July 9, 2008

A Siesta...

If there is one thing that should absolutely not be relinquished, it's Siesta time.

Those short afternoon naps are considered a luxury in the West, here they are considered essential coping skills. Coping with the heat, with the overtired minds and it is scientifically proven that they are a great source of regeneration.

Westerners often criticize us for this habit. They believe it is a waste of time. Their whole culture hinges on being available for work, for profit, for more...Yet most of them are hardly available at all.

I remember having to note down in an agenda the date and precise time to meet anyone for a cup of coffee. You are all a very busy people running around like headless chicken, doing nothing.

Yes nothing, because if you really look back on all your years of running around, you will realize you have achieved nothing of substance. You are still empty, hollow and got your minds very tired in the process. You really need to learn how to nap in the afternoons.

Of course, being the very envious, jealous, uncreative people that you are, you even want to take napping away from us. With your globalization and its Weberian ethic of non stop production, which you call innovation and creativity when in fact it is nothing but slavery -you want to turn everyone into your own image - a mental, emotional, sexual and spiritual robot.

Come to think of it, all of your achievements have managed to produce you and your wars and destruction - hardly something worth praising.

So my short Siestas in the afternoon have taken on a symbolic meaning - resisting your way of life. I try to have them as often as I can, when my fucked up neighbors permit, that is. Now that their kids discovered roller blades (another fucked up American invention), I have the sounds of wheels over my head during the day and the high heels of Madame and farts of Monsieur during the night.

Today, there was silence. A golden opportunity for a short vagary, a short trip, a short adventure in another land, where I am a spectator of a film, a film in a dolby sound system and high resolution pixels of colors.

I slept for what felt like hours when in fact it was nothing but a mere 20mn.
And I dreamt...

I dreamt I was in the US, in some skyscraper, right at the top of a very modern building that looked like a phallus penetrating the clouds, the skies, the cosmos...

I have fear of heights, so finding myself on the rooftop, was not my idea of sightseeing the universe from above. Besides I hate your ultra modern architecture. An insult to architecture. Hence I don't understand how can anyone like Zaha Hadeed, the Iraqi female architect who is the darling of the West. She is by the way, originally from Mosul. Mosul was a beautiful ancient city, but not sexy enough to inspire Zaha in her designs...

So I was saying I was on this rooftop, feeling vertiginous...There was a very small cafe that someone had urged me to visit for its artsy fartsy atmosphere...So I did.

The owner was an Arab who has been in exile for 60 years. He had adopted this artsy fartsy look, with his greasy hair held back in a pony tail, his long beard, his washed out Levis jeans and his t-shirt with holes specially fabricated to complete the look.

He made me pay for my coffee and went into a litany of how his 60 years of exile pained him...I don't know why but in the dream, I felt no sympathy towards him, none whatsoever...another fake Arab, an American-Arab, the worst kind - I thought to myself...

Then, a bang on his artsy fartsy door and I see another American-Arab holding a gun.It's a hold up he said, without flinching. As if he was so used to this kind of unwanted visits...

There walked in an Arab looking woman with a grotesque American accent, chewing gum. The pseudo Arab in exile, quickly disappeared into an adjacent room, and left me with this histrionic, dangerous character, sitting face to face.

I said calmly to her - your gun does not scare me, what do you want exactly ?

- Give me your money.

- Open my purse, I have nothing but 5 dollars, you can take them.

- OK then, give me your watch.

- You can take it, it's no designer's watch. It's a Swatch. Why don't we talk instead ?, I suggested.

So this long conversation took place. I can't recall the exact details, but I do recall that not many words were spoken. We seemed to speak with our eyes and she burst out in tears...But I do remember telling her - you are an Arab, not an American, you really don't need to act like a gangster and imitate their ways. You have your own. Re-discover them.

She said something to the effect - I want to steal your souls...And I replied, this is something you will never be able to do.

She did not kill me as she had intended, she left. And the artsy fartsy American Arab walked out from his hiding and told me - Be grateful that you're alive..

I noticed that she stole my watch (Time) and my coat (Cover). So I said to this wanker - I have no coat left, she took my only coat, what will I cover myself with, in this cold ? And he reiterated - Be grateful that you're alive.

I woke up stunned from this dream and tears were flowing down my face. Probably a mixture of having had to live at gun point and having been robbed of my time and my cover/protection...

I immediately went to look for my handbag. Of course it was still there and no thieves had walked in during my Siesta. But that familiar feeling of having been cheated, robbed and abandoned (by Westernized, Americanized Arabs) has stayed with me and will stay with me for a long, long time...

Painting : Iraqi artist, Mohamad Msyir "Attachment", 2007.