I am in some club — café is in the name but it is not one — with Beto and Slim and some musicmates of theirs. Everything is smeary and loud and terrific, especially the audio in here, and Beto is telling me he learned to dance real good in his life in New Orleans. I see it. Am I writing? I think yes. It is a labor, but important. It is my meaning.

Earlier on the phone with Darwin, an idea happened — I know it was an idea — I wanted a piece of pizza and I told him that I needed to stop our conversation temporarily so I could go get a piece of pizza and when I rounded the corner in that Barri Gòtic piso with the interior all white like cocaine where we are staying, I guess, to where the pizza was, there was Aurelio taking a picture of a tattoo on his ankle of a piece of pizza — but I don’t know what to do with it. This is a great idea. I can tell.

I am nothing if not a cultural relativist

I said,

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 real?

What’s the bedrock of interaction, of existence?

He said, 

Rachel, your mind is so open, it’s like a poem.

I said,

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?

by her sidekick, stateside

He said,

In which our hero is checked on by her sidekick, Stateside.

I said,

I just got to Casablanca after all day on a bus to a train and this couple that’s running a school for refugees, which was given to them to run by the king’s late father, has picked me up on a rattly motorbike and driven me through the slums of the city to their magnificent crumbling flat and plied me with hashish and local wine and already said like six things that are exactly what I knew only to know I couldn’t imagine, could only hope would be something for the VS. SOCIETY story in my meta narrative screenplay about using narrative in a conflict with conflict, and it’s all too much, or almost, and I excused myself to call my mom, just to take a break from the new and to tell someone about Madeleine’s photographs from their traditional Berber wedding, but she isn’t answering, so now I am hiding in my room, telling my friend Darwin that I am doing great, too great, actually inhabiting the loneliness that I guess also attends the achievement of terminal velocity, if that’s a thing.

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