Everybody wants to save Mexico

Apparently. 

Yesterday, someone smashed one of the windows of my car. The third one on the driver’s side. It’s a small window, and you can’t roll it down. Nothing was stolen because there was nothing in my car except seats and my swimming trunks. I take swimming trunks everywhere now. 

My friend Gabi noticed at 2:45 AM, when we were leaving the bar we had been in for a while. She was on the passenger seat. We had just dropped off another friend, Rich. He didn’t notice, or he didn’t say anything. Gabi turned around as we were talking and she said “Creo que te dieron un cristalazo”, which is Spanish for “I think someone smashed your window”. I couldn’t see that particular window from the driver’s seat. It’s tiny and hidden behind other windows. 

Gabi said it seemed like it had been an accident. No one would break THAT window intentionally. They hadn’t even tried to get in. What was their plan? My friend Ivan put his arm through the window and tried to open the door and couldn’t. Nothing else had been taken or destroyed. 

We joked about someone leaving a post-it note. 

Hey.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, my attempt at robbing you failed. The window I chose to break was not a particularly useful window. At least it’s cheap (I think), so you won’t have to empty your wallet (Get it?). Have a very nice rest of your life. 

-Pancho

So the next day I clean up the broken glass with Gabi’s help. She kept asking if I was upset. Of course I was, but it had happened before, so I was emotionally armed. I might have been more upset if they had taken my swimming trunks. 

My friends and I went to have breakfast, then walked for a while, then went to take their bus back home. They were visiting. I had driven them around most of the weekend, touristing around Guadalajara. Then they left. It was a nice couple of days. 

When I was driving back home, listening to the radio, I was bombarded with political party ads. If you live in Mexico or anywhere elections will be held soon, you know what I’m talking about. You know what I mean. If you don’t, here it goes. 

There are ten political parties in Mexico. Here they are in the order I found them in Wikipedia:

  • Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI)
  • Partido Acción Nacional (PAN)
  • Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD)
  • Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM or Verde)
  • Partido del Trabajo (PT)
  • Movimiento Ciudadano (originally Convergencia)
  • Nueva Alianza (PANAL)
  • MORENA (Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional but some people think it’s a reference to the Guadalupe Virgin)
  • Partido Encuentro Social 
  • Partido Humanista

All of these parties get free radio time. Also, all of the ads are directed to active members of the party. They’re transmitted nationwide, but you’re not supposed to pay attention if you’re not in the party. Excuse you. 

From six to twelve AM (so eighteen hours) political parties have thirty minutes (assigned and distributed based on rules I would like to understand, but don’t) to play thirty second spots. According to Uniradio, 3.3 spots are played every hour, but that number seems a bit low for me. Maybe it changes depending on the radio station. 

I don’t know, dear reader, if you have seen Enrique Peña Nieto’s TIME cover. I hope you haven’t, because you’re in for a treat. A google image search for “Saving Mexico” is a journey into the deep ends of Mexican Internet culture. Please go do it. I’ll wait here. Text isn’t going anywhere. 

That the cover exists is amazing in itself, but so is the public response. Very few informed citizens are open about their support. It’s more of a hidden opinion. Supporting Peña Nieto is almost a guilty pleasure. In some social circles, it’s treated like a disease. But there he is, on the cover of one of the planet’s most famous magazines. 

I’m going to stop writing about our president now, because this is not really about him. I’m not that political. I’ve never really liked getting into long discussions on the past, present and future of my country. It’s the phrase “Saving Mexico” that I’m particularly interested in. 

Everyone is using it now. 

Everyone wants to save Mexico now. Almost every political spot I’ve heard in the last two months has included some reference to saving us. Even the PRI wants to save us (and they’re currently in power). The other parties work very hard to convince you that your life is shit. You got no money. Your house is worth nothing. What kind of future do you want for your children? Is this what you want for your grand kids? 

In one of the ads, my son tells me to do the right thing, and give him the government he deserves, or else he’ll do it himself. I think it’s a PT ad. He tells me we have to save Mexico. 

