A House So Random

[a Facebook post from 8 years ago]

A couple of weeks ago, at a reading in Barcelona, the moderator of the panel —which consisted of Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Norma Cantú, Tino Villanueva, and me— introduced me as a writer, painter, academic, ex-dj, and traveler. To which I responded to the audience, “Basically, soy un vago.” Which, I guess, is true, given the varieties of activities that I do or have done.
And what’s it like being a wandering bato? An academic migrant worker? A vago following vague paths across the Americas and Europe? Sometimes, as a couple of weeks when I was in Salamanca, it is tiring: a life pared down to one checked in piece of luggage and one carry-on (or if it’s a short —a week or less— trip, to one carry-on), a life of taking off shoes and pulling out laptops at security checks, a life of waiting at departure gates for a flight to board, a life where jetlag is the norm. Other times, as it has been recently, it can be moderately entertaining. Mainly because of the people you meet or the friends with who you get to hang out.
So it’s the big Madrid book fair season. While not as big as the major book fairs —Frankfurt and Guadalajara— this one is a big affair. One of its best features is that it is held outdoors in the Retiro park. A component of book fairs are the various receptions and parties. On Friday night I crashed the reception hosted by the Chilean embassy, the Peruvian writer Jorge Benavides was gracious enough to get me in as his guest. I was there for a while with friends until we decided to head over to the Random House-Mondadori party. A couple of us without invitations —as a writer of the serie B, or the minor leagues, but with friends in the serie A, the major leagues, I was not expecting one— mentioned that the organizers were being strict with the invites: there was no list at the door, only the invites that had been sent out earlier specifying entry for only two people.
But off we went anyway.
When we got to the door, Diego walked up to doorman who was checking invites and declared that the two of us without invitations were writers who published with Random House-Mondadori. And that was enough for us to get inside.
At the fest, hung with my circle of friends that included writers, photographers and editors. Spoke with a couple of editors and drank at the bar with a couple of literary agents. One of the main topics of conversation in that too loud discoteque of music was my good friend Junot Diaz and his Pulitzer. He was due to arrive for a brief press junket to Barcelona, but there were no plans for him to come to Madrid.
I also drank one too many vodka tonics. Grooved on that for a while until the bar started charging for drinks (the publishing house only covered drinks until 2:30). Walked home at 3, listening to Ladytron and Shellac on my iPod, while the rest of the group ended up in a bar in Malasaña until 6 am.
The next day, woke up feeling fine and headed out for breakfast. Met up later with Diego and Laura and we picked up various newspapers to read over coffee while making time for lunch at Home Burger, a burger joint in Chueca.

Just another night and day in the life of a vago.

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