Last week I visited my hometown, near Barcelona. On Saturday night I went to the bar, to attend the poetry festival that was taking place. The atmosphere grabbed my attention. This environment I had been away from for 6 years.
While waiting for my friend, I stood there observing every detail. The gestures of people around tables. The loud conversations around food. The smokers congregated at the bar entrance. The waiters running around with their tablets, taking orders, giving bills, chatting with the customers, serving food.
Nobody noticed me. I was invisible. People walking passed me without even looking at my eyes. This is something I’m used to in London. But in my hometown, it was a sensation that made me feel alive.
Because I used to be a celebrity in that city. For a period of my youth, I was deeply involved in its cultural life. I had a radio show, I had a TV show, I took care of the PR of the local cinema, I was a speaker, I was a Master of Ceremonies in many events, I was acting in the local theatre, I was singing in local contests, I was making documentaries, I was volunteering in many areas and contributed in a lot of the city’s grassroots movements.
Most of the people knew me in some way or another, and it was common that people would say hi whom I wasn’t sure I knew. But 6 years later, I am a stranger. And all that recognition that I enjoyed (and that I still pursue when I am not alert), has vanished.
A part of my legacy is still there. Like the documentary about the modernist architecture, or the one about the local rose breeder. The unimportant things are not.
I’ll remember that the next time I catch myself doing something for the praise.