Sitting in the back seat of the taxi into Lisbon with Dom, I notice that I am wearing, more or less, the same clothes I wore when I traveled here alone eleven years ago: a worn-out black turtleneck, skintight black jeans. Though now I am one and a half dress sizes larger. Though now my jeans are tailored, and my sweater has a designer label. Though now I don’t wear whimsical fur-collared coats or charming hats from the twenties to imply that I might be interesting.
The last time I came to this city, I could talk to any person in the world. I had fast learned how to sleep in any number of positions: between the farts and fucks and snores of adolescent adults in hostels; on a row of couch cushions laid out by earnest Belgian students on their Erasmus year; with my head resting on the shoulder of a fleshy Brazilian on an overnight bus. I saw no problem in taking time from others, or accepting their hospitality, because I was paying it out in full. I had everything to give, because I was a general, all-purpose, adaptable person. All my unrealized potential suggested that I might become exactly like any one of the people I encountered.
—In becoming specific, narrower, more difficult, you, you don’t have much left to give.
—But it’s true. We dress the same, she and I. And we didn’t get much better. Read More