Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Equatorial sunsets don’t offer much in the way of twilight. The mustachioed bartender flicked on a string of little illuminated plastic sombreros. In your apartment, this kind of decoration would be depressing, but here, they imbued the bar with warmth that made the patrons lean in a little closer.
“You ever see ‘Braveheart’?”
His tongue was getting a little fatter, this being the margarita that would inspire his girlfriend to ask, “don’t you think you should slow down?”
At least the little bar didn’t play Mexican music. It was hard to find a drinking spot in small towns that didn’t constantly have mariachi’s belting out “Cielo Lindo” from a tinny mono.
“‘Gladiator’, ‘Robin Hood’, ‘Rome’? I mean, they’re all pretty much the same: epic tales about very tough men persevering in the face of enormous physical resistance. Middle ages, Rome, Greece: it doesn’t really matter when it takes place, it’s unrecognizably different from now, and so are the impossibly hard heroes. Sitting there, watching them swing their swords, rally their loyal followers on horseback, and make the tough decisions that shape histories both personal and global, you’d like to think to yourself, ‘Man, I’d fucking lay down and spill my innards on that wheat field for the safety of my people too. I’d be epic too. I’d be hard if I had too.’ ”
The sound of a blender too can be grating in your home, but somehow it too had a reassuring, comforting sound here at the Cantina Fresco.
“Invariably in these films there is a foil for the hero. A lizard-like senator or court sycophant who skulks in the halls of power, bending to the fascist will of whichever power is oppressing our hero. Preening his long hair with soft, slender hands, he sides with the establishment for no other reason than it will afford him the greatest personal luxury. Sometimes he is a traitor, which I’ll admit is bad. But mostly he’s just a man who has been faced with overwhelming odds, and decided not to resist. He saw the paradigm changing, and positioned himself for the new reality.”
No one at the bar liked the direction this was taking. A crew-cut teenager paid his tab with wrinkled notes from his bathing suit.
“How come his story is never told? He behaves like just about every single man in the audience would, if faced with similar a similar reality. I, for one, know that I wouldn’t cauterize my own wounds with a firebrand just to bound back into muddy battle. No sir. I’d be in the Senate, planning; or in the palace, counting the King’s money. And I’d be thanking my fucking stars that I was clean and dry.”
Not even the cicidas argued.