In between getting older and being old, have I left living in Brazil a bit late? I have always felt that there must be places that offer more excitement than Australia. “Oh Gerard, have you not learnt enough yet. Excitement is what you make yourself?” This is what reasonable people have always told me. “You are out of your mind”, from the same reasonable people. Another favourite saying thrown as a morsel to keep me sated or even sedated. ” You will never find anything better than Australia”, “it is the best country.” Is this last bit an attempt to quell their own uncertainty?
Perhaps it is nothing more than my own wish to escape from getting old, pretending that moving about will stop ageing, I have a tendency to dream that a nirvana exists always somewhere else except at the present place. Another bout of useless dreaming of foreign countries. It could also be, that reasonable people are possessed with a lot of sangfroid but bereft of coping with anything much more exciting than a change of direction of stirring the tea and milk anti clockwise. Their major concession to adventure. I am surrounded by a sea of tea stirrers all in tandem. Round and round they stir.
I know, that Christmas always brings out in me a kind of melancholy. Contrary to what most people seem to want, my melancholy runs its course and doesn’t stop just because of a looming deadline. Perhaps unreal expectations are running rampant in others and I know and feel that too keenly. Does a certain date of 25th of December make necessary for a total mayhem of life? Is the 26th or 29th of Dec not very much like any other date? If the 25th is such a nice date, why is every day not like the 25th? Yes, I know it is Christmas and very special, but we still continue breathing, laughing, or not, like every other day. The sun comes up and goes down, just the same as any other day. It also often rains.
Today, it is still more than ten days till Christmas. Even so, in the shopping avenues there is a certain tension building up already. You can see an increase in tempo. Is time starting to run faster? Is the minute now getting shorter?
Brows are furrowed and people are nervously lugging huge trolleys laden with mountains of food. Today I saw a lady wearing a floral dress who would normally, (I assume somewhat brazenly) calmly go through the dairy division (small goods) of the super market to buy a small diet yoghurt. Today though, she threw all caution to the wind, loading 12 six packs of apricot smooth yoghurt with attached spoons in her groaning trolley.
Later on, while I was studying the different bags of garden potting mix outside, this same lady was ripping into one of the six packs apricot yoghurts with the spoon now unattached. After I bought and rolled my two bags of potting mix on my trolley to the footrest car and taking the trolley back, this same lady was on her third yoghurt. Is the Christmas spirit causing a hot fever resulting in an uncontrollable urge to slurp fruit laden yoghurt?
I remember last year finding a half eaten leg of ham in a bin just outside the Woolworth super market. It was in the full sun and would have gone off. In any case, flies were busy buzzing. It had teeth marks on it. Did some soul’s hunger get the better of him or her? Later on I speculated on who could possibly have partly eaten a leg of ham and then discard it in a bin. Did some people hold an impromptu ham eating party around the corner on the grass verge to celebrate the Christmas. Did they eat it late at night?
It is not unusual to see people buying food at the supermarket only to see them outside the door and start eating. They wrestle with the plastic wrapping. Their hands are shaking. This eating seems urgent and the need to satisfy hunger is immediate. Not a second to lose. One can assume that food had run out at home and that finally only hunger drove them to the shop…
It is therefore not surprising I started dreaming of how life would be in Brazil. An escape from the tedium. I can hardly believe that those sort of strange Woolworth eating cultural habits would exist there as well. I know that hunger thrives in Brazil. The slums of Rio have hordes of hungry kids going around for food. But they also laugh and play soccer. From my experience in Argentina, people do have different life habits. Hunger here seems lonely and suffered in isolation. In Brazil, I hope and speculate, hunger if it is still rampant there, is shared and communal. A shared hunger is preferred to an isolated one. Shared anything is better.
I found a house outside Rio de Janeiro with twenty five hectares and two waterfalls. Here it is.