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He wakes. He reads. He drinks coffee. He eats some toast with honey and butter on it. He goes to the mva to sort out his driving license. The nice lady asks if he has a translation of his national driving license. He explains that his driving license is already in English given that English is the native language of his country of origin. She does not smile but merely nods. Then he is told he will have a 2-3 hour wait. He reads The Digital Age as he waits. It is a terrifying awful depiction of the future that the authors who have access and influence in the Corridors of Power claim is inevitable. He is terrified by it. Then his number comes up. He wishes that he had B52 as the number then he could have made a joke about the MVA being a love shack but he does not get that number so he cannot make that joke but when F78 is called he goes to the booth that he has been assigned. A nice man greets him and then has some problems with his application stemming from the visa which is an i-visa which is a foreign media workers visa. A colleague is called into help and they converse quietly in what sounds like hindi. He is not sure that it is hindi but it sounds like it. Then after several retries and another colleague of the nice gentleman approaching and trying to help it turns out that Homeland Security has a problem with the visa and requires additional identification. This is scary at first because he feels that he is being crushed by the jackboot of a system he does not understand but the man he is talking to is so nice he soon forgets this and then is calmed when he is told that this happens all the time with visas of this kind so there is nothing to worry about do not worry at all really it is totally normal. So he is still worried but realise that as a foreign national even of a firm and fast shoulder to shoulder never back down always be there for you ally of the USA he really has no rights in this country and could be deported at any point for any reason or any whim and there is really no point in worrying about something he has no control over especially when it is to do with nothing more important than a driving license application so he walks to the bus stop and gets on the bus and then gets on another bus and then buys some food from the grocery store and then buys a bottle of wine from the alcohol store and then walks home and takes a picture of some deer that happen to be staring at him and then he cooks his chicken with olive oil and cashews and vegetables and it tastes very good and then he talks to the woman he has been talking to and enjoying talking to and then he watches some TED talks which are only mildly irritating but that is because he is drunk and then he talks to a friend in Brazil about parenthood and revolution and then he falls asleep.
He wakes up. He watches The Queen of Versailles. It is an incredible film that perfectly captures the financial crisis through the lens of a very wealthy family falling on hard times. Then he has a coffee and some toast and his therapist calls him to tell him that she has accidentally double booked him and could he come and see her now or tomorrow at the same time as it is early he politely declines and thinks that even despite his desire and love of anecdotes he suspects that he will not be going with this therapist after all who cannot even seem to organise her diary. He then calls a friend and they talk about not very much of interest and then he reads some more of his book and then he plans to go on another run because running yesterday was so pleasant and then he plans to go to yoga because he has a ticket for yoga and it would be a shame to waste the ticket and then he watches Jiro Dreams of Sushi which turns out to be a wonderful film about sushi and he loves films and he loves sushi so he enjoys the combination of the two. Then he goes to the toilet and after doing a poo sprays air spray with flower scent but all it does is enhance the stink of shit by giving it a gag inducing undercurrent of thick perfume. He wonders what genius invented this and how we all managed to fall for the idea that the one stink would cover the other when that is not how, by any scientific analysis, smell works. He gags and goes outside, leaving a cloud of unpleasant fumes behind him. We all do it, he thinks, why do we have to be disgusted by it? He does not have the answer but he is still disgusted. He falls asleep and then he feels sick and then he has a panic attack and then he misses his appointment to meet a friend at the World Bank to see what is probably a skewed documentary about Somali pirates but because it is the World Bank he misses free wine and free food but he is having a panic attack so this does not concern him too much. Then he calms down and then he gets irritated by some TED talks and the he reads Too Big to Fail and he reads a book about Goldman Sachs and then he reads a book about illusions and then he reads a book about how the working class are being crushed in America and everywhere else and how the minimum wage is not a living wage and is probably therefore worse in many ways and then he has a glass of water and he feels marginally better but sad that he missed the World Bank free food and free wine but then of course it’s not really free because it is probably money sucked from Somalia somehow which created the perfect crucible for young men to seek work and capital as pirates because they had no other opportunities. This is the extent of his analysis of Somali pirates and The World bank based on nothing more than his own prejudices as he falls asleep.
chaturbate.com, edward snowden, Functionally Literate, Hiding the Elephant - How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learnt to Disappear, james bamford, Jim Steinmeyer, nsa, Quote, the puzzle palace, The Voice
‘”If you want to keep something a secret, publish it.” Once in print, information is often filed, forgotten, or dismissed. Publishing a secret takes away its cachet and causes it to be overlooked.’
Hiding the Elephant – How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learnt to Disappear, Jim Steinmeyer (2003)
Many views on Edward Snowden and what he has done are smeared all across the internet. As a small, but I think relevant aside, I’m reading a book about the history of magic. The above quote seems rather apt given the fact that a book called The Puzzle Palace, written in 1982, detailed the then overreach of the NSA. What little did Mr. Bamford know about how much further their grasp would extend. Give it some time and I’m sure Mr. Snowden and his revelations will be forgotten too as we move onto the more pressing concerns of The Voice and chaturbate.com. Magicians and Illusionists know a thing or two about human nature, I think. It is how they make their daily bread.
