I find myself in the ancient city of Porto on the shores of the river Duoro. Throughout the years it was held by the Celts, the Romans, the Moors and now by the Portuguese ( I’m sure that last one is as surprising as it is fascinating hahaha). For centuries it has been a hub of industry and ship building. In fact, many scholars now believe that Porto was in fact the site of Alqualondë; upon who’s shores Feanor slew the Teleri shipwrights. Seriously, that’s totally not bs. Throughout the centuries Porto has been home to many other famous folk. J.K. Rowling taught english and met her first husband here. The marriage of John and Phillipa which cemented the treaty of Windsor took place here. Perhaps the most notable, to me at least, is that Porto was the home of Ferdinand Magellan. As I am attempting a circumnavigation myself, it seems fitting that I start in the land of the original to try for such a goal. For any history buffs reading this, don’t worry. I’m not going to the Philipines and I’m definitely not going to try to forcibly convert any locals to a new religion. Plus I’m going in the opposite direction so, you know … I’ll be fine.
To get anywhere in this city you have to go up and down the steep cobblestone roads that will turn even the flabbiest of calves into iron. Furthermore one can only go so far without having to cross one of the many bridges that lend Porto the name Bridge City. It’s a shame I didn’t get here sooner, its former leader was one of my favorites.
HAHAHAHA The Postman really was one of the worst movies ever made. It’s little jokes like that which keep up the levity in this time of uncertainty.
Wandering the steep, stone mazes of Porto, passing ramparts of the ancient fortresses, the bells of the centuries old cathedral echo through Duoro valley. Below, upon the river bank, tourists climb aboard the tour boats as they navigate the stream of water, squawking gulls and garbage. From atop the Luis I bridge, the burned out shell of a great stone house is visible. Once the pride of some unknown architect, masons and builders, it is now but a ruin, adorned now only with ash and some, admittedly very impressive, graffiti. Its fate, as with my own, is a mystery to me.
Sarah Connor would say that there is no fate but what we make ( Of course when it came to judgement day, she was ultimately proven wrong in Terminator 3, but word on the street is that 3 and Genysis are no longer cannon so maybe it still holds) and I would like to think that is true. I have always struggled with the idea of determinism. It is a very difficult idea to dispel in a logical framework, but the implications are terrifying. Much like atheism, if it were in fact the reality, then I see little but nihilism remaining. If all actions are predetermined and there is nothing outside the physical then what reason would there be for doing anything? Something something heat death of the universe. I have to be careful here because the previous paragraph was a seriously epic metaphor for my breakup. Here’s hoping I stick the landing.
Were she and I doomed to this fate? Determinism would say that our respective genetics and upbringing set this chain of events in motion long before our hands touched upon that same organic avacado. The mentats of Frank Herbert would say that it is by will alone they set their mind in motion, it is by the juice of sapho the thoughts aquire speed, the lips aquire stains it is by will alone…. hahahahahaha. What it really comes down to: is that I am still struggling with the complete powerlessness I feel. In hard or soft form, I don’t really accept or even worry that much about determinism, and all this waxing philosophic is just an attempt to cope with that powerlessness, as well as an opportunity to slide in some really high quality sci-fi jokes.
I’d like to think that our relationship was that house now burned and in ruin, that I am the architect now free to build again and that she…well I guess I don’t know where she would fit in that one. UMmmmm okay, so I am the burnt house waiting to be rebuilt anew. No that’s not it either. Hmmmmmmmm
Eureka! She and I were the architects, the builders and the house. Our relationship hereforth to be known as Shaniqua, was the inhabitant of that home we built. But now, destroyed by fire, Shaniqua (our relationship) is gone, perhaps lost to all time. In fact, if you were to call that house to try and get a hold of Shaniqua you would hear the following
Stuck the Landing (Sort Of)
Two to Tango : Continents 2 – North America, Europe