She had a couple of drinks in her too, which helped. But alcohol, like it does for so many of us, inflected her words with a kind of Fuck you timbre, setting up, what in hindsight was perhaps a totally avoidable confrontation.
All the while, of course, I’ve left my gmail window up and active, where I can just see the very top tab of the screen where it says: Gmail – Inbox (9). And my eyes are constantly, desperately shooting back to that parenthetic number, hoping, waiting, praying for it to change, as if, the instant that my 9 turns into a 10, it’s an irrefutable sign that someone loves me, someone needs me, someone’s thinking about me, that I’m good and worthwhile valuable…
As I walked down the street, I looked at all the people going about their daily lives: Men, women, children, young and old, some of them fat, some of them sick, some beautiful, some destitute. I thought about smiling at each person – really pulling them aside, one by one, maybe with a touch on the arm or with a stern but quiet: “Hey, come with me.”
While swimming in the otherworldly turquoise waters, in the private beach near our hotel, my traveling companion and I were maliciously assaulted by jellyfish. She screamed. I screamed. “Pee on me!” she cried. “Pee on me!” I can only imagine what the other beachgoers must have thought. I thought about the jellyfish stinging me on my exposed penis.
… and behind this mask Herge; and behind this mask Roald Dahl; and behind this mask Terry Brooks; and behind this mask Ernest Hemingway; and behind this mask Ken Kesey; and behind this mask Homer; and behind this mask J.D. Salinger; and behind this mask Mark Twain…
There is undeniable pleasure in reading Mahmoud Darwish in that it feels like we are looking back on our present day from several thousand years in the future. But this effect also produces a kind of cultural-historical vertigo in which today’s world (which many in the West like to think of as belonging to an ever newer, better, improved era of history, an era blessed and, no doubt, sanitized by the perfect scientific godlessness of Progress (the non-ideological ideology par excellence)) is really no different than any other point in our deeply intertwined world history.
Then who were those teenage goons sent to frighten us wee children back in grade school with tales of life-ending catastrophe and humbling community service hours spent plucking trash, orange vested, from interstate onramps as a result of being tempted by that white dragon? Were they genuine drug casualties or had they merely gotten caught? Rumors circulated through junior high that with one snort you were addicted for life. One snort and your heart would explode.