LMuratalla, “Backpacking Through Europe” (2006)
I think some videos exist for the sole purpose of making me feel bad. I’ve been to Europe — several times — and not once did I smile. In fact, I don’t think a single one of my adventures could ever qualify for a montage of such supple, carefree youth. Once I was in Barcelona and a couple of sailors said that I totally should have kissed that homely underage girl, but I didn’t need to complicate things the night before my ex-girlfriend was to arrive. I don’t even own sun glasses.
Instead of taking photos of myself and alcohol, the bulk of my time was spent searching for free internet connections with which to research early flights home. While sure, once or twice, I just happened to find myself with others, gloriously arranged on a floor — as per 2:00 of the video — part of me still always hated everything.
I once heard, though, that it’s far easier to enjoy oneself in Spain when not thinking, ‘I’m enjoying myself in Spain’. But I couldn’t do it. I’m sure Hemingway never read himself to escape. And even returning to obscure towns familiar from previous trips, re-living, a second time, the self-doubt of having arrived. Truly, it was the busses that were best.
From time to time, kind souls would take me in, and I would sit, in rooms, watching films of summer romance, imagining, if a different person, what a trip I would enjoy. And I think the strippers could see this. They too wanted to leave Hungary.
And I think I saw those places from the video, but I just didn’t have the music.
- David Heti