Monday, October 27, 2008

The crazies and the abducted

Photos: Claudio Fuentes

Reading Yoani Sanchez’s post, “Impunity,” in Generation Y, I’m a little worried about Manolito, the crazy guy at 23rd and 12th Streets. I’d already told Orlando Luis that he was walking around shouting, down around… around 23rd and 14th Streets where they sell hotdogs, and to get him to leave one of the vendors gave him a hotdot. But today he was at the rápido fast food place shouting at a security guy who got out of a Lada. “Hey you, millionaire! Yes, you, with the Lada, with the white shirt! Yes, you, millionaire! You’re a millionaire! You’re a friend of Fidel Castro! Down! You hear me? Down!” The guy with the Lada had a tremendously evil face and people ignored the situation totally looking away, I was bursting with laughter against the counter, it was very funny; Manolito was in his element.
However, the other day Ciro and I had to come to the defense of a nut who was shouting at the top of his lungs at 23rd and 2nd, “Raul! Fidel, I can’t last any longer! Get me out of here! A boat!” to which the kids were answering that they were going with him. He was an old man of the “I-belong-to-the-association-of-combatants-and-no-one-notices-me” type who was trying to come to blows and ended up discussing with us: “Let us shout what we want, but with Fidel it’s not going to be permitted!” and to which Ciro fired up replied, “Shout what you want, it’s your right!” (Naivete on his part from having read too much foreign press.) The “combatant” left for lack of support from the apathetic little group enjoying the spectacle but surely missing the game of the old days when they and their friends could have broken ours and the nut’s legs: the youth are lost.
But this is a double entry, I leave the “unpunished” for the “abducted,” a very different category from that of Manolito: they are those who someday shouted like he does, but with total good sense and who, on winding roads, under strange conditions and even, I believe, at times unconsciously, were making concessions in their shouts until they became murmurs, until finally they got lost in a swarm of “there’s almost nothing you can say,” “after all it’s not so bad,” and “now that I’ve made it this far… to change direction and go back,” and even, “Me! I’ve never been interested in these things.”

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