Saturday, June 03, 2006


Monterrey is a very noisy city. My dorm room is on the eighth floor, and my window has a stunning view of the western side of the city and the mountains, even if I never get a sunset because there's too much pollution and the mountains get in the way. It also looks down upon a giant traffic circle in the front of the Tec. Jaisen and I always leave the bottom portion of the window open (it's divided horizontally), even though the air conditioner is always on. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because it keeps the room from getting stuffy, and the nights are always very cool. But I also like to think it's because it connects us to the city somehow, even if the city noise often keeps me awake. All night long I hear the roar of traffic in the circle and on the highway; the screech of tires on the asphalt; car horns constantly blaring; people yelling, music playing; the peacocks on campus honking incessantly. But the bottom of the window is also at my precise eye level if I'm lying flat in bed, on my stomach, and I can look out of the window, at the endless loop of traffic flowing past, and the line of headlights always coming down the mountain towards campus from the street on the opposite side of Av. Garza de Sada, which is the very busy street that runs north and south in front of campus.

Nothing I do tonight settles down my brain. It's the kind of night I have frequently in Austin, but usually dull with whisky or wine in order to sleep. But I'm not doing that here, not so much because I can't, because it is possible to sneak alcohol into the rooms (plenty of people do it), but because I've made the very conscious decision not to. These past two weeks, even though I've had a handful of drinks, have been the first time I've honestly felt totally sober and lucid in almost a year.

I went to a party tonight on the roof of an apartment complex about three blocks from campus. There are about 45 kids living there from Texas Tech (I had no idea), and I went with these two girls I met from McAllen, but who go to school in other places. They're both very nice and very funny. Whenever I'm with them, I laugh constantly. The party was lame, so we busted out early. They grabbed a cab to head down to the Barrio Antigua area for some nightclubbing, and I started walking home. It was about 12:30, and I was so close to campus I thought nothing of it. But on my way home, a big black truck full of Mexican boys drove by me not once, but twice (in totally opposite directions), yelling things out the window at me in Spanish and laughing hysterically. I have no idea what they were saying. They could have been yelling, "The weather is magnificent, I'm so happy to be alive," for all I know, but where I come from, when you're me (or a reasonable facsimile), and a big truck full of boys drives by you and they yell things out the window, it's never good. The first time I didn't think much of it, despite the fact that they slowed down next to me on a very busy street to yell, but the second time, when I had turned a corner and was heading totally away from the direction they had originally been traveling, and it happened again, my heart raced. I was only about a block from my dorm, but I was already scoping out escape routes and judging how quickly I could run in my Maddens if it became necessary.

I feel much more connected to this city than I did even two days ago. Something in me shifted when I woke up on Thursday morning. It was literally overnight. I can't say what, but I think it might have to do with all the shifts currently going on in my body and my emotions. I already feel changed, and after another 4 weeks or so, who knows how I'll return to Austin. Obviously, on a fundamental level I'll still be the same person, but being here in this capacity, and spending so much time alone, and truly being sober and quiet in that aloneness has already started opening up pathways in my brain I haven't been in touch with in years, and in some cases, ever. I can't say it's for the better or the worse, but I'm assuming for the better at this point. I should have been doing this nine months ago, but you live and you learn and you have to figure it out on your own time.

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