I usually associate summer time with the happiest of things: warmer and longer days, sun touched skin, dining out, swimming in the ocean and, as a good portuguese, grilled sardines.
But this summer or at least its beginning, has been feeling kinda off and I’m not sure why is that.
It might be due to the weather itself: the warmth didn’t come up until very late in the season and it didn’t last much as well, so far. Climate change, like most things in life, becomes harder to deny when you feel it in your skin.
It also could be related to the death of Anthony Bourdain. Usually, when somebody that I’ve never met in real life, but that I admire, dies, it doesn’t really hit me. I may spare a thought or two on them, regret that there will be no more magic coming from that particular person and then move on with my life, without blinking much. But I’ve found myself thinking about Bourdain for days and days and more surprisingly, actually feeling sad about it. I could say that it was because he inspired me to travel, to get out of my comfort zone, to try new things when it comes to food or life, as everyone else did. All of that would have been a lie though. The real reason why it stayed with me, it was because this ever so adventurous person took its own life. Which in a way felt as such a big contradiction from what he stood for. But on the other hand, what do we know about anyone’s life, really? I guess that was the real point. It breaks my heart that we all suffer in silence, that we are all still kind of ashamed of our own struggles. There’s this myth that technology is bringing us close together: we have thousands of whatsapp groups, loads of followers on instagram or twitter, bookclubs on facebook. People rave about online communities. And yet it feels to me that we are growing apart not only from each other but also from ourselves.
A couple years ago I visited this eco-village place. People have been living in that community for more than thirty years, it’s kind of big and it has some great achievements on a sustainability level. But what I mostly remember is how people locked eyes with every one on the “road”. I grew up in a very small village, so the concept is not totally new to me. And if you go into the true heart of every city in Portugal, I’m sure you will find it there as well. Except in that eco-place people actually stopped to engage in a conversation. It’s like they had all that time in their hands, like wherever they were going to was not as urging as stopping to exchange a few words with a complete stranger. I was hugged more times there in one day than I would probably be in a year on my everyday live. They told me how working through their issues together was a huge deal there, because if only one person was feeling down, that would directly influence the whole community. So even though it was painful most of the times and it took a lot of time and hard work, this was their priority. I thought all of this was brilliant and wonderful but I was unsure how something like that could ever work outside of a bubble.
So when this kind of news hit my door, I feel all the questions rising again. How can we take better care of each other? When are we really going to start? And seriously, where the fuck are we running to?