Friday, February 8, 2008


I’ve given up bitter for bitter sweet, taking sugar in my coffee and all that.

I explored Lady Fitness just for kicks. It was a horrifying scene of feigned decadence and desperation. They built all of the rooms too big for the amount of equipment they actually have- the women were all scantily clad and unusually skeletal. One of them stuck to me for the duration of my visit. I wanted to feed her a sandwich. I insisted I couldn’t afford the club and tried to flee but was forced to take a detailed tour of the creepy premises. The praying mantis took my phone number. She showed me her favorite room in the back. If she calls I will hang up on her.

I have been frequenting Café de Paris daily now, like an irresistibly comfy sweater. Although today, sitting there in my ICS I surveyed the man to my left and his beautiful blue and white striped djelleba and it made me want to put on my djelleba- maybe become all striped and serious and baby-blue pure like that. A certain peace arises from this man like an uncanny odor- he is there every morning. He is a blind man, and the other men in the café always lead him to his special spot. My stomach turns when I am accidentally sitting in his special spot and I sit there and chew my lip and hope he doesn’t bump into anything on the detour. On those days they lead him to the seat to my left.

Cold showers lately leave me scouring the city for ways to warm my heart. Today my efforts led to a wasted hour of a beautifully crisp February morning, flirting with the mool-l violin to no avail. I refuse to buy it, even if it costs $70, and have been trying to rent. I didn’t go intending to flirt my way through it but sometimes the spirit catches you and there is nothing around to stop it. Men tend to steer the conversation without my noticing, to their liking until it covers the neglected sore spot aching for an inappropriate oral exchange, and I am concentrating too hard on my conjugations to pull out early. I even played the cancan for the man! He spent the hour pretending he was going to let me rent, and in the end, walu.

Repairs on the house are racking up into a pile of no-Arabic lessons, so I keep saying the same words over and over, asking people what shtta means so I can watch them wiggle, saying what I like and don’t like, and trying to learn the difference between things that look the same, and learning the difference, except when it comes to nuts and eggs and all that.

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