Wow! I can’t believe all of this time has got away from me. And, it’s strange how you can have certain plans and just watch them kind of dissolve away. Not so much in a bad way, but how the mind can just shift into some other gear.
I'm getting this Patreon fired up again! The first couple of posts will be public, then I'm going to shift to a mix of Patreon subscribers only, with a few Public ones mixed in to. And, I'm going to start putting a much larger mix and variety of things here in addition to travel stuff from the road. Content like audio experiments, stories in short chapter form, video art, and maybe something called "Psychogeography" projects... more on that later.
So, it's gonna be a mélange of artful expression coming on a regular basis. Please sign up to be one of my subscribers today! And, you can always unsubscribe if you want to take a break, then hop back on later. :)
There were a couple of little stories that I wanted to fill you in on from the tail end of the last Mexico trip.
First, there was an older man in the room next to mine. German fellow with a great smile. I think he was closing in on 80 years old and was still full of vim and vigor. Smiled every day, did exercises in his room, ate oatmeal and fruit, and took very long strolls to the Walmart in Merida for various supplies.
He said he’d been living that at Casa Bowen for a few months, but was about to move on toward Belize for a bit. His room was impeccably kept. He’d cleaned the old drapes himself by hand, and had repainted the room. Everything in it’s place.
I can’t recall his name now, but let’s just say it was Claus. That wasn’t his name, but Claus is as good as any I reckon.
Clause spent most of his life as an engineer on ships. Sounded like mostly cargo type ships, but I don’t think he ever said. He interested me mostly because he just seemed so happy go lucky without a care in the world. Didn’t have that tired look that many get later on in life, and was always quick with a clever little joke.
When I told him I was going to hike to the cemetery he asked, “Why the heck would you want to go there?!” I told him that they brilliantly paint all of the grave sites and mausoleums, and that it’s usually good for decent photos.” He shrugged and said, “At my age, I’m trying to steer as far from places like that as I can!” He smirked then laughed at amusement as his own joke. I laughed too… it was kinda funny.
Chatted with Claus off and on during the 10 days I was there. Every now and then he’d make a comment that kind of sounded racist, only it wasn’t consistent with his mostly peaceful manner.
One day I just straight out asked him if he was a racist against black people. He said that he didn’t feel that they were equal to us and that they tended to have characteristics that we don’t have… like a tendency toward violence. I was shocked, but I told him that although I didn’t agree with him, I’d like to know why he felt this way. Honestly, I did. I’d already decided I liked him, but I couldn’t fathom how he could have these beliefs.
Claus also spent a good deal of his time reading ancient greek literature, history and sounded extremely intelligent on a variety of topics. His feeling was that lighter skinned peoples migrated to the North and the darker skinned people migrated South. I told him that our common ancestor was supposed to be Lucy in Africa… a negro woman. He said they don’t really know the complexion of her skin because you can tell that from bones, etc.
I said that some of the examples of violence he cited had more to do with the conditions of poverty and that the white poor can be just as violent. He disagreed that they were the same, but conceded they could be as violent. His position was that in larger groups, darker skinned people can be much more violent than whites. But, he also said that Mexicans can be even more violent than the blacks.
What was so strange is that Claus seemed to have friends who are black, and loved Mexican people. He clarified these difference between different peoples is mostly just in group settings, not one on one or small groups. I said, “Oh come on! Look at the atrocities and mass killings perpetrated by white people. I don’t think this is racial thing, but likely a cultural thing.”
He stuck to his beliefs and I moved on to our President Trump. He said that he likes Trump, but thinks he’s more of a clown. That he doesn’t want to be a “good guy” because “good guys” aren’t remembered. The monsters are the only ones remembered centuries from now, and he cited how much Nazi SS memorabilia sells for. He said people are more fascinated with the dark and they always forget those who “did the right thing.”
I could go on about our conversations, but there’s just two things more I want to add. First, I did respect the fact that Claus at least spoke from a well thought out perspective. His racism didn’t sound like it’d come from his culture or upbringing. He’d studied the matter and made an educated decision about how he felt. He wasn’t merely parroting the hate of some demagogue.
Second, after he’d told me it was silly that I was going home to be with my wife for her broken ankle surgery… he said that it was pointless and that I’d be of no help. I told him but I love my wife and she needs me. That she’d be there for me if I was hurting. He seemed baffled by this sentiment.
Later in our conversation I asked him if he had any regret in his life. He said he had no regrets. I said “Oh come on! There’s got to be something you wish you’d done differently. I’ve got several things I wish I’d done differently, but mostly I have few regrets too.”
He paused for a bit, then looked up. He said, “I do have one regret. A long time ago I had a wonderful woman. I wish I’d been a better partner for her and could’ve kept from carousing about. If I’d been a better man for her, I would still be with her today.”