Lima, Peru

Having neatly skipped over a summer of salient details–reconstructionist Judaism vs. reformed, East Coast vs. West, wealthy enclaves of Long Island’s East End vs. those of the Cape Cod’s outer reaches, the life span of a human vs. that of a golden retriever and therefore weddings vs. funerals and therefore love vs. death–I come to you now, faithful readers who know that silence does not necessarily equal death, from what has become my annual jaunt to the Southern Hemisphere. Today I am in Lima, where I currently enjoy my last hours of wireless internet access before Miss Anger and I make for the Ecuadorian Oriente, a place someone must once have thought was very far away from somewhere else.

The trip down was unexpectedly hectic. I knew things were going too well when I was packed and out the door in time to do some pre-flight drinking. Two hours later I reluctantly left a fine gathering of fine folks, got in a cab and popped a mystery pill from my air travel stash. I arrived at Kennedy in a pleasant haze and breezed through security toward Air Mexicana Flight #1. I was brooding happily at the gate when Rebecca called to ask if I had heard about the massive earthquake in Peru. Sure enough, there on CNN were all manner of typically sensationalistic television news reports. The crawl along the bottom was gleefully counting up the dead below inconclusive images of dark holes and broken bricks. At that moment my flight began to board and I decided to take the opportunity of my layover in Mexico City to re-evaluate the situation.

The mystery pill and several Tanqueray and tonics I had also consumed previously were having a very soporific effect and I fell into a deep, upright slumber before takeoff. I awoke in Mexico City refreshed and excited but with an unfamiliar sense of trepidation, the origin of which I only recalled when I went to check my gate for connection to Lima. Several panicked cellular phone calls to and from my parents then ensued, costing untold dolares on the foreign network, but thankfully just as they were about to beg me not to go to Peru they somehow reached Holly on her landline (I had been unable to reach her by cell) who reassured them that Lima was totally seguro, and I made it here by the skin of my neurotically Jewish and expensively straightened teeth. The words “state of emergency” and “deadliest quake in 30 years” did give me pause, but when I got here and asked the cabbie about the terremoto he shrugged and rolled his eyes. Much of the damage was several hundred miles from here, and so for at least another day I remain mercifully separated as if by a large, invisible mystery pill from the worst pain and suffering this lonely planet has to offer.

There was an aftershock this morning, a thirty second rumbling sensation I found most enjoyable until I remembered that it was a sign that the very ground beneath our feet is comprised of large plates of crusty rock prone to frequent and traumatic shifting as it groans through its multi-million-year life span of which our own paltry existences constitute a mere fraction of a blink. No amount of narcissism I could conjure up could compete with this revelation, and so I am forced to make for what is rumored to be some valley of mysterious longevity, where hopefully the life-lengthening properties of the air quality and minerals will balance out with the life-shortening propensities of my anxieties and vices and our willingness to put our bodies in motion will be rewarded with some brief illusion of rest.

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