Diary of a Marked Woman

Diary of a Marked Woman

Paris, July 2005

Sun. the 31st It's been a month since I've last written anything; Late last month I signed up for internet and I've spent many hours catching up on the news, first about Iraq and Afghanistan and the accelerating collapse of the United States on the international scene and on the national front. Apparently people are waking up from their sugar-induced torpor and, having pinched themselves to make sure they're not dreaming, have uttered these fateful words: "Holy shit!" Yeah, the Bill of Rights has no more substance than a Frontier town on a Hollywood lot. There's nothing but ragweeds behind the welcoming saloon doors and the lace curtains. And every time a new scandal hits the news, a 1.5 Bn $ appropriation bill benefiting Halliburton and the oil industy sneaked in as an addendum AFTER the House has closed the vote and ended the session... or a new torture scandal and Bush, unfazed, demanding the right to do with detainees whatever he goddam pleases "to insure the protection of the American people". Sure, Daddy knows best... it never ends.

Every day brings its crop of jaw-droppers. And to think I lived in that country for almost twenty years, and that I went back to my country in the nick of time, just after the shoe-bomber bit, and at the airport they made me take off my shoes TWICE after I had checked in to board while a voice on the public address system repeated endlessly that "any luggage left unattended will be DESTROYED".

So let me say this to all the people I met over there in New York when I was new in the country, to Jon Burr in particular, and to Karl Seltzer and John Lettieri, and all the musicians I got to know: What goes around comes around. You had it coming, serves you right! You thought nothing of deceiving and betraying me when I was trying to make friends and needed help, so now don't complain that your government lied to you about Iraq's WMD's and that your Congress sold you down the river. The horrors of the American gulag at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib or Bagram or who knows where are a reflection of your inner psyche. You were inhuman towards me so there's a part of you that approves of the inhumanity at work in the US-made detention hell.

The phone company wants to withdraw the money automatically from my bank account to get paid every two months but in early July I hadn't yet received my RMI allowance. I tried unsuccessfully to talk to an account rep at the hotline number, but before talking to anybody one has to endure a recorded message advertising some insurance products and after a dozent repeats it gets on your nerves. Plus the rep was never at his desk when I called so I could see how the bank was going to reject the payment of my phone bill and how the phone company was going to cut off my phone.

So on July 1st I called Mom because I saw no other solution and promptly broke down in tears after enduring incessant harassment every time I go shopping, people making my life harder instead of easier when they see me on crutches, and the uncertainty about my medical condition due to unclear or contradictory doctors statements, nobody to help me, the pain every day in my knee and my ankle, the ankle problem due to long immobilization, not trauma, the knowledge that I'm under surveillance whatever I do, the eye-torture several times every morning horribly, horribly painful... it gets to you after a while. So I wept and asked Mom for money (1,500 euros) She said she would deposit a thousand the next day on my account and the remaining 500 later. She did deposit the thousand but not the five hundred. So I was relieved from the gnawing jaw of poverty and indulged myself with quality fruit (white peaches, cherries, strawberries). I realize the absolute perfection of the fruit and think how God must love humanity for having created such delights. Who cares about Daniel Boulud or Jean-Georges Vongerichten when there are things you can eat without botheering with the stove, and they are wonders for the taste buds, the sense of smell, the sense of touch and the vision too... the delicate shift in color of a white peach skin from tender green to dark purple through pale yellow and pink, the velvety skin... the consistency of the pulp, the musky aroma, the juice, and how the flesh separates delicately and cleanly from the pit... all these delicate sensations coalesce into a works of art.

I also bought a lot of fabric for some projects of Hawaiian appliqué work I plan to do.

I embroidered 2 panels of six Blackwork tiles each on white burlap and, having run out of fabric and the store being out of that product, I finished the border on a square filet crochet that I had set aside a few months ago after getting fed up. I had already done one half of the border so it was a matter of just a few hours, and then I found another filet-crochet project I liked and got started. This one has four rounded sides that form lobes, so I had to learn how to do increases at the beginning and at the end of a row, which are not done the same way at all. I started a week ago today, and am almost at the halfway mark, having increased all the way from the bottom. Having completed the motif at the bottom, I now have empty squares to crochet in the middle part of the piece, while doing the bottom part of the right and the left motif; All went well but somewhere I found I had made a mistake in the previous row: I had forgotten to crtochet to filled-in squares on each side so I tried to cheat and instead of doing single stitches I did triple stitches to fill in the empty sdquares below at the same time as the current row, and then I continued though it didn't look perfect and it was close to the middle, so very obvious. But then I thought, "Why am I trying to hurry? The point is not to win a race but to make a handsome piece, so what if I have to spend an extra hour or two? So the next mornong I un-did the work to the spot where the earliest mistake was and corrected it. I know if I hadn't corrected the mistake I would always have hated the piece and the mistakes would have jumped at me, and I would never have been able to be proud of that piece, so why spend all this time and effort if in the end the result is not worth it? So the frustrated Mom and the frustrated Grandma in me thought how, if I had children/grandchildren, I would teach them with examples of this kind, the importance of 1) admitting one's mistakes when one becomes aware of them, and 2) immediately take corrective steps without feeling in any way ashamed or disappointed because mistakes are part of the human lot, they are opportunities to learn and they test our character.

Of course, in my family when I grew up, we were not allowed to make mistakes, if we made them we were ridiculed so the reflex was to deny and cover-up in order to avoid the loss of face and the hassle. Exactly the opposite of the correct reaction.

Because of the pain in my knee that forced me to cut short my computer sessions when I was sitting on a chair, I moved my computer from the living room to the bedroom so I can use it while lying on my bed with tthe keyboard on my lap and the mouse to my right on the sheet. This is the first time I type with the keyboard on my lap and it's not too uncomfortable, it's quite ok as a matter of fact.

So, basically, I manage to keep the apartment clean, to shop for food, to hand-wash my clothes and to cook all the while walking on crutches except for tiny steps. And in addition I'm always embroidering or sewing or crocheting something that's pleasant to look at. So sue me.

Well, well, this is enough for today.


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