He wakes up. He was dreaming about the Scottish Foreign Minister hugging him. He is not even sure that there is a Scottish Foreign Minister in real life but even so the bekilted man was hugging him and not letting go. Then he gets up and makes some coffee and some toast with honey and then takes a shower and walks to his therapist for his first therapist session and he is walking in the heat and realises that walking in American suburbs is never the best plan because there are no sidewalks only painted lines on the road inside which pedestrians are supposed to take their lives in their hands and he does so as he sweats and walks along the side of the road cars and trucks and buses powering and fuming past him until he reaches his therapist and she has forgotten that he has an appointment and she apologises even though it is their first time together and she then confirms that she does have an appointment but he has lost the will to talk to this woman so he rearranges because he finds the whole thing amusing that his therapist will be more disorganised than him and her office is in the basement of her large house and he wonders if this is just a hobby to keep her busy and occupied during the long days when her husband is away at work but he cannot say this for sure because he is in the house for less than five minutes but that is the impression he gets when she says she agreed to take him on because of his lovely accent and she could listen to that for an hour without getting bored. He thinks she said bored but he cannot guarantee that he didn’t make that up. Then he walks all the way home and wonders if Edward Snowden is currently living the Russian equivalent of the Tom Cruise movie The Terminal in Moscow right now. Is he falling in love with a stewardess, getting a job at the souvenir store, being a matchmaker, bringing out the humanity in all he touches even as he discovers depths of empathy within himself that he didn’t believe existed? Probably not he is probably in a windowless room nervously looking at the door waiting for jackboots to arrive or perhaps he is not even in Russia at all but this was part of a ruse like at the end of The Firm where the main character Mitch McDeere buys multiple tickets to many destinations and then goes somewhere totally different in order to throw the Mafia and the Feds off his track. Maybe that is what has happened and Mr. Snowden is already in Ecuador or some other place already drinking pina coladas and enjoying a back rub and a good book. He does not know the answers to any of these questions but they are better than any questions that he currently hears being asked on the television. He listens to Chris Hedges being angry and impassioned in an interview with Ronnie Kasrils which he enjoys and then he goes for a bike ride which lets him free wheel down hills and strain up hills and brings back to him happy memories of childhood. Then he goes on a long cycle ride and then he goes on a run and he eats some italian ice, watermelon flavour with a friend and then he gets home and discovers a book from a friend has been sent and then he talks to a woman on the phone and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He drinks cold coffee that is in the mug beside his bed. He showers. He does not miss the bus. He wonders whether Daniel Day-Lewis is a good cobbler or if there is just a mountain of poorly made shoes that is piled high behind his large mansion, all unwearable in various appalling way. He thinks it is probably more likely that Daniel Day-Lewis is the best shoe maker that the world has ever seeen and that feet weep when they are encased in his masterpieces which begs the question if Daniel Day-Lewis can be good at anything why does he waste all of his time pretending to be people from America’s past? There is probably no good answer to that. Perhaps it is hidden in a mountain of beautifully crafted shoes. Then he eats a bagel and he goes to the bathroom and he doesn’t shake enough so urine snakes down his leg in a tiny trickle but his embarrassment enlarges it in his mind to a fluming torrent and he limps back to his desk as the wetness goes all the way down to his shoes and marks out his failure for the day. Then he eats rice and vegetables and prides himself on the fact that he managed to eat every day this week on $20 but it did mean that he only ate rice and vegetables and yogurt and on sale bluberries and eating the same thing for every meal every day is not the most pleasant experience in the world but at least he lives in a country where he gets to eat regularly and at least he grew up in a part of the world where this is taken for granted and then he walks home after work and he takes some over exposed pictures of the moon because it is dark even though it is the longest day of the year and the solstice is being celebrated and misunderstood by everyone including him and then he reads and then he drinks a glass of wine and then he sleeps hoping that he will dream the dream that the dreamed the other night when an old lover he had deceived smiled at him and made him feel happy.
He wakes up. Toast is eaten. Coffee is drank. Buses are missed. Books are read. Challenges are met. He feels relatively good about the day and then it is over and he wonders where The Great American Novel is and why it is still inside him and not outside him and on bookshelves but then there are no more bookshops so no one would see it anyway. He starts watching a Japanese epic called The Human Condition. It is hours long and he watches the first hour which is incredible but he is tired so he stops it and he goes to sleep after eating yogurt.
He wakes up. Is life all there is, he wonders. It will probably be enough for now. He makes productive use of his morning and he feels better about that because recently he hasn’t been doing that. Then he makes productive use of his afternoon and suddenly the day is over and he eats some fish and he talks to a friend and he reads some books and he talks to another friend and then he learns that James Gandolfini is dead. Then he learns that Michael Hastings is dead. Lots of people died today. Lots of people were born today. They filled in the holes that the dead left and the line of the remainders stretches out to the horizon. He goes to sleep.