Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Romantic’s solitude -Versión en inglés del post "La soledad del romántico"

I’ve been questioning myself the last couple hours why I’m so upset over not being able to change the bulb in the motorcycle’s front lamp. Something happened and it seems impossible to remove the old bulb without damaging the connectors. Anyone would say: “What’s the big deal? Just have a mechanic take a look at it in the morning”. And yes, that’s most likely what I’ll do, but I’m in a rotten mood now. After much thinking and a couple glasses of Johnny Walker Black Label (the single malt they had was the cheap kind), I’ve come to the conclusion that what really bothers me is my incompetence to deal with anything in a remotely “classic” way, as opposed to the “romantic” way.
Romantic is he who sees things in life according to an aesthetic set of values. Classic is he who sees things in terms of their practical significance. An artist paints a beautiful picture of a motorcycle by a mountain slope, a Romantic vision of the machine. A mechanic changes the motorcycle’s jets so the mountain’s altitude is not a problem, a Classic vision of the machine.

I’ve considered myself a romantic my whole life, and always proud to be. But lately I’m truly annoyed at how inept I am when needing to adapt my view of life towards something more Classic. I guess that’s the reason why I get so frustrated and anguish takes over me whenever there’s something wrong with Roro, and I’m sure it’s also the reason why I travel with two saddlebags full of tools and spare parts.

I’m well aware of how inadequate I am at practical problem solving. I can change a flat tire, in theory. I know how to change the motor oil and clean the wheel chain, but that’s because I’ve had to do it a thousand times and practice makes perfect. But when something new is wrong with the bike I’m forced to use my intellect to analyze, assess and decide what needs to be done. In this kind of situation it seems my intellect recoils behind my romanticism and I’m incapable of something as stupid as changing some damn bulb (well, I’m able, but after much cursing and yelling when I find out that the plastic has melted together with the connectors).

Math, Science, and in general anything that requires rational analysis, was never my forte. It’s not that I didn’t have potential for it, but I was lazy and found it easier to develop that which I already had some kind of talent for. It’s easy to dedicate oneself to something that comes easy, what’s tough is to master a discipline to which you’re not genetically predisposed. We’re such slackers and cowards! Instead of fulfilling our great potential we settle for whatever comes easy to us and we call it talent. I’m so sick and tired of this. Come to think of it, that may be the reason why I came up with this trip in the first place, to have problems and be forced to resolve them on my own. And when I finally know how to fix the bike by myself I’m sure the pictures I take of her are going to have a different meaning. It’s time to put my brain to use because being a romantic will lead to one thing only: Solitude. The Romantic is doomed to a life of cruel solitude because his expectations of people and the world will never come true. He’s a dreamer, and only when he dreams is he truly happy. But you can’t spend your whole life sleeping. I don’t know, maybe it’s just better to accept my condition so I won’t be so upset next time the bathroom faucet breaks. I can always call a plumber, but see? fucking laziness again. Calling a plumber when maybe a little Teflon-tape can do the trick. Just fix the freakin’ faucet and then you can return to your “Art”. But fix the faucet first.

The world doesn’t need more artists or scientists. What it needs is more scientists who can create, and more artists who can analyse. This “predisposition” to some specific discipline is an idea born out of our passiveness. Virtuosity exists, yes, but that’s a whole different story. There’s only a handful of virtuosos in the world and all the rest of us are at the same level with the same kind of potential. If we don’t achieve much it’s because we’re lazy or afraid, not because we can’t.

Charlie Chaplin was the master of Content. Eisenstein was the master of Form. But whom I admire the most is Kubrick, master of Content and Form. Stanley was often criticized for being obsessive. He could analyze anything that was in front of him down to the smallest detail. And yet he was an artist, you need only to watch his films to know he viewed life through a Romantic lens. Such amazing intellect: half-romantic and half-classic. That is the goal, that’s the objective.

Ushuaia is just a physical challenge. The Ushuaia I want to conquer is further away, and the road to it tougher than any ‘terracería’.
So lets keep going, moving forward.

I wish he was alive and filming.

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