In another one of the ads, a deep, sad voice asks me why I don’t have enough money. Where did all the missing people go? I think it’s a PRD ad. He tells me they’re lying to us. He tells me we would be better off with them. They could save Mexico. 

Yesterday, someone smashed one of the windows of my car.

Last week, three guys robbed a convenience store downtown. They killed a guy. 

Something happened last month. 

Last year. 

I don’t know what it takes to act. Most of the time I feel powerless. Defeated. I focus my attention somewhere else. I deny it. I spend my time writing these things instead of running for senator. I have never gone on strike. I’m not a member of any political party. I don’t own a Mexican flag. I once stole a Gansito from a convenience store. I write in English. 

I am in no way a model citizen. 

Still, it is very hard for me to believe that voting for the right party is going to save Mexico. I would even argue that there is no ‘saving’ to be done. We are not circling an endless typhoon of misery. We are not dying, nor are we dead. We are going through a bad time. A very bad time. 

I would like to invite you to picture someone that has really hurt you in some way in the past. I’m going to think about the guy who stole my stuff, you can think about whoever you want. Feel free to also not do this. 

Picture that person sleeping. 

Do they snore? Do they breathe loudly? Are they moving around in bed? Do your best to rid yourself of preconceptions about them. Whether you’re good or evil, you sleep. We sleep. 

Picture them eating your favorite food. 

Are they enjoying it as much as you do? What is their face doing? Do they chew with their mouth open or closed? Ask them if they liked it. Imagine their response. Whether you’re good or evil, you eat. We eat. 

There is no ‘turn off crime’ switch. There is no ‘turn off war’ switch. There is no ‘Save Mexico’ switch. We are not machines. The only way we’re getting out of this is talking and acting. Not being afraid. Not shutting up. Shouting. 

The last time someone broke into my car they took two years of my life. Two years of things. Two years of me.

Poof. 

Gone. 

There is no way I can prevent anyone from doing that again. Locks can be cracked as doors can be opened or kicked down. And car windows can be rolled down or smashed. Things can be taken. Things can be taken back. 

Tomorrow I will save Mexico by replacing my car window. 

Tomorrow I will save Mexico by reporting the incident to the police. 

Tomorrow I will do my best to save Mexico even if I do happen to do the occasional illegal thing. 

Today I will save Mexico by believing in us. 

Not god. 

Not the president. 

Us. 

The non staying club.

I’ve got to tell you something and I’m being dead serious about it. I’m perplexed by something I just discovered. Let me give you some context.

The other day I was finishing my read of Sleepwalk with me and other painfully true stories by one of my personal comedy heroes: Mike Birbiglia. He was 32 when he wrote that book, which is an awesome book. I maintain that it is no longer necessary for me to write an autobiography, since his life seems to have been so close to mine.

But then I started thinking, what would I write if I wrote an autobiography? Should I start right away, so that I don’t forget things? Will I remember things more brightly or more darkly? Had the fact that Birbiglia was so young when he wrote it have anything to do with his perception of his adolescence and childhood?

So I started mentally arranging the memories of my life and looking at significant moments and I’m drawing a blank on the elementary/middle school section. I can remember the time I spent with my family, but not at school.

And then it hit me. I think my mind blocked my memories of early school.

You know, because of bullying and stuff.

It is weird when you realize you have blocked an entire part of your mind because how do you know? How am I sure? What if I’m just very forgetful?

I need to dwell in this stuff for a while. I also just recently diagnosed myself with extreme social anxiety. I made this expert diagnosis because I just left a party I just could not be in any longer. There were too many people.

I have never actually gotten how to stay at really big parties. I know people normally do it. I kind of understand the charm, I’ve just never really applied it to myself. I do try sometimes, but it’s mostly when I’m medicated with either drugs or alcohol. Drugs don’t make things much better anyway, and alcohol doesn’t let me drive home. So like…there’s that.

And like now I’m here.

About making friends

I said I was going to be busy today and still this is the third post. Such is the process of procrastination.

