When Your Favorite Delusion Starts to Fade

La Rambla in night. Barcelona

When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life. Along the way, I wrote a travel journal, a mix of prose and poetry, and labelled it Fool’s Odyssey.

I was young and confused (I know, that’s redundant). I’d followed a pretty girl to Barcelona and stumbled into “a jolly mess of Marxism.” Still, their idealism was infectious. Nearly as infectious as Gabriella’s face.

It turned out Gabriella had a boyfriend. But I came back anyway. My second night in Barcelona was mystical, almost Catholic. So I began returning to Gabriella’s little café de comunistas, only partly because I hoped she’d break up with Carlos.

Each day my scantily-bearded young Marxist friends and I would whet our courages with vino, and then talk and talk and talk—we wouldn’t stop until the vino did. I wrote in my journal:

I’m learning to play the cacophone,

and God it feels good, God it feels fine!

Each day I return and burn some more,

and wash down ideals with liberal wine!

My would-be life of radical idealism was like a little coal in the back of a furnace. Everyone wanted to blow on it and make it glow, but I would say, “No, let me think,” then the holes in the grate would grow larger and the coal would begin to glow a little more. “It’s better than sin,” I wrote, “we’re building a furnace of tin!”

But each evening, I’d ramble home alone along the street they called Las Ramblas. And there I’d see trinket sellers, and cult-religion peddlers, and twitching alcoholics, and a boy hooker who looked like a Pagliacci beneath a pound of powder. And I’d wonder if los comunistas really had the answers they needed—that any of us needed. Then suddenly I’d be running, the only one not rambling on the damned Ramblas.

One night I heard a lonely singer’s refrain:

“And the Ramblas is pain,

and the Ramblas needs rain…”

I never knew what it meant. But it haunted me. So all the next day I sat in my tiny crackerjack flat reading shaky manifestos, trying to shore up my half-built philosophy with paperback buttresses and underpinnings of typeset proofs.

But the coal was starting to fade.

To read the next episode, click here.


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Fool's Odyssey, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to When Your Favorite Delusion Starts to Fade

  1. Belynda Womack says:

    Thank you Mitch. Circumstances in my life right now make this posting particularly hopeful (yes hopeful)! Can’t wait to read more. Belynda

    Liked by 2 people

  2. henhouselady says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. I enjoyed the story, and I can’t wait to catch the next entry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lisa Beth says:

    Wow, I feel like I was there! Thanks for walking us down Las Ramblas…😎

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Can see you watching a house of cards come apart one card at a time….such a time to think about those kinds of things and see them for what they truly were!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LaDonna Remy says:

    Taking that deeper look always seems to invite many twists and turns, and is so worth the process. Lovely thought provoking writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JMN says:

    This is richly evoked and resonant in your vivid telling. It brings back similar rambles of mine in Barcelona.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ann Coleman says:

    Throughout the centuries, youth has always been idealistic. There’s something both comforting and frightening about that!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Powerful imagery here. Happy 4th. God bless, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: My Life of Radical Idealism in Spain | Mitch Teemley

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