i need a cigarette
I’m going to visit my brother at his new place in Hermosa Beach soon. I can tell he needs to see someone he knows, to revisit a strong connection, as he hasn’t met anyone out there yet. He is alone in Southern California with only the hazy blur of heat rising like waves to keep him company.
He slaves away in a suit in an office filled with squares and comes home exhausted to a dog that has a farting problem. He eats take out every night and watches too much porn. He has every cable channel and every video game console and gigabytes of music consuming his itunes library but he is always bored and never has anything to do. He walks his dog a lot and drinks more than he should. He sends everyone text about random thoughts he has but only half the people respond if even that much.
Meeting people has always been a challenge. He gets insecure and pretends he’s someone else and so never truly knows anyone, only knows what they know of him, which in the end is half lies anyway. He gets nervous in small crowds and blurts things out which he always regrets but can never fix.
But I know him well and he is comfortable around me.
So I'm going to see him soon. In southern California. We will go to his local bar and drink whiskey and beer. We will try to have an epic night in Hollywood and wind up in a diner, drunk, in the dim morning light, talking about when we were teenagers. We will visit friends of mine in San Diego and marvel at their children and their powerfully simple life as a couple of teachers in a small beach town. We will do nothing but eat burgers and watch TV. I only have four nights there. So we have to squeeze it all in. The entire familial bond. The generation that is us two. The history we are soaked in.
But he is determined to go to Tijuana.
I’m not sure why. From what friends and acquaintances and the media have told me, Tijuana isn’t the place we want to be right now. There is talk of drug cartels and war. Of violence on open corners and law enforcement doing the best they can under the circumstances. They say it is dangerous, more dangerous than usual. All advise I do not go.
Of course, this goes against the grain of my brothers’ logic, which is: What are the odds of us getting shot or murdered in a Mexican drug war? And I have to agree with him there. My life isn’t that spectacular, to where I would die in something as sensational as a drug war, let alone a Mexican one. So as usual, I’m going to go along in my normal well what else is there? attitude. Hopefully, I’ll get shot or murdered.