Thursday, March 10, 2022

Instead Of Email

 Can't I write an email to a friend? No I can't. I won't burden a friend with the disaster that is my life. Is that what I really think? It is what I really think. However. Whatever happens to the strangers who are readers on the internet obviously is no one's fault but their own. So let's begin. Dear friend. No. Dear reader. Here's what's new in my life. Nothing is new in my life. I go to the same places. The same kind of thing happens. I'm still here. Something new did happen. An allergic reaction to bee sting, but that only complexifies the nothing new happening. So nothing new. Nothing is new in my life. I go to the same places. Late at night I can be found at the same cafe. For years. Many people find me there. What people? In 2020 the District Attorney established a policy of not prosecuting minor crimes. Of the 70,000 people who have no place to sleep at night in the city, among them destitute drug addicts and the radically insane, numbers are wandering around looking for something to steal. I see them. They see me. They see my eyes close, which my eyes are wont to do, I don't get enough sleep. The watchers bide their time. In the last two years computers, backpacks, books have changed ownership. That's just how it is. The city has militarized in response to this rampant criminality. Cameras are everywhere. Guards are everywhere. Store guards, library guards, park guards. Many guards dress like they are in combat, invested all in black, belts with holsters containing guns both stun and conventional, hosters with mace, night sticks, handcuffs. Their faces are masked, not in compliance to health department epidemic countermeasers but a fashion choice, done for effect. Now I know one of these guards. He comes to the University. Why? For the free food and drink at lectures and symposia. He knows where to find me taking in the warmth of the sun. I've told him a hundred times not to disburb me but he is incapable of believing I don't want his company. He tells me one day we both will be famous. What will I be famous for, I ask. Philosophy. What will he be famous for? He doesn't answer. As a criminal, I suggest? He says the world deserves his depredations for forcing him to work as a guard. He claims he has a doctorate in political science from a police academy in Turkey, his country of origin. He can barely speak English after being in this country 7 years. He's saved 250,000 dollars out of his income from two jobs, sleeping in foregn worker dormatories. This sum includes money from the sale of his family property in Turkey, destroyed in a recent earthquate. He tells me he was the cause of the earthquake. He really thinks he has the power to cause earthquakes. Many of the people who come to find me at the various places I go think they have powers of retribution. He believes that as a non-Muslim in Muslim Turkey he has been discriminated against. He believes that his employers in this country, mostly Blacks and Latins, discriminate against him for being from a Muslim country. What is his religion, I ask. Communism, he answers. He would liked to have been Stalin. On his unwanted, many times forbidden approach to me he puts his phone on speaker to play a marching song from the old Soviet Union. If I get up and walk away from him he'll follow me at a short distance. If I run, he'll run after me. I'm his only friend in California, he tells me. His only friend in Turkey calls him Hungry Dog for this behavior. I call him that myself. He likes it. Hungry Dog today unziped his backpack filling with swiped food, hands me a Subway sandwich. There's a concert at the music school, cheese and crackers, afterwards that we go, he says, to a lecture on something technical, he doesn't remember, wine reception to follow. Let's go. I resign myself, afternoon sunning ruined. On the way to the concert he tells me I'm going to die soon. How does he know? He knows. In the music hall, waiting for the student recital to begin, he asks me what I'd like to have written on my gravestone. That's easy. "Don't bother me. I'm resting." Hungry Dog gives me a thumbs up. What will be my last words, he asks. Easy. "It's all been a mistake." Hungry Dog writes this down in his pocket notebook. Is he is threatening to kill me for my mockery of him or what? I don't know. This is my everyday. Later last night I was as always the only one sitting outside at the cafe when a teenaged girl sat down at my table, saying not a word. I say hello. She says nothing. I look at her. She looks at me. She looks away. Ok, she's not planning to leave or speak. Earlier in the night someone had shouted at me from the corner, "I stole your backpack!" then kept on going. Everyday life. Such as it is.