I went to Mexico in the autumn. An American, loud, crass, drunk, railed behind a bar in Mexico City – a bar in which he worked, a bar in which he served me pints.
‘All these fucking kids – these fucking kids – coming to Roma Norte. Coming to Mexico City looking for the real Mexico and coming to Roma Norte. Looking for the real Mexico in Roma Norte to write it on their fucking blog.’
I blushed. In my defence, I was blogless; I had no blogging ambitions. But I did harbour a desire to be a writer – a successful writer, a serious writer, a seriously successful writer. I blushed that first night in Roma Norte, suspecting that I was such a fucking kid, fearing that he suspected the same.
There’s not a chance he saw my blush, drunk as he was – distracted as he was by the dark. With a sound like an amplified applause, the bar’s electricity generator had thrown sparks into the cosmopolitan quietness of the leafy night. The bar fell, plunged I suppose, into darkness – or else the light whisped away, going to wherever light disappears when it’s dark. The American, tucking his Williamsburg beard into his ‘pants’, took his opportunity to entertain. He lit candles neatly arranged on the bar. He put his phone in a glass and played tinny guitar music. He talked and talked and talked and talked and I left him talking to return to my hostel – talking to the empty space from which even the light had escaped.
I saw him slumped outside his bar, drunk again, in the early hours of the morning of a day a few days later. I imagine that he’s in a similar position now, similarly drunk, similarly slumped, now four months on. Meanwhile, here I am writing a blog.