Once I Was a Guinea Pig

Maria Matienzo Puerto

Photo: Chris Lewis

HAVANA TIMES — When I was a little girl I used to play like I was going to be a great scientist; I thought that I was going to discover something great.

Although I was obsessed with copying the entire dictionary (I never got past the A’s), I saw myself as working in a laboratory one day, among test tubes and suspicious fumes coming out of them.

More recently, after almost a year of communicating with a German woman, I remember how everything stopped and I found myself suspended in the ether of the Internet, with all the limitations imposed by access to it here on the island.

This meant no Facebook, no Twitter and zero connection to the rest of the world (you can already tell that I’m talking about Cuba).

After three months like this, I found myself dreaming about the laboratory of my childhood, but without being able to understand why, at least until this morning, when I managed to unravel the mystery that shrouded all those dreams.

It didn’t serve any point to be in contact with third parties to learn about her state of health, or to even think about them, because what laid in the difference of cultures was silence. This morning when I reread the text on the exhibition where we met, I heard the mythical “Eureka” go off in my head.

Here I’m quoting an excerpt from the project “Communication in Berlin and Havana 2010-2012,” of which my interlocutor was an important(?) part: “The structure of interdisciplinary work and multidisciplinary issues enable a complex perception of contemporary aspects of social communication (…) Towards this end, various research findings and studies in these areas will be selected and discussed.”

It seems that the experiment has ended. This is why the communication stopped without any civil explanations.

I imagine that all humans are exposed to this to some degree, but it’s especially true for those of us who live isolated from the world. We’re in what’s like a kind of huge laboratory where foreigners come to be astonished with our lives and where some of them enjoy a certain degree of immunity.

I don’t mean to imply that the fault lies with those who censor of our access to social networks. I don’t mean to say that the fault lies with those who don’t want Cubans to become citizens of the world.

In this I’m referring, of course, to the dictators, hypocrites and the colorless functionaries who don’t think for themselves. I don’t want to blame anyone. I don’t want there to be more shame. I don’t want to cry.

But if you find out the results of the study before I do, please let me know what those findings are. Thanks.