajo.
“Llevo aquí diez años, lo cual está bien –dijo de repentinamente. Desde luego, no echo de menos Canadá. Es solo que el día de Navidad me saca de quicio.”
Pensé que no le faltaba razón. Pregúntale a cualquier expatriado, incluso aquellos que estén siendo acariciados por un indulgente sol tropical, en alguna parte, felizmente soberanos y retozando en el regazo del Paraíso, y te confesarán que cuando la Navidad comienza a florecer a su alrededor, siempre se percibe una extraña noción de vacío. Incluso a aquellos a los que no les importan para nada las raíces paganas de una religión que barrió culturas como si de un virus se tratase, o los que detestan la insana adoración del consumismo que la Navidad representa. Los que saben que aparte de un circo no hay nada que empaque y separe con mayor rapidez que el espíritu de la Navidad. Incluso para aquellos marineros, si así pudiera llamarles, que añoran una vida sedentaria y sus mentes reclaman el orden del que se queda en casa… Para los que la inmutabilidad del entorno, las costas extranjeras, los rostros extranjeros, la inmensidad cambiante de la vida sobre la que deslizarse, queda velada no por un sentido de misterio, sino por una ignorancia ligeramente desdeñosa … y un paseo o una juerga casual en tierra es suficiente para que se desarrolle ante sus ojos el secreto de todo un continente, y que en general es un secreto no vale la pena conocer … Incluso para estos, llega este momento de darse cuenta que tienen una nueva nacionalidad: Se encuentran en el exilio. Como residentes adúlteros, estando en una ciudad, y soñando con otra. Exilio. Ciudadanos del país Nostalgia. Aún así, a pesar de todo y todos, sigue siendo el día más largo del año.
Y si bien, a menudo, los viajeros nos reímos de la idea de un hogar, una morada, siempre desesperados por poder escapar de las trampas culturales y financieras que nos tienden nuestros lugares de origen, enseñándonos a nosotros mismos a odiar nuestras propias raíces, tan dispuestos a dejar nuestros países como lo estuvimos, en su día, a abandonar la casa de nuestros padres, aún, en algún lugar interior, late un íntimo deseo, como una necesidad de pertenecer a alguna parte, que cuando todo el mundo se encuentra jugando a la familia feliz enfrente del árbol, no hay forma de ocultar. Un deseo terrible, que todo puede consumir, presente como una pequeña sombra bajo el corazón, que amenaza con tragarse todo al dejar tu  propio país, a pesar de que viajes y hables con amigos las veinticuatro horas del día.
A un biólogo se le preguntó una vez cómo los pájaros pueden saber en que dirección han de volar a la hora de migrar. Él reflexionó por un momento y concluyó: “Vuelan en la dirección en la que disminuye su nostalgia.”
Quizás todos nosotros seguimos -en algún nivel- ese tipo de comando inconsciente, eligiendo nuestro camino a través de los caprichos a los que la vida nos enfrenta constantemente.
Raspe la corteza de cualquier cínico y encontrará un idealista desilusionado… Así que siempre podremos negarlo bajo un barniz de misantropía, o con un comportamiento sexual compulsivo, o durmiendo todo el día. O con cinco gramos de polvo.
De cualquier manera, el 25 de diciembre, para los emigrantes como Bobby –y yo mismo– los minutos no pasan con la suficiente rapidez. La razón principal de que Santa esté tan alegre debe ser porque sabe donde viven las niñas malas.
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Xmas card – Dugutigui

About Dugutigui

In the “Diula” language in Mali, the term « dugutigui » (chief of the village), literally translated, means: «owner of the village»; «dugu» means village and «tigui», owner. Probably the term is the result of the contraction of «dugu kuntigui» (literally: chief of the village).
This entry was posted in English, Español, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to xmas card – (en/es)

  1. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  2. tinatimebomb says:

    Hello dearest! and CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU have been been bestowed the Star Award-Blogger of the Year 2012 see the link and follow the instructions….http://cherryberrylemonlime.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/5541/

    • Dugutigui says:

      You shouldn’t think so highly of me. Perhaps I’ll end believing in myself. Anyway I’m blushing now🙂
      Thanks a lot!

      • tinatimebomb says:

        Clap three times if you believe! Happy new 2013

      • Dugutigui says:

        Too soon to open the self-confidence Champaign🙂
        But a perfect moment for the New Year’s bottle, the largely kept green bottle … with a wizard. The bottle of the always promising and dimly away future under our sign, only barely in our hands. And what’s my sign?” I blink and answer, “Neon!”. I am on a quest to dream the impossible dream. Walking down the road I’m looking for the truth of life. Where do I go, who do I see?”
        “Slow down, mister, in order to find the truth of life, one must see THE WIZARD!”
        “Well, where does this wizard, old wise one, live?”
        “You see the big, green, glow-in-the-dark bottle up on the hill?”
        “Yes, I see the big, green, glow-in-the-dark bottle up on the hill. There’s a big, no-glow-in-the-dark forest between me and the big, green, glow-in-the-dark bottle up on the hill. And a little old lady on a Hoover vacuum cleaner going “I’ll get you, my little pretty, and your little dog, Toto, too!”.
        I don’t even have a little dog, Toto.

        Thanks for your wishes and very Happy New 2013 (it seems now is the accepted time to make our regular annual good resolutions. Next week we can begin paving hell with them as usual).🙂 Cheers!!!!

        And indeed thanks for your comments!

      • tinatimebomb says:

        You are so good and sooo funny!

  3. Excellent web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

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