Archive for May, 2007

Lights Out

Welp, after 2 weeks of preparation I had my 15 minutes of fame. 3 minutes actually. The non-profit organization that organizes the dance classes (among the capoeira ones I take) put together a big show at the "capitool", which is Ghent’s biggest theatre, to show off their best students.
Our teacher went on first with the berimbau, and his student playing the atabaque. (Capoeira instruments) The two best students then went and did the first two sequences of Bimba, after which the rest of us (10 in total) joined them on stage and performed a series of attack and defense sequences: Duck, Queixada, evade, Negativa Rolê, cartwheel, Mei Lua De Compasso, Martelo. Without time to think and about 1,500 people watching you. The whole thing took 3 minutes, which, come to think of it, reduces my time on stage to about 2 mins. But still, it was more than worth it. For 2 weeks I got to go to class twice a week, and we got to train some in the park, under a nice sun. Trust me, it feels like nothing before when there’s 10 of you doing the same sequence with equal passion and aggression. It’s a sense of pride I haven’t felt in a very long time.
I first subscribed to lessons after someone insisted I would. I tried to thank her later on but all I got was a cynical remark, I don’t believe she knows just how grateful I am. I’ve been getting compliments from more experienced students about my progress, and it’s a fantastic way to vent sometimes. Ducking, kicking, jumping, it gets an adrenalin rush doing that often lasts until I’m on my way home. The main difference between this and any other martial art, is that it lacks the types that are just out to kick or punch someone and then boast about it. It’s one group of equally charming individuals, doing our best to get it down to perfection.
A few of us already got our nicknames, like Dove or Mafia. I was at first named Mohican (mohawk) but since it was too hard for some to remember that quickly changed to Apache and eventually just, Punk. Not the most original name but I’m proud of it nonetheless. Capoeira encourages a personal style and I’m pretty sure I’m the first with a "punk" style, if that would make any sense at all. Don’t fuck with the Punk. Sounds pretty bad-ass though, no?
The day of the show I went to town a couple hour early to settle a few things that needed settling and take a walk through the city, my personal way of meditating. However walking seems to have turned into riding the bike recently, there’s nothing more relaxing than shooting through traffic and down steps. Anyway, my rear brakes needed replacing so I went and bought a pair of blocks and sat down in the park to work on them.
An elderly man passed by and started talking to me. I was just minding my own business, so my first reaction was "Great, someone lonely enough to talk to random people in the park." Nevertheless I was my usual friendly self and we actually got to talking about some interesting stuff, and the man turned out to be a good conversation partner. After a while, he just said "Well I’ll be off and let you work" and just strolled off.
It got me thinking, what kind of a cynical ass I’ve become to judge anyone talking to a stranger as lonely and socially retarded, while in this case it was the exact opposite. Belgium, in contrary to any other countries like the Netherlands, the US or Spain, houses the kind of people that look at you funny when you talk to them. At a bar, or basically just any place, you are branded "Loser" when you open your mouth unless introduced by a common friend, first. I realize very well I’m a text book example of this. I’ll talk back when spoken to, but even then with a certain suspicion. Quite sad actually, but hey at least I don’t just blatantly ignore the person in question like some would.
I went and put my Roger Waters (singer of Pink Floyd) shirt on EBay! I feel like a whore right now, really. At first no one seemed to want it for €70, which suited me just fine. It’s a pretty awesome shirt and I can’t help wonder why I put it up in the first place. But alas, some guy was dumb enough to go and pay that much. A pretty hard-core Waters fan, judging from his past purchases. Not that I can blame him, the concert was beyond spectacular and the shirt really is worth much more than what I sold it for (dumb shit).
I’m trying really hard to be nice to this guy, but the fact that I’m giving him this über-cool shirt for little money weighs a bit. Him being a genuine asshole about it isn’t helping either. The first word I get from him literally went like this:
For your information I want this shirt sent BY REGISTERED MAIL. You may send me the total cost for this delivery and the object.
Please also, your account number and full address data.
When I receive all the information I wish for, only then will a transfer of the money be done.
With this, I count on your willing co-operation and on a smooth transaction.