For the readers unfamiliar with my current situation, I recently moved to guadalajara for a semester. I’m living alone in a one-room room (I really like that joke/expression). I like to think of this as a slight retreat from my usual surroundings. It’s doing wonders for my creativity and productivity.

HOWEVER

I have no friends. Which is like, supposed to be sad but right now it’s mostly just disappointing. Today I did something that wait a second did that girl just faint? Yep. She fainted. She’s up. Now she’s coughing. Oh my gawd what is going on. She’s being taken away in a golf cart. It’s more of a golf van. They have those here. Ok the lady is telling her to calm down. That’s probably what she should do.

Anyway today I stood up to a teacher. It was easy since the teacher was being very unfair and I don’t know him. I have no background on him. That, apparently, won me some points with people who hadn’t even looked at me in a month. The month we shared sitting in that classroom every Tuesday from four to ten.

That’s it. I’m tired. I’ll write more about this tomorrow. Meanwhile, here’s this.

What happened

On August 29th 2014, some friends and I went to cover a concert in Metepec. It was the first time we were attending a concert as press, and we felt suitably excited. We were getting recognized. The effort was paying off.

We arrived at the venue in my car. There was four of us. I parked the car in the corner in front of the venue, which was a very nice craft beer bar. It wasn’t really in front of the venue. It was almost in front of it.

The schematics of the bar are such that there are four windows looking out to the street right in the dining area. There is an outdoor garden in the back, in case you want to feel the fresh air on your beer. The restrooms are located in the second floor, which is also set up with tables and chairs, in case you want to dine high.

We disembarked (I tried to fancy up the expression “got out of the car”) and headed to the entrance of the bar. We had been led to believe that we would get in for free, being that we were there as press and all that. An hour and five cigarettes later, they told us that two of us could enter for free, we would have to pay for the other two. This was disappointing, but not unreasonable. There were four of us after all.

Meanwhile, the main band came outside to smoke and we had a very nice conversation with them. They’re called Bang Bangz. Check them out, they’re great musicians, not to mention, awesome people. We shared culture insights of Metepec and they shared jokes and told us about their trip so far and all of us were suddenly not bored. It was great.

I miss these guys.

They let us in after we paid and we started doing what we do best: Drink beer. We didn’t have much money, but we were drinking beer anyway. There were three bands scheduled to appear before Bang Bangz: White colors, Malvado and Greengo. They’re all great. I have linked each name to their facebook page, so check them out.

We listened to each band with a keen interest, so that we could write about this later. We assigned each of us a band to take pictures of. My friend Ivan is the greatest photographer out of all of us, so sometimes we would just get him to take the pictures.

After they played, we would rush them like a pack of wild dogs (but also very timidly) asking for an interview. We had never done that before. It was messy. What we did get was a bunch of pictures with them wearing the masks that we use as the symbol of our publication.

This is one of the best photos ever.

We made sure to frequently shout out our in-home created hashtag #QueBuenoQueVine (I’m so glad I came here) and infected some of the bands and assistants with it. Bang Bangz seemed to be the most excited about it, and made sure to shout it every time something even remotely exciting happened.

It was about midnight when the Bang Bangz finally started playing. I don’t remember exactly. They were great. Their sound engineer was not so great. We discovered, eventually, that is was some dude working with the production company and did not seem to know the most basic of audio concepts. Malvado made sure to scold him appropriately. That’s Malvado in the picture above, btw.

This is, of course, not the point of the article. I haven’t gotten to the good part yet. I’m building dramatic tension. And we’re already past the six hundred word mark.

The Bang Bangz guys seemed to not be as thrilled with their sound as they could have been, but they were still great. They gave us free stickers. I got a CD. It was wonderful. They made a shout-out to us during their set. We were crying tears of joy.

Being an independent musician myself, I was enjoying being part of all of it. Of both sides. I had just had a concert, not three days earlier. It had not gone too well, as some of my concerts tend to go. Some people sort of forget to send out invitations when they book you. It’s fine. So it goes.

