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Friday, August 8, 2008

the me of me

This week was existential. I nearly caved-in…and then I didn’t.

Everyone’s gone: Goni’s in Haifa with Sal and Gerry, Brendan’s in Portland, Julien in Briançon, Bee’s unreachable in Southern California, the rich are in Juan-les-Pins, the poor in buses to the Costa del Sol. Only the Serbs are in Serbia and the Gazans in Gaza. The office too was deserted, a barren showroom of desks and printers. The xerox hummed sullenly and I stood by with nothing to do. I even missed Branson’s “helpful advice”, his goatee and his gleaming white teeth. This was a wasted, useless week. A dangling-chad on the calendar. I missed people. I just missed them. So I turned inward. I turned to the me of me. The I’s I. The moi en moi. I turned and I turned and then I saw something that cheered me up. I saw a kid who needs a haircut, a broke kid with funny teeth and a goofy smile. I saw a kid who likes Frankfurters and toast, Croats and Jewish girls, a kid who’s mostly sympathetic, except with snobs and “worldly” types. I saw this in a flash, faster than you can say “kid”, faster than the cyclotron in Geneva. It came to me like a rapid dispatch from within the me of me. It came so fast I almost missed it (the moi of moi is an impatient, flashy thing, not to be toyed with). And when I saw him, I liked him immediately. I liked him like I like secret tunnels, trap doors and distant cousins. And then, without further ado, in another flash I turned outward, fully outward: I grabbed my empty wallet, I grabbed my sunglasses and I went out. I went out onto the streets of Amsterdam, the sun on my back, like a crazy, disheveled cat looking for something to do.