God everything is just crumbling away
I’ve rolled up in here ready to conform to the preexisting zeitgeists so as to be as sensitive and welcome as possible and also, worst-case-scenario, not endanger myself, and now I’m just like, What does that even mean anymore?
What’s the bedrock of interaction, of existence?
Rachel, your mind is so open, it’s like a poem.
At dinner with an Englishman, a Canadian, a Chinese woman, and two Parisians (one of whom is ethnically Cambodian), how to deal most considerately with our North Moroccan waiter? Do I stack the plates to help him clear, or is that an insult? What about the times I invoked those people with national nouns instead of adjectives? Is the Parisienne “right” to ask if I mind if she smokes, or am I right to understand that Americans are wrong to think they — we — they — can expect any kind of “basic” “courtesy” from the world — is that a myth someone made up to keep us all happy enough to keep paying taxes and abiding by the laws, more or less, or whatever other illusions we’re collectively upholding?
Is my conviction that I should not be robbed or raped strong enough to vest in me the power to reject that possibility when it presents itself, or will I acquiesce because that’s just what’s supposed to happen to guileless white women who wander North Africa alone, and I am nothing if not a cultural relativist?