Saturday, April 08, 2006

I’ve been thinking about what happens when you have to deal with one of life’s big traumas. It’s all about filing stuff away: Putting people and experiences in their mental cubby-holes and file folders, calling it just another sad episode in the story of your life, and then tidying up and moving on. The trick is just figuring out where to file things.

The problem is when, after much denial and forbearance and perseverance, you come to accept the unfortunate fact that the one person you trusted above all others is actually an irredeemable piece of shit that deserves no place in your life whatsoever-not even in a cubby-hole.

After all, what do you do with shit? You don’t put it in a box so you can take it out and look at it on a rainy day, or put it in a file cabinet so you can reference it quickly. You flush it down the toilet.

Now the mind’s toilet is a tricky device. The psychological plumbing is of third-world caliber. You can put this piece of shit where it belongs and you can flush and flush, but man, that stuff just won’t go down! And even when it finally does, you never have a whole lot of confidence that it won’t bubble up again and stink up your life at the worst possible moment.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Owing in part to a tenacious case of psychological unpleasantness, I have fled Egypt to in southern Italy, this time to join my sister, her husband and my three-year-old nephew, Nicholas, who since last I saw him has attained the status of a properly functioning-and screaming-human being.

As far as I can tell, a straight one, too. I quizzed him on the various superlatives of the superheroes. Who’s the strongest? “Batman!” (Nick’s batman, so that was his answer for most things.) Who’s the fastest? “Superman!” (I’m Superman.) Who fights the most bad guys? “Batman!” Who’s … the most handsome? (Pause.) “Wonder Woman!” My sister mentioned he’s going through some oedipal shit.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Right, so, anyway. Not much happenning around these parts but thanks for checking it, good to know that you care and all.

Yesterday or the day before I was walking down the street, downtown Cairo again of course, and I hear this guy behind me making that awful phlegm-clearing sound. You know the one--I heard non-stop in Aleppo, but it's all-too-common around here, as well.

Except this guy keeps doing it. Instead of spitting, he just keeps yacking and yacking. So I turn around and do my best to try to give him a dirty look, because believe it or not, I still find it sort of gross.

And check it out. He's covered in blood.

When I say he's covered in blood, I don't mean he had a bloody nose or some blood on his face. I mean his face, head and entire upper body is completely drenched in blood, like he's been standing in the front row at a Gwar concert or was an extra in a B-horror flick or had just been, well, swimming in a pool of blood.

Maybe it wasn't his own blood, maybe it was from a chicken or a sheep, or maybe it was just--something else the color and consistency of blood, I don't know. But it looked awfully bloody to me.

Nobody really made a scene, although one guy pointed at him, and he soon started to run down the street on ahead of me. I don't know where he went off to and I had no idea what to make of it. Strange town.