So we came out of the bar tipsy and happy as could be. We kept pushing each other and insisting that “we had finally made it”. I was about to drive everyone to my house, from where everyone would spread out. We were just getting to that when we noticed tiny specks of glass on the street.

It was funny at first. I didn’t think anything of it. I vividly remember thinking “Oh man, they broke some guy’s car window.” I remember faintly smiling at the schadenfreude, when I noticed there were no other cars on the street. My friends were already standing around the non-existing window of the back door of my blue Ford Fiesta Ikon. It wasn’t there anymore.

I took this picture the next day.

Also not there anymore were my electric guitar, my looper, my microphone, my microphone stand, all my cables, and some of my hopes for my future. The electric guitar wasn’t even mine, it was my father’s.

It was a supremely humbling event. They had taken everything I had. Someone had won the fucking lottery and the grand prize was all my stuff. I was back at square one with an acoustic guitar.

My friends and I rode back to my house in silence. That’s how we show our support. There was an occasional “Man, it’s going to be ok.” and a “Fuck, man” and that was all that I needed. They spread out.

I let it plague my mind for a while. I wanted to hate somebody. Anger is normal in these situations. I wanted to kick someone’s ass. I wanted to steal back my stuff. Sometimes, I still fantasize about it.

I called my best friend and he was immediately pissed. I was taking it very lightly. I don’t like getting upset about stuff, but he was doing it for me, so it was great. He kept shouting that people are dicks and assholes and overall horrible living organisms. It made me feel better.

I spent the better part of the next day sitting at home, playing videogames. I stopped. I wanted nothing to do with music, for at least a while. Three days at least.

Once the storm passed, I started again. I shook the dust off the keyboard my god-father gave me for my sixteenth birthday. I experimented with vocals. I downloaded a looping app and started creating with it. I used electronic sounds more.

If you’re unsure what the point of this article is, let me shine some light. It is a story of resilience. Pretty soon, you will be hearing my new songs. The songs that stem from the really not-cool thing someone did to me about half a year ago. They’re good, I think. I love these songs. The people who have heard them seem to love them too.

I had to write this down because apparently I’m writing everything down now and I did not have an actual retelling of this episode. I had to write this down because some day I will be an older and wiser human being and I have to look back on something. I have to remember the moment when I was set back almost two years, technically speaking, and moved ahead.

My new album is coming around soon.

So here we go again.

Tuesdays

Hey guys. What’s up. It’s Tuesday.

I can’t write too much on Tuesdays since it’s my busiest day of the week. I have an insane amount of classes. Well maybe just three but they go on for three hours each, until 10 PM. It is not that nice. Could be better.

Anyway I wanted to write something to thank everyone for reading so far. It had been a while since this blog was active and I was unsure of how to get back on the metaphorical horse. I think it’s going pretty well. I’m working on more pool reviews, since they seem to be so popular with the young-uns nowadays. Also, thanks to everyone who read It’s you. It’s one of the more personal pieces I’ve written recently, and I’m glad to know some of you enjoyed it.

As a side note, today I saw a girl with a $WAG tattoo on her right arm. She looked young. This makes me think of the implications of her tattoo in the near and far future. I sure hope $WAG is still used thirty years from now, or she’ll have to do a lot of explaining. She probably has to do a lot of explaining already.

I don’t know if the tattoo was actually a tattoo or just sharpie. I hope it was sharpie.

Anyway, thanks for your continued support. I’ll write a proper article about tuesdays once I don’t have an exam approaching in five hours.

But please don’t be silent about this! If there’s something in particular that you would like me to write about, leave a comment or write to me at nikolasmurdock@gmail.com. There is no way I won’t notice.

Sincerely yours,

Nikolas Murdock

P.S There’s a song by Leon Lárregui called Brillas. It’s awesome. I heard it on the radio the other day. Love Day (February 14th) is coming up and if you have a special someone, you should definitely consider learning to play the guitar and playing that song. I know it’s short notice, but it’s worth it yo.