Headed out to New Mexico for a spring break. It turned out to be cold and windy, and I spent most of it sighing to myself, sniffling a great deal, and feverish, popping aspirins and swigging caffeine to stay on my feet.
Came back to find my car battery done with. So now I have that to sort out. My dryer is also on hartaal. You shall be dealt with too, in due time. I returned in a bouncy mood, so I am not yet cranky about all of this.
Why a bouncy mood, you might ask? New Mexico is a wild and wonderful place, the arid, western frontier of reds and ochres that the Hollywood films exaggerate to paint loyalty born of dreams in faraway kids. The vast expanse of land, dotted only by tumbleweed and the occasional shack, is a sight to drink in after spending the last three months in the Bay Area sprawl, after working in San Francisco.
New Mexico is a land of stark contrasts: California retirees go there to buy homes to die in, because it is affordable, and they go about in their mini-coopers right past the heroin addicts (it is heroin country here), the homeless, and the teeming masses of unemployed young men of local descent. There is tourism catering to the coastal vacationeers, nice tours that take you to pueblos, not unlike how wildlife sanctuaries in some countries organize tours to see endangered wildlife (Pointing is rude, unless they aren’t one of us).
While I managed to get my usual quota of socio-political observations, I didn’t go there for venturing into amateur anthropological absurdities.
I went to R&R (rest and rejuvenate, in New Mexican tourist parlance). I wound up at a hot springs pond in the mountains underneath the full moon.
Passover was marked at the Jewish association, and the food and the company left me replete. We wound up discussing how altars and sacrifices emerged from psychological needs to surrender and to give up self and agency to another authority. It had been a long time since I’ve had a conversation that touched on interests in that domain, in exploring how the human psyche births into being the same needs and fantasies with common themes across geography and society. The last person who I had a conversation with on similar topics had been a diehard Foucault disciple. That had been a long conversation. Foucault isn’t really a philosopher in my book, as much as he is a hacker/interpreter/assembler putting things together succinctly and accessibly for the benefit of a broader audience. Going by the standards of today, where subjectivity and objectivity have become blurred, it is perhaps not unreasonable to call him a philosopher for our times.
I attended Easter Mass at an old and beautiful chapel, captured in faith by the beautiful choir ensemble they put together. I went to see an opera in a theatre by the desert, that opened out to the arid landscapes. I had my fill of art and food, of economically exiled California hippies and weed.
[I missed my family. Perhaps it is because I am not yet settled into my new apartment, and was traveling during a holiday I usually spend at home. Some tidings from there too, made me think of life and mortality and the importance of making things work for me as best as I can, cutting out stuff that isn’t working (all those todos that were never going to get done), without waiting for another day, for another time.]