El Paso Actual, 08:30
Two days in, El Paso seems sedate, but I’ve a feeling this isn’t unusual. Streets seem clear and clean; wholesome. Very suburban Americana, school buses begin running their routes. To say that this could be hometown USA is an understatement. Football fields, wal-marts, Macdonalds, the lot.
These streets and their calmness belie what happens just a few miles and a river away. Some say that it’s because of the strict penalties on murder Texas employs; yet others believe that the reason there isn’t violence on these streets is that the network on this side isn’t yet disrupted, or, that no one’s tried disrupting it.
A neat whiskey in hand, sitting at the bar in Vitola's (a nice seeming bar in El Paso), I talk to the man sitting a few stools down. Being a stranger in a strange land, I ask him about El Paso in the last eight years. He tells me he moved up here from the valley a couple of years ago so he couldn't hazard a guess, but, it's nice here, more modern, and the women are pretty. I buy the man a whisky, and drink mine with him. After all, what else there for me to do here now but drink? Whisky is that little bit of comfort, that little bit of softening of the edge that makes these boring [highly subjective] nights go by smoothly. Those times when all I want to do is run, to be back in the moments in which the shape of my life depends on the next few steps I take; this urge, this want for the adrenalin, this want for being in those moments where everything else is forgotten except what's in front of me; around me; this immediacy of life, the swift collision of man and man; where the ground beneath you is shifting, shaking from the ordinance falling; eschewing all the first world frivolities . So, I drink, I talk, I listen to the stories of the man who moved here. His family, the bartender chimes in... And I realize that tomorrow I cross over.