labor

the job thing is weird

~ i wrote ~

Man oh man the job search of which you write is weird.

A little bit I don’t know what to write back to that, because it’s a problem I myself have been grappling with in my back-in-NYC life, or was starting to realize I’d eventually have to grapple with, and I more or less bailed on the question.

The dregs of this bullshit croque monsieur (DID THEY EVEN BUTTER THE BREAD??) on the plate in front of me, the eye I’m trying to keep through the front window on Kareem’s ex-boyfriend’s second-string bicycle, lent for the jaunt, the fact that I peed into some body of water from a tree earlier because they were charging €.50 for the WC in the train station: this is me bailing.

Proof of life?

He said, Proof of life? and I sent him a photo of some Spanish booze and said, I took this for you ~a week ago, then decided that it wasnʼt really rich enough in esoterica to actually send.
Also there is a hot hot cab strike here.
So I am playing ukulele for some Pakistanis who, like me, don’t have anything to do.

and I said tagine

~ i wrote ~

Hi. I’m in the Sahara. Helping these Berber guys install toilets in the new toilets tent because the existing one got buried in sand. There is sand everywhere. It’s in my shoes and my socks and my bed and my hair and my teeth and building up behind my eyeballs. They don’t even fight it. Everyone just goes around barefoot except when the sand is too hot to touch, which is approximately between ten AM and six PM. Around midnight or one AM last night, when it had finally cooled off, we took a mattress up into one of the dunes to not bother the tourists who were sleeping outside and lay in the sand and smoked shisha and looked at the stars. Today for lunch we had a tagine because Aziz asked me if I wanted tagine or something I couldn’t understand and I said tagine. He says tomorrow I will be the one to make it, Inshallah. Everything is going pretty well given that these guys speak no English and I, no Arabic and no Berber; we’re getting by in French even though theirs is even worse than mine. Now I have to go because Souleymane has the hookah up and running. Sorry you’re not here. I love you,

Your sister

the best olive oil I’ve ever had

~i wrote~

Yesterday I arrived on Naxos and was driven from the main port to nearly the northernmost part of the island, a homestead-I-guess-you’d-call-it in the hills where I’m scraping paint in exchange for my keep. The maybe-craziest-for-me thing is what a commodity electricity is — I went ahead and bought a Greek SIM card with a generous data allowance during my ~28 hours in Athens, anticipating that I’d have no internet in the hills but never imagining that the real challenge would be keeping my phone charged in the first place. Live by the sword, die by the sword, as my father a.k.a. your brother likes to say. So I am rationing, BIG time — I spent the morning working to an audiobook with the machine in airplane mode and the screen dimmed, and then I hiked the ~4km down the mountain to the village of Apollonas for a swim in the Aegean — the beaches are all rocky but the rocks are big and smooth, like huge pebbles, so it’s manageable — and now I am treating myself to a supper out, which is partly because I’m hungry and partly because I need to ask the proprietor to charge my phone for me. Just as soon as I send this. Later I think I’ll go hang around Nikos’ Jewelry & Souvenirs because Stuart, my host, tells me that Nikos is the smartest guy in town and the most likely to talk with me in any critically evaluative way about conflict and resolution on this island, and then I’ll begin the ~7km walk-via-paved road back to the homestead, hoping to hitch a ride from someone who speaks enough English to understand when I say to stop so that I don’t end up, an hour later, back at the port. Once there, I don’t know what I’ll do. Probably cut my toenails by candlelight and look at the stars. 

p.s. While I was writing this, my food and beer arrived. This is may be the best olive oil I’ve ever had. 

my endless summer is almost over

08h15 EEST

Beach Bar Finikas

The first amazement of today is how sleepy this resort town is. I was up at seven and, by half-past, out and ready to be writing with a cup of coffee as one does in any functioning municipality, but this is the first establishment where I found so much as a sign of life, and still I was 20 minutes too early to be served. They told me I could sit and wait, though, so I am. 

The swathe of sand that underlies most of the table seating at this beachfront restaurant is raked carefully, with very few footprints in it, which means it is part of someone’s job to take up all the furniture, rake the beach, and put all the furniture back while stepping anywhere almost not at all. Who is that person, and what are they thinking about while they do it, and how does my or anyone’s patronage fit into their socioeconomy and consciousness? Who came up with the best practice for the fewest footsteps, and who enforces it, and who has anxious work dreams about it? These are droll observations for people who work in restaurants. 

This seat is directly beneath the gap between the end of their structural overhang and the roller of their awning, and I am chilled by the condensation dripping onto my shoulders. My endless summer is almost over. Maybe I won’t after all wade out while I wait into the Aegean, which is so still I don’t recognize it. Even the waves sleep late here, I guess. 

Now my coffee has arrived and is, as expected, a proper cup of sludge. I asked for it Greek with milk — διπλό ςελληνικό ςκαφές, με γάλα— and then when the waiter brought it there was visibly none in it and so I was like Hey can I have some milk and he was like There already is milk in there. But I will bring you a little more and brought me four additional creamers that I poured in, one by one, watching them be swallowed up by darkness.

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