"I looked for you last night," said the flat owner. "I was going to a party."
"Oh," I spoke quickly, with a nervous laugh. "I was at Sagrada Familia taking photos."
"Would you have gone?"
He said he was going to another party tonight. I made excuses and fled, unable to properly explain that I didn't want to go to any parties, talk to anyone, and that I wanted to be alone.
And so I walked aimlessly, with no destination in mind, solely with the purpose of avoiding the flat. I walked and walked, up out of Raval, out of the old city past the hordes of tourists, past three Starbucks, past Plaza Catalunya and the Saturday shoppers. I walked until, exhausted, I stumbled into of one of those assembly-line all-you-can-eat places that serves pizza, pasta, rice, and potato dishes. All the carbs you can eat.
"Why the hell did I pay ten euros for this crap?" I wondered as I stared at the hardening spaghetti, rice, and watery "gazpacho" on offer.
I knew why, even as I asked myself the question.
I seek out anonymity everywhere I go. I'm only partially connected to anywhere, a semi-stranger even in that place called home. I'm comfortable being anonymous and disconnected.
I don't want to go to Spanish parties. Nor do I want to go to parties in New York. I barely want to go to parties in Egypt. "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik" was one long essay about overcoming fear of commitment, of not being afraid to connect with others, but over the last two years, I've completely backslid.
Bouncing around the world has benefits. I'm semi-comfortable anywhere. I assimilate quickly. I can figure out how things get done in a society in about a week. But then there are drawbacks too.
When world travelers crow that they've become citizens of the world, what they don't mention is that it is at the expense of home. Deep roots erode over time, until home has changed to the point where it's no longer home. And even if it looks the same, the friends you left behind have evolved in their lives. You gain the world but you lose home. You belong everywhere but also nowhere.
And then there's this. An even-scarier concept.
Maybe it's not world travelers. Maybe it's just me.