martes, 18 de marzo de 2008

I'm back, playing "hide and seek" and living...

About the pic: I took it at a supermarket near by home a couple of weeks ago and it’s the most common image nowadays. The sign says “Sólo una (1) lata de leche Canprolac por persona”: “Only one (1) can of Canprolac milk per person”
I must ask to all the readers out there, if there’s still someone left, my deepest and most sincere apology for the unusual delay on updating this blog. The thing is that blogging depends on so much things: it requires time and discipline for starting with but over all it requires to have something important to tell to the others, something that other might be interested on reading, something that won’t make them wasting their time. For a blog that focuses on Venezuelan politics from a point of view based on personal experiences, I’m afraid I didn’t had something important to tell for over a month. It wasn’t because nothing happen but mainly because work and life drag me in and for being honest, put me away from certain issues, the issues that this blog concerns. For being even more honest, a series of happy events in my personal life somehow managed to give me a break of my endless politically worried mood. Even through I appreciate such a break, it would be irresponsible to allow it to last forever. So I'm back

This is not just about me, I got the feeling that the life of the people around me, as far as the matters about the revolution concerns, has fallen into routine and adjustments have been made even on issues that we never thought we were going to adjust ourselves. I’m talking about the shortages for start with.

Luckily, today I have milk at home, skimmed and fresh – just the way I like it. But next week I will probably be unable to find any, so I won’t drink milk during that week and I will probably not even think about it, as simple as that. Routine.
In the middle of the shortages crisis, one of my mom’s biggest dreams might have come to a reality: now not only her, but every single family member that lives in my place or spend enough time in it, goes to the supermarket, enters to every single supermarket or small shop that finds in the way praying for that lost and rare litter of milk or that bag of rice of a decent brand because you never know when you are going to be lucky enough to find the corn oil that used to fill the shelves or you are going to have the chance of picking again out of a million brands and kinds the cookies of your choice. It’s not exactly the quality of life you once dreamed of, not the one those TV shows and movies sell you, but no one ever said that living in a constant “hide and seek” game for finding the products you need didn’t brought any excitement to a otherwise gray existence.

Even Castro’s resignation to power about a month ago was taken here as the daily bread… nothing special. I knew about the resignation about four hours after when it occurs to me to check the news online at the office. I stood up and told the secretary “check it out! Castro is no longer in power!”. She looked at me back and said in the most indifferent voice tone possible: “Yeah… so I heard…”.

On the next morning I go to the university and the professor I assist: a political sociologist, can’t hold the excitement. As soon as I put a foot in his office, he showed me about 10 different books about Cuba, from novels to political analysis and reports and on his desk there’s the Castro resignation letter, printed and highlighted. “We must learn more about Cuba nowadays…Castro wants to assure that most of the old leadership prevails under the principle of the united vote… that thing about the ignored merit its only a excuse but quite an interesting one… I hope it’s a slow transition if there’s going to be any… we are going to see some new things, things we don’t expect, things we ignore…Read this… read that…”- he said. Sharing his interest, I quickly wrote the book titles in one corner of my notebook.
But its only an intellectual interest, the streets kept being quiet and even must people at the university behave like any other day.

After giving a class, I went straight to my work and stayed about an hour longer than what I usually stay. Thanks to the government who kindly change the time zone about three months ago, delaying the clocks half an hour so we could enjoy the morning sunlight (if you don’t believe me, I wrote and explained all about it before); now I don’t enjoy of the afternoon sunlight and by 6:00, 6:30 something, it was as dark as you can imagine. So since the lovely revolution cares about the morning sunlight more than the insecurity situation, my mom begged me to wait for her to pick me up instead of taking a bus back home because it’s dangerous to walk alone at night across the lonely streets of my neighborhood.

Since everyone in my office were left and I had to leave the building, I walked a couple of blocks away till I found a safe place to wait for my mom: a supermarket’ entrance. That night I discovered that a supermarket’ entrance is probably one of the best places – along with the subway – to make a diagnosis of the political mood of the city. You could pretty much find a little bit of everything there: people arguing and making lines to get one can of milk while two or three lucky ones – who knows for what reasons – came out of the supermarket with two or even three cans; and even counting that the milk is so scarce, that didn’t seemed to bother a guy who was selling five different kinds of cheese and some homemade yogurt just right outside the supermarket, right next to the people fighting over the remaining milk – if it was some remaining by the time I got there.

Next, a guy as tired or probably more tired than me, after a whole day of hard work, sat next to me and displayed the contents of his old and cheap bag pack: the very few newspaper that he could not sell, and all of them carrying headlines about Castros’ resignation. I made a quick and casual conversation with the guy and ask him permission to take pictures of the headlines that called my attention. The guy kindly organized some of news papers so I could take better pics (I will share those headlines on another entry). My weird behavior of taking pictures of the news papers called the attention of the people around and so I looked up and explained with a smile “Well, Castro doesn’t resigns every day, does he?” – The newspaper seller gave me the same look back that my secretary did a few hours early and packed his newspapers and left, ignoring the piece of history he was carrying on his back. I bet he acted just the same when he sold the news papers announcing a stupid war with Colombia and didn’t even smiled when he sold the newspapers that announced it was over.

While our president was playing battleship and telling us all about it every Sunday on his weekly talk show or at every time he felt like forcing all the networks to broadcast his face and his cartoon voice... and the newspapers were busy publishing everything they could about it; life had no other choice but go on, with its bittersweet moments even for politically interested people like this blogger, with the ugly shortages, the fear over insecurity, the prices skyrocketing when we are still trying to get used to our new “strong coin”, the sun coming down sooner giving the daylight only for those who don’t spend from 8 till 5 inside an office and all those things that happen inside our houses, our clubs, our buses and our streets and outside the newspapers; that seems to be at the end the things that really matter, even if we, people interested in politics, people studying the big national and international affairs, spend our lifetimes trying to convince ourselves otherwise.
Its just the way it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I do hold the hope that in the days to come I can find myself able to act less like the newspaper seller and more like the blogger you were used to. But even so, I will remain attached to the principle that if you don’t have nothing interesting to say, you better don’t open your mouth (or in this case, press the keyboard), don’t click on the “post” option on blogger and keep living until inspiration and important issues show up at your door. Sometimes I wish we were less indifferent to certain events. But as you can see, for the better or the worse, even a Bolivarian Revolution becomes routine.

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