RUN FORREST RUN

8 01 2010

UNTETHERED HIGHWAY WORD

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Travel.

Count out a few Cuban pesos and leave for the highway to catch a lift. The Eight Roads are a concrete attempt to alleviate our freedom aphasia.

Travel. Leave Havana. Any movement in a plane is a sign of assertiveness (said a Nobel Prize prize winner exiled to the former USSR).

You park yourself early in the Yellow Spot, where they pick up riders, and trust that one of those State inspectors will stop something for you. A car, a cart, a truck. Anything to escape.

Traveling to nowhere. Traveling for the pure pleasure of breaking the inertia. And to pretend, at least during the journey, the adventure of a new dislocation.

Traveling to become a quantum cloud of free electrons: an unbalanced equation, a wave with remote possibilities of regaining the will to live in this other country (Cuba as otherness, Havana as redundancy).

You ride in the bed of a tractor and let the air enliven you.

The miles pass. The vegetation remains. The smell improves: grass, smoke, animal feces… the color is unique in the world: a yellow green at times scorched by an unproductive tedium of vegetation.

You cross geopolitical imaginary lines: fragments of provinces that speak the same language and mistrust the same god. The posters are unnecessary: neither quiet now nothing to name (Cuba as unknowable adjective). The political banners promise for the penultimate time, optimism: the more they press the goodness of development the more it blurs your cubangelio.

Travel to throw yourself near the place that moves you more. A range of hills, the remains of a dam, an impressive bridge, a dairy or a field overrun by marabu weed, a marsh drying up, quarries abandoned to the water table, a Nuclear City that was outdated in Newton’s Mechanics (but without apples), bypassing its moment of being a futuristic marvel of engineering (today just a broken roundabout), people from a mixed ideologically mimetic biology, resellers of everything in the ditches, permanent pan-national points of police control, and an ethnic et cetera of immediate enthusiasm at our initial depression.

Travel to kill time. To scare us away from the impulsive distance of our intrepidity. To stop short in some corner. To make ourselves nervous and Nowhereland. To plan an immediate return. Another flight in the inverse direction, in chronic circles. Travel to travel back.

With a few less Cuban pesos. The Eight Roads as atonement narrative (or, better, nothingative) of our state of absolute Havananinity: city that never quite kills us, nor even entirely lets us kill.

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