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Excuse my absence from this space, dear readers, but to put it bluntly, things are pretty fucked up for me these days here across the Straits.
I won’t bore or burden you with the details. Suffice to say, I’m between a rock and a hard place with very little wiggle room. To boot, it’s my own fault. I alone am responsible. I don’t have to tell you this makes it worse. Much worse.
I’m trying to be Zen about it, but I’m not a Buddhist and I’ve never been a good believer (although I do have faith, but don’t ask me in what right now because frankly, I’m a mess), so it’s very difficult for me to “rest in the middle way.” My (present) inability to resolve this particular problem of my own doing is salt in my wound, lemon juice in my third eye.
For all the wonderful experiences I’ve lived and all the skills I’ve acquired in almost nine years here in Havana, sometimes living abroad sucks. For so many reasons. And while I don’t think I’ve glorified it per se, I’m not sure I’ve devoted enough keystrokes or analysis to all the factors that make it ulcer-producing. That erode my confidence, opening a sluice gate of self doubt and re-awakening insecurities I thought long conquered.
There’s the language for one (and after all this time, I still struggle) which, for someone who traffics in words is a toxic state of affairs. Then there’s what has been “left behind.” Even with the Internet, important emotional and practical pieces of my pre-Cuba life have broken off and fallen away like the façade of an Old Havana tenement. All but my closest relationships (which I work hard to maintain and grow from afar – no es fácil) sit idle, parked in a 9-year coma. My littlest niece is wearing bras and discovering rock ‘n roll, my friends have kids I’ve never met, and my mom grows older. My namesake and goddaughter, much like me at her age, is going through her parents’ break up and I’m missing all of it. I’m neither comfort nor counsel to these people I love.
The practical business of taxes and jury duty, student loans and passport renewal is a whole other ball of angst-enhancing wax (and if I do indeed have an ulcer, these administrative and fiscal obligations are to blame). Attending these boorish tasks, for different reasons, is often impossible from here. Given this state of affairs, some things slide. And I’ve let them. I’ve got no one to blame but myself for arriving between this rock and hard place.
I had planned on writing a triumphant post today about how I faced and conquered this particular problem, how I found my metaphorical paddle in this creek I’m up, but I failed. Twice now I’ve failed. And if first time failure is disheartening, the second time around is downright frightening.
So here I am, scared for our financial future which is riding on a writing gig I’m due to start next week. This project is huge and depends on me passing the Cuban road test. Twice I’ve failed. And I only have one more chance (see note).
I’ve always believed three is a charm. In this case, it damn well better be.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Conner’s Adventures with the Cuban DMV.
I’ve driven (well, I might add) for years in contexts as demanding as LA, Mexico, and Manhattan, making Havana a piece of cake comparatively. I know these streets well, having driven at all hours of day and night, during black outs and fierce tropical storms. But that was before I let my US driver’s license expire. Stupid, stupid, stupid move. Hopefully by writing this someone, somewhere will learn from my ridiculous mistake.