notes from mexico, pt. 1


On my last morning in CDMX I woke up sad for no reason and stared at the ceiling listening to Mexico by Cake. I wondered if it was some acid-induced serotonin depletion and leaned into it, transitioning to Queensboro Bridge by David Mead and thinking of NYC with mixed affection and dread. It's my first day back, and I already feel like I don't have the capacity for anything but a gradual transition back to "real life" before I leave again for the rest of July; going into the office will take a near-insurmountable amount of energy. Instead of working on migrating one of our pipelines to an AWS-based infrastructure I am currently sitting on my couch listening to Diana Ross. At least I went grocery shopping. ___ 6/21/22 Since deleting Instagram my phone has become a brick, I no longer have any outlet for casual self-expression or aimless stimulation. Now I'm limited to just texting people, and the unfortunate reality is that not everybody is available and willing to just talk about their thoughts and feelings all day. As I type this I'm waiting for Juhi to wake up, it's gray and a little chilly today--Catherine compared the weather to SF--and the mood is low. Everybody is content to be quiet, and relatedly, everybody is possessed by a different ailment. At Lardo Catherine kept sneezing and Claudia seemed singlemindedly focused on getting through her nausea. As we approached the restaurant and I saw the globe lights and wooden chairs I started feeling a little embarrassed about having nominated this place, which was pleasant and beautiful but in a suspicious way. It reminded me of restaurants in NYC, the kind of places people go to be and feel picturesque, an opiate of unspecific capital diffusing throughout. It also felt representative of the palpable bubble that comprises Condesa and Roma Norte. I had wanted to go because Robby had recommended it, and I thought about him and wondered how he had felt being in that restaurant. He must have felt positively enough. As we walked to the pharmacy then back to our Airbnb I thought, at least the trees have always been here. It made me think of Fort Greene, also a gentrifying/gentrified neighborhood with beautiful, old trees and beautiful, old buildings that have remained unchanged amidst the morally ambiguous transitions in population and character. As we were walking around yesterday I thought about Hemingway and Gabriel Garcia Marquez and how the trees and stucco buildings seemed to exhale weariness at the passage of time. But how much was I just projecting onto my surroundings, and how much did my lack of knowledge about the country and city enable this? I think the city does have a sense of history because of the sprawl and the varied architecture and the flora; in comparison, American cities seem both naive and on the verge of falling apart, places bolstered by wasteful uses of capital, i.e. nothingness. But how much do people know about the history of the cities and towns where they grew up anyway? I am really happy to be here. I feel just disconnected enough from real life that my texts with people feel like dispatches from a dream even if there is no difference in how they feel on the receiving end. Yesterday I kept opening texts and not responding to them, sometimes returning to them throughout the day to re-read them and mull on how to respond. It's nice to spend hours sitting outside a coffeeshop, content to be doing nothing more than talking with your friends. 6/25/22 Today as I watched butterflies fluttering between the fuschia jacaranda blossoms from where I lay on the deck of our Xochimilco boat I felt a little lonely and drifted asleep. I sometimes feel voyeuristic being here, an impartial third party separate from the interrelations of Claudia, Catherine, and Juhi's friendships. When Juhi and I sat at the counter of the coffeeshop in Coyoacan she told me that whenever one person isn't present she assumes the others are talking about them. On Thursday night when we sat outside the mezcal bar before going to Funk and placed a moratorium on hip/unhip talk, sex talk, relationship talk, and hotness talk, they reminisced about how in college they mostly had just talked about what they were learning or reading or doing, which made me a little wistful, I wish I had memories like that of standing in my friends' kitchens or sitting at their dining tables while bonding intellectually. The texting flirtationships I was engaging in are coming to their logical ends.. When talking with Juhi about them I felt like I was on this high, the way I usually feel when Juhi and I are discussing something and perpetually discovering how similar we are, but I feel like I came down to earth a day later, the relationships feel insubstantial and doomed... 6/26/22 - Writing this on our underused terrace, listening to The Doors and feeling fried from the combination of acid and a little under four hours of sleep. - The pride rave last night was in a semi-converted parking structure on the side of the highway in a part of Mexico City we hadn't yet ventured into. "The void," the low visibility from enthusiastic use of the fog machine, "I feel like we're trekking through Mount Everest," Juhi's Claudia's and my goblin dancing towards the back of the void, the bonding that happens over a shared enemy on the dance floor when they invade and occupy your space, the burst of energy that came with every new drop, feeling limp and faint as I danced as if I could easily miss a step and fall to the floor, the rush that comes with good nightlife. When we were in "the zone" (as opposed to "the void") there was a moment where I felt like I had transcended and my body was just a vessel for the collective effervescence and unbridled hedonism flowing through the room, everyone's whooping and dancing revving each other up further and further. At another point the blue-and-red-striped lights made everyone look to my drugged eyes as if they were characters in a Lichtenstein painting, their outlines etched in diagonal blue-and-red lines. Amidst the smoke and thin tubes of neon red light I thought about Burial and Mark Fisher and depressive anhedonia and thought, I wonder if this is what Mark was talking about, the chase for this euphoria and the resulting easy togetherness you feel with your companions being the drive underlying my everyday life. - It reminded me of when I was reading about the Limelight/Tunnel movement in What I Loved, the part where the uncle is reading the flyers in the nephew's room and he thinks the slogans like "Protect our scene!" are childish. Even if he thinks the lack of specificity is representative of some missing critical moral underpinning, it feels so special to be part of a culture that has existed both locally and globally for decades now, even if it's probably nihilistic and corporate these days in comparison to its previous iterations. Anybody can be a part of the scene by going to enough RA events I suppose, there's nothing particularly reciprocal or mutual with creators/DJs in my participation in the scene, but I'd like to think the force of the emotions I've experienced when raving are enough. I think of James from the record store downstairs peaking at Paradise Garage, looking a girl in the eyes at a diner the morning after a night out and realizing he doesn't even know her name; I think of Junglist; it's hard to think of these and not feel like you are sharing in something larger and special. - I love talking to Juhi when we're on acid. When we got home I tried to lay very still on the couch and watched the popcorn molding on our ceiling bloom and wondered if being completely immobile and horizontal would help reduce the sensory stimulation. She made a comment about how all my stories about friendships feel like they're about relationships, "it's hard being an empath," we joked. We sat and talked for hours about being in love, being young, their friendships/our friendships with each other. - Lately I've been coming around to the idea that I'm a huge romantic after someone I'd just met made the observation as we sat and talked in Tompkins Square Park. Relatedly I've been thinking more about Silas's assertion that it's "a fun and sexy time" when people in a group possess interrelated bits of intimate knowledge about each other and are aware of it without knowing exactly what the contents of those bits are. It is kind of sweet to think about my friendships as relationships, my newer friends as people I'm platonically dating and trying to create some special bond with. I think of Juhi painting Jason's birthday card and Jason hugging her and telling her, "Juhi, you're the best," and I feel the euphoria as if it's my own, being proximate to someone "on the precipice of falling in love" fills me with so much excitement at being reminded of what whirlwind romance feels like. ___ "He was facedown pretending that he was someone else. I was watching him facedown pretending I was someone else. It was over soon. He slapped me on the ass as I walked out the door of the weird gym. 'You'll find your way out,' he said, already walking away. Miraculously I did find my way out without any help--maybe I could escape a serial killer. Before I realized what I was doing, I walked all the way northwest of downtown to go back to the mysterious unfinished building. I wasn't sad, bummed, or even slightly inconvenienced, to be honest, but I did have the urge to remember a day that was before today. I had the urge to think about a time that had felt, for lack of a better term, romantic."