Tijuana

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I went to the beach in Tijuana. It was crowded on Sunday, it was sizzling hot. So yeah, there are we, strolling, me and my friend. So I tell him, let us go to the fence. It was already corroded, the sea salt did it and the stupid army surplus material which was used to build the fence up is rapidly deteriorating. There were some kids on the other side of the beach the so called, otro lado. The migra came to them because they were having conversations with Mexicans on the other side. They asked for identifications and those were provided. But suddenly one of the migras asked if we had not seen the paletero. The migra wanted a Mexican ice cream and the little crowd that formed to see the agents do their job, with jeers and boos tried to be friends. The paletero came and he bought an ice cream, I could not resist asking if he did not have pesos on him. I do not need to he said. Why not I answered back, we carry dollars with us, right?

So I was there, giving the agent a hard time, those poor souls in those green uniforms, under this heat, seeking out a threat among us, this is Aztlan I told him, as I pointed to the both sides of the land, separated by a corroded fence, he craving for an ice cream and I craving for an anger to be let loose, it was after all, safe therapy.

The relation between me and the arts has been quite diffuse at best. I like to go to museums which tend to house large numbers of paintings because I admire painters and curiously enough I’ve been to several cemeteries and seen some tombs of quite a number of famous writers. History then is a big part of this acculturation process that seems to be an integral part of my life. In my head, a number of writers have significantly influenced me while others I just like them because of their lifestyles and their convictions which have moved me; painters on the other hand have moved me by the motives they’ve chosen to depict and curiously they seem to express their political motivations in them, a few of them have even written about it such as Salvador Dali’s Dali by Dali originally given out in French and in very quixotic terms and thoughts that house contradictions, a trait I seem to be very fond of lately.

Although some paintings are well renowned for their active and forceful depicting of gross human affairs, like Picasso’s Guernica, other ones, mostly Germans, do it through a curious way that interpretation is done almost exclusively for and by academic circles. Paul Klee’s Revolution des viaduktes is the most recent example I have in mind. This type of protest is subversive at best, hidden and difficult to manifest itself in the public eye. This sort of art leaves one wondering about the belief some painters have regarding the interpretations the unconscious has on the rest of the self which consciously reacts to what the unconscious digests in secret. Yet as I recall my infancy, during my elementary school years in Tijuana, in the Alba Roja school by Third Street now a school long gone and replaced by some ugly modern contraption I remember seeing a deer with a human head in my first grade classroom, years later, when I had become acquainted with some of my own culture’s treasures, I realized that what my child’s eyes had seen was Frida Khalo’s el Peque?o Venado (1946) am almost dead certain that it attracted me because to a child a deer with a human head would most indeed catch ones attention, specially one that has been pierced with 9 arrows.

Paintings however are a new sort of inculcation for me, what really got my brain wondering about the importance of culture has been literature and the ‘classics‘. I wonder where did this admiration for famous books got started. Did it start by reading comic books? Did it start in school, elementary? How did this avid interest increase, did I became enthralled by what I read and by what others said about said books? No doubt there was an interest awaken when somebody else highlighted the importance of those works of letters. I fear, however, that social status had also a hand in this …

My interest for the classics arose most certainly due to an influence a friend of mine placed on me. His name is José and he used to hang out at a bookstore that sold second hand comic series and other cheap novels that folk in México tend to wharf down like hot salsa tacos after painting the town red. In the store that housed series after series of all kinds of Revistas as they are called, and where folk have a stop in their routine chores like buying milk and other stuff, he sat (or stood) there and read for free the used and very much reread purple novellettes. Inevitably, as I spent more time with my best friend I came to hang out there too. It must’ve of been through conversations were the ego is mostly exposed to such showmanships that I was impressed about the knowledge that it was necessary to have in order to have a good conversation or at the very least sound interesting to others. An ear being the most important object in peoples lives, I wasn’t about to let myself go unsurpassed, I wanted attention too, surely, I guess, that’s how it all started.

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