Thursday, September 11, 2008


I've been reading.

This is a claim I feel comfortable making after diving into a novel once every six months or so. Cosmic Banditos is currently on loan from Bree's personal library and I'm halfway through the short novel. I'm not going to summarize plots or delve into motifs and character symbolism, but I will go on to tell you that the crux of the tale is an attempt to explain the one thing each and every one of us is constantly looking to define, or at the very least, slightly understand. Life. The author chooses to have the book's crime-loving protagonist find clarity through quantum mechanics, space time continuums, and subatomic theories. Pretty heady stuff. (I attempted even to wikipedia ((possible verb use?)) quantum mechanics and understood very little until coming to: The fundamental rules of quantum mechanics assert that the state space of a system is a Hilbert Space and the observables are Hermitian operators acting on that space, but do not tell us which Hilbert space or which operators, or if it even exists. I immediately closed the window box before the gag reflex, mental breakdown, and coma could simultaneously hit.) The more or less I can wrap my understanding around is that this talk of quantum leaps and the like is based on the principle that life is not as simple as the laws of gravity that Sir Newton would have us believe. No, the universe operates in a chaotic nature with no rhyme or reason. Our reality simply culminated as a result of chance and the possibilities of other realities are just as likely as a Friday purchase of the ever affordable and reliable Ron Blanco (the finest rum of our fine city). Thrown out the window in this novel is any preconceived notions that causality or butterfly effects apply. No, more or less life is nothing but a random crapshoot and all we can do is pray for the dice to fall in our favor.

Now, where does this lead, you may ask. I really only have the slightest of ideas. To start with, as I read I began to think about experiences here in Chile, in Boston, in Asia. And while I may or may not be living a life quite similar to these subatomic particles that travel immeasurably and sporadically according to their current whim, I also can view these incidents as matters of cause and effect. Imagining the past had no effect on my decisions of where next to voyage or which pig knuckle sandwich not to eat, is simply ludicrous. Theories that are supposed to be contradictory seem more or less to be tied together and apply in all walks of life, whether it be mine or that of Neils Bohr. Thus, all I can do is to simply explain the happenings as they occur. Truly the only reason behind this blog is to do such, in the event that a larger quake than today's rumble, a larger chained bandit, or a larger junkyard pit bull decide to take my life. Why things happen and how things happen will be left to those in the white jackets. All I can do is relay to you what things happen. And so I will.

The daily grind never ceases to amaze. Take today for example. I headed to school around 8 AM EST (strangely time zones don't change while seasons and languages do). A typical Wednesday all planned out for me and my kiddos. Nope. Around 10, I get the call from the principal that we're heading to a government building to receive a mystery stereo for our school. After this unnecessary and ridiculous boombox presentation ceremony, we were flocked by the city press. Following two newspaper reporters, two television interviews, and a beachside newspaper photoshoot, a return to school was the next course of action. I was in the midst of enticing my seventh graders with a half eaten packet of cookies for whoever could produce a coherent english sentence when the students started flipping tables screaming and bolted the room. 6.0 earthquake? No sweat. Afternoon was hanging with our local surf champion stoned out of his head trying to crack jokes and give wave-catching advice til the sun went down. Chile played Colombia in a world cup qualifier tonight and dismantled them 4-0. Everytime a goal was scored, explosions rained down upon our beach town from neighboring houses. (Yes, Kyle, I am that lazy) And here we are.

Last weekend we celebrated birthdays. The theme was consumption. Saturday night we opted for liquids, Sunday night we switched to solids. In between those two festivals we tore apart a dance floor, I led a parade through the city's main street, and I had a Mercedes escort driving me to supermarkets in an all-out search for a proper ham and cheese sandwich. Allow me to explain.

Saturday night we tore apart a dance floor.

The anniversary of my school's foundation was this week. Clearly, a Sunday morning parade was essential. I showed up still feeling wonderful from the previous nights aforementioned activities and wandered amidst my students to the front of our formation. I began an improptu mock North Korean march to the beat of the army drums waiting for us in the plaza for my own amusement. Students started to chant and not wanting to make too much more of a spectacle of myself than I already was, I halted the high leg kicks and walked over to my principal and asked where I should locate myself as the parade was almost underway. Smiling, she pointed over my shoulder and signaled that I should retrace my steps to the previous location as I was about to lead this fine contingent of public school students down the city streets. Lead I did. A left-right-left cadence consumed my pace for the majority of the city stroll and I imagine those lining the streets behind metal barricades were most likely disturbed by how seriously gringo #1 was taking this joyous ceremony. Figuring I couldn't pencil in when exactly I would lead my next parade, I started busting out salutes and bows to the flag waving crowds. I was rolling.

Later that day, I got a call from one of our school administrators who I had spent a Friday afternoon sharing buffet steak and casually hitting on, allowing me to acquire a tutoring position for her 7 year old terror. She proceeded to ruin my planned Sunday of Slumber and swung by the house post parade to take me home to babysit young Ivan. Realizing that I couldn't play PS2 with her son on an empty stomach, she procceded to make stops at every supermarket that would please a delicate American stomach. Four grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and a pint of peach juice later, I met Ivan's entire Star Wars collection (a brief light saber battle occurred), rattled off some xylophone jams, and got bunny ears'd in a family portrait that I'm expecting to be mantle-worthy.

And then it was time for a proper birthday feast at MacKenzie's. An ideal 24 hours undoubtedly. A five day trek to Macchu Piccu followed by a Thursday-Sunday independence day celebratory binge awaits. What will happen will happen.

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