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Part Ten: Why Did You Decide to Move to Argentina?

June 11, 2011

I just can’t face this story in a linear way anymore. The dread of trying to put it all in order paralyzes me. So many things happened, many of them were mortifying at the time. All I can do is bounce from one to another, try to put them out plainly, but the time escapes me. There is no sense of chronology.

It is cold and dry. Out on the quad in front of the Humanities Building, I shiver in my leather jacket. On the back, in pink, are painted the words, “Are you hung up?” My ass is on the cold ledge of concrete everyone uses as a bench, absorbing the iciness through my jeans. I smoke cigarette after cigarette before my psychology class.

Across from me on the mirror of the ledge I’m sitting on, facing me, are three kids. They’re laughing. I hear some words when they raise their voices. “…crazy bitch…in front of everyone…”

One of the other guys laughs. They are skinny, unshaven, look like hackey sackers with pointy elbows, their adolescence still in full swing, their voices not quite over cracking. They move closer together and talk conspiratorially and my heart beats faster. I stare fixedly at them as they burst into laugher, leaning away from each other to spare their ears.

“I can fucking hear what you’re saying. I know you’re fucking making fun of me!” I yell it across the quad at them, near tears.

“Hey,” says one guy, loudly but his voice full of tenderness, “we weren’t talking about you. I swear.”

Even from this distance, I can feel his sincerity and how wrong I was, and even though before I was so acutely humiliated I felt I had no choice but to defend myself, now I feel remorseful, brutish and crazy. I say, “OK. OK.” I hang my head and silently hate myself. Fucking idiot. Mother fucking crazy mother fucking idiot. I drop my cigarette on the ground, swing my backpack over my shoulder and pull the heavy door to the building open and go in to class. The heat is a wall I walk into.

The class is set up like a small auditorium except the floor is not at an incline. The professor is an animated guy who wears pinstriped shirts and writes the main points on a transparency projector. The material is difficult — there are so many classifications for crazy people and it’s hard to keep them all separate, to differentiate between clear-cut symptoms of one condition and another, one type or another. My butt starts to warm up in the molded plastic. I fiddle with the metal spiral of my notebook on the fold-out desk. Something about these chair-desk units is like a highchair.

He is at the front of the dim room and the class is filling up with sober faced kids who listen quietly in the dimness. I don’t know if any of them heard the outburst outside and I try not to look at them, but people leaning together in conversation catch my eye and I fixate on them, try to hear what they say.

Class starts and I listen in the gloomy room to known symptoms of psychological disorders.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2011 3:15 pm

    I can really feel you anxiety and paranoia here and your rational self battling it all out. Great writing and I am glad you’re getting it down.

  2. June 14, 2011 1:26 am

    Who says linear narratives are all that anyway. Memory presents the important stuff using its own algorithms as to what matters and when. Memory birthed all the Muses so I’m not one to argue with that deeper logic.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mnemosyne

    Thanks for writing this.

    • June 16, 2011 7:33 pm

      Thanks for reading – and the comment. I need to read more about Mnemosyne. Fascinating. Miss you.

  3. julia permalink
    October 24, 2011 3:08 am

    Kate I have been riveted by your blog posts esp. the ones on why you moved to Buenos Aires. I wondered over to your blog from the link on Matedor. Have to tell you – I am struck by your intelligence, heart, strength and gift for language. I will continue to read whatever you write. I also hope your friend Rick is doing better.

  4. Willie Nero permalink
    January 3, 2012 12:58 am

    Have you ever looked into professional help. I better you could one day feel happiness.

    Even some RX meds could change a few things for you. I do not say this to be a dick, but as a medical professorial.

    Your feels are normal, your reaction is not.

    Dr. Nero

    • February 4, 2012 12:07 pm

      I can’t imagine that a real doctor would presume to make a proclamation about the state of my mental health through a blog comment without knowing me. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given the arrogant nature of psychology. I can assure you that I’m taking care of my mental health.

  5. February 8, 2012 12:39 am

    “The heat is a wall I walk into.” Lines like this is what pulled me into your writing back in the summer of 2010, when we were planning a trip to Buenos Aires and rented an old apartment in San Telmo from a couple of tango dancers who mainly perform their art in clubs in Europe. I studied your bus book and I thank you for that as it made it much easier to traverse the city -t he way-too-big-city for a month’s stay. After a day in tightly-crowded, narrow-sidewalked BsAs it was relaxing to emerge from the subte and walk down our quiet street to our old place in San Telmo. We had visitors to our bario, of course, every Sunday. And we lived there!

  6. February 8, 2012 2:38 pm

    Loved BsAs! We had a hard time getting away but did manage to get to Iguazu. Fantastico!

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