A Theory of the Absurd
I wonder what I’m doing here, so far from home, sitting
at the bar, with my beer before me, my face distorted
in half a dozen fairground mirrors, surrounded by
people half my age, or less, all smoking, cursing, using
foreign forms of meta-language, gestures I no longer recall:
the single finger on the nose, two fingers on the forehead,
the back of the hand rammed against the chin with a sort
of snort of disapproval. It’s way beyond my bedtime, yet
I am held here, captured, body and soul, by foreign rhythms,
unreal expectations of a daily ritual that runs on unbroken
cycles of time: morning brandy, pre-lunch wine and tapas,
home for the mid-day meal, a brief siesta, back to the café
for a post-prandial raising of spirits, more blanco, then back
to work at four and struggle on until seven or eight when
the bar routine begins again with pre-supper tapas and tinto.
Who am I? What am I? Where am I going? I wander, restless,
streets and squares, enter other bars and restaurants, consume
verdejo, manzanilla, tinto de verano, the original and many
falsifications, in corner bars, on patios, sampling liqueurs,
cognacs and coñac, Fundador, Carlos Quinto, Torres Diez,
sol y sombra, Cuarenta y Tres, pasteles con café quemado.
Time, comprehended in this new life-cycle, lacks meaning.
Time, in a cycle I have long abandoned, is meaningless too.