I thought I would return to Tijuana with a head full of new information on the city from all the books I would read. But instead I returned knowing only more about myself, not the city. Perhaps that was the topic that would be most relevant to my journey back. That it was really about me all along, not the city. And that until I knew more about myself, I could not embrace new knowledge of the city. I needed my new eyes and ears and mind to be able to grasp it, and hold on to it, and live it and dream it.
I needed to form my own impression of the city, my own narrative before I could understand and learn from the narratives of others. Their perceptions are not insightful or alarming until I have a perception of my own. Until I have some context in which to understand the city. The images and smells and feelings color my own story. And I weave the stories of other’s through that.
I woke up today at 8:00am when my friend left for work, then I decided to go back to sleep. I woke again at 10:00am and ate my leftover pasta. Then I went back to bed and woke at 11:30. I cannot remember the last time I allowed myself to sleep in so much.
This morning, it was as though I was sleeping-in three different times, three days in a row. It was glorious. It was mine. The bed was so comfortable, the room so dark and cool and quiet. And I am free.
Yesterday at the San Diego airport I was overwhelmed with this sensation of freeness. It is a feel that only comes to me when I am alone, and when I am traveling.As I was walking through the airport to go to the rideshare pick up zone, I realized suddenly that I was free. I had not one with me to consider, no where to be urgently, nothing that I must do. If I wanted, I could have taken a seat by the cinnamon role stand and sat there for as long as I liked. I could have walked slowly past the tree that stood in the center of the sky bridge to see if they really were fig trees, as I suspected. I didn’t have anywhere urgent to be. That's how I felt again when I awoke this morning. The sun would be waiting for me when I woke up all the same. The lavender coffee would still be delicious. And, because I know it’s Mexico, the cafe would not be busy until night and lunch doesn’t even start until 1:00pm. I could have stayed n that bed all day if I wished. I had no one else to consider but myself and it was glorious.
I stepped out onto the street at a quarter past noon and the fierce sun greeted me with onyx shows and gold-plated neighborhoods. It is a sun I only know on this latitude.
I am so happy to be here. I am smiling without anyone looking at me. Smiling not out of kindness or human connection, but out of joy. That’s not all too common of me, I’ve realized.
I asked my friend later why he lived in Tijuana. He recited a linefrom a church song he learned as a child, “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bare.”
When he lived in other cities, he had a fear-of-missing-out all the time. He felt like he needed to go out every night or else the world would continue on without him. But in Tijuana, because the partying happens every night consistently, he feels like he is not missing anything. He gives himself permission to get off and back on when he wants. The party will still be there for him. This city gives the illusion that every opportunity is available to you all the time. Time and age and experience and circumstance will never eliminate the choices you have. This is perhaps the fantasy. In everywhere else in the world, it is known that if you wait too long you will miss your chance. But here, the options will be handed to you, tonight, and overnight, but not in endless monotony or repetition, because the city reinvents itself constantly, so the choices are forever new….
- Except from my diary, January 12, 2018