With a friendly greeting,

The [name here] family.
Now I don’t know about anyone else, but this just rubs me the entirely wrong way. First of all he has the balls to demand a better service than agreed upon, then goes and asks for information he already has (shows a good trust) and then basically goes and threatens me. I replied in a manner as friendly as I could pull out of my ass, but if he’s going to continue that way he can just blow me nice and slow and kiss his beloved little tee goodbye. Fucking prick thinks he can boss me around, think again.
I need to watch myself carefully though, if he gives me negative feedback on the site I’m going to be feeling it next sale. Already 1 out of the 5 I got is bad, from some guy who couldn’t cope with fact I wasn’t pleased with a French version of Half-Life that I can’t update and go on the net with, in a broken case. His loss, but also mine. It doesn’t look good on ya when it says "AVOID THIS EBAYER AT ALL COST" on your profile. 2/6 would be a bit much, especially in a place where most insist on a 99% positive reputation.
It seems lately my posts have been little else than gloomy spittings of emotion. I’m not sure where all that came from but I do know it felt good getting them off my system. I’ve been getting gradually better at doing so, I manage to describe things I couldn’t put into words before.
If there is one thing I learned from the numerous shrinks that gave up on me, it’s that rambling does help. Here you got someone asking how you are, getting paid to do so but nonetheless. I had this habit of thinking for a minute, and then just tossing out exactly "how I was". Not just to anyone though, there aren’t too many shrinks that actually deserve the trust they ask of you. So-called professional secrecy goes right out the window when your father asks how it was, after all he’s the one paying.
Again, I honestly have no clue why suddenly general "Guess what happened this week" wasn’t enough anymore. Maybe I’ll figure it out in a while when I read back, but until then I’m more than happy not knowing. That’s right, for once I just don’t want to figure things out. When you cough up something slimy, and in this case very much alive and squirmy, you don’t go and dissect it either. You’re just happy it’s out and leave it behind for someone to sit in. I’m content with it being gone, end of story.


I cried for you yesterday.
When the pipe hit. The point where my skull bends along the back, the ugliest part of my head but for my mouth. The place I take things I did not see coming, but for a change of angle of the steel end resting on the grass next to me. Let go, unattended and free to land on my relatively soft bone, pulled into it by gravity.
I screamed.
From the top of my lungs, even though it didn’t hurt all that much. Because the guy releasing the pipe didn’t look what he was doing. Because he is a bit slow. Because he is heavy, and I can’t stand imperfect people because they remind me of myself. I couldn’t stand him, even though he had done nothing wrong to me. Because I’m not worth living for to you. I wanted to go home, I was working hard and efficiently, despite my frustration. Because of that frustration, because I wanted to close my eyes to it, and that blow cracked my walls.
From the top of my lungs I screamed, because I was dirty with the sand on which Limburg was built, reminding me of my two months in Leopoldsburg. What a failure that turned out to be. What a failure I felt, seeing the filth craws up my arms and stain body parts only dirt can reach. I was doing so well shutting out the memories, when I was called back to an undeniable reality so abruptly.
From the top of my lungs I screamed.
A meaningless utterance of frustration, a prayer for strength, an attempt for an echo, through the squirming thoughts inside my bruised skull if nowhere else, to keep me company; a request for someone to roar with me. A try for intimidation of the goddamn idiot letting go of a 3 meter long scaff pipe for no apparent reason.
A statement, that the hastily uttered ‘Sorry!’ and suddenly frightful eyes were simply not enough. That I needed more, to be asked if I was alright, to be taken care of, cradled, guided to my knees, even though it didn’t hurt all that much. To be told over and over what I am, and what I have done until I can cry it out, finally purifying, cleansing myself of a chemical my body can’t rid itself of. Told that I am worth living for, that I can save a life by just being me. And above all, I needed a goddamn shower.
A question, why a scream is the best I could do. Why I couldn’t pick up the pipe and swing it back at him, curse, shout, kick or punch. Why I broke down that very instant, reduced to something that can do nothing about itself but cry about it. Why I can’t form a coherent sentence in an unknown crowd, and only second-hand lame one-liners in a known one. Why I can’t be both unique and valuable, why I can’t be addressed the way I address without anyone taking it personal.
I screamed.
Because it was all I could do. Because I knew nothing else than the sudden tension pouring out of my mouth like a soul coughed up and choked out, escaping its prison, luckily without breaking it.
Because it is a temporary solution, a gesture that keeps you sane. The time was right, the reason was there, and no one could blame me. No one but me.
Because to you.
I am just not worth living for.
This entry is mostly fictive, but for the actual event.