6/05/2007

More Excerpts

This is a long post of some more journal excerpts covering the last few days. I hope it isn't too long for my ADD friends.

Oh, and two Lucies appear in these stories. I will assume you'll know the difference between the two.

Day 4-

"I woke up with high expectations this morning. Today is the day that my house would get water and it was the day that the city was supposed to have 12 to 16 hours of electricity daily. At 9 am, however, I didn't have either yet. I got dressed and waited for Gary to come pick me up and drive me to the office."

"...Todd also gave us a tour of the house and showed us his father's new gun.

He told us again how he had threatened the taxi driver with it. Cory asked to hold it and, before Todd gave it to him, Todd took the cartridge out, but when the time came, he couldn't get the cartridge back in. For some reason, Todd decided to put the barrel of the gun up to his eye to see if there was a blockage. I told Cory that this is how so many after-school specials start. Luckily, Todd did not shoot himself and he managed to get the cartridge back into the gun and he put the gun back where he found it"

"...We headed back to pick up Lucy and then go to [the park in my town]. [the park in my town] is the main park in [my town] and tonight it was packed with people. The main entrance and parking lot were full of cars and the streets surrounding the park were all bumper-to-bumper. This park was once the sight of one of Saddam Hussein's prison/torture facilities, but the Kurds have turned it into a beautiful recreational area complete with an amusement part, fountains, restaurants, gardens and a pond. It's name means Freedom Park."

"[the park in my town] is Todd's favorite place to go in the city. I think it may be everyone's favorite place. I have never seen so many people in the park at one time. It was is everyone in [my town] had come out. It was a gorgeous night, too. The sky was clear and there was a slight breeze. The temperature couldn't have been much above 80 degrees.

Lucy was the star of the show tonight. When people saw her their faces lit up. I mean real smiles, too. Lucy is a little black and white, shaggy-haired dog. And, man, she's a star when she goes out in public. Pet dogs are very rare in the Muslim world. Even in a place like [my town], which is very liberal and full of Kurds who have returned from Europe or the US, dogs aren't common. I am told that the prophet Mohamed deemed dogs dirty in the Quran, so Muslims don't keep them.

But when Lucy walked down the park paths, people took notice. Children squealed with delight and parents brought their kids to pet her. I think in the West we are too accustomed to seeing dogs out in public, but imagine seeing a dog for the first time. A little happy-looking dog with it's hair sticking up and it's tongue sticking out. I can imagine what it must be like because I have seen the faces of people who are seeing a live dog for the first time. There's a moment of surprise and then a broad smile follows. If they don't know anyone can see them, the smile lasts awhile and it's pure and sweet and full of innocent joy and laughter. And, I don't just mean kids. I mean adult men and women, too.

I was sitting in the grass with Lucy while Cory and Todd went to the restroom and two guys passed in front of us. They were probably my age or a little older and I saw them take notice of Lucy. A minute later, I saw them coming back from the other direction. They were whispering to one another and I knew they had questions about Lucy. They had come back just to pet her and to ask to take a picture of her. They both wanted to be in the picture with her and they weren't the only ones. A group of maybe five younger guys followed and throughout the night Lucy had her picture taken everywhere she went.

She's like a one-dog revolution. I don't know if people grasp the importance of Lucy. Just by her being she confronts Islam and people's understanding of what it means to be a Muslim. I don't think I'm overstating it either. I mean these people see joy and happiness when they look at Lucy. They long to touch her and be near her. But their religion says that they must not.

Not everyone likes Lucy. Todd tells a story about an Imam that confronted him about Lucy. The Imam told Todd that Mohamed says dog's are dirty. Todd says, “I know. My dog's name is Mohamed.” Understandably the Imam got very angry and Todd had to run from him to avoid bodily injury."

"...I came home to electricity! I guess the rumors are true!"

Day 5-

"Today was a free day, so I slept in as long as I could. I made it until almost 11 am. I woke and spent the remainder of the morning sweeping the front balcony, porch and driveway and washing my dishes. I had to use the water I had salvaged from the bathroom flood, so the dishes aren't really clean, just clear of food and out of the sink.

Yesterday, I came home after meeting at the office and found that I had indeed gotten water like the neighbors said I would, but I had left a faucet on. All of the water I got ran out of that faucet and flooded the bathroom. That meant that instead of filling the rooftop tank that would have provided water for days, it filled the bathroom.

I filled two medium-sized blue trashcans full of this water and set them aside for later. I know, I can't drink it or bathe with it, but I can use it flush the toilet and a variety of other things.

While I was washing the dishes, I noticed that my bread bag was open. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it hadn't been opened, but rather gnawed through. I don't know what animal did it although I can safely assume it was either cat or rat, I was mostly just mad that now I couldn't eat my bread. I ate cookies for lunch instead.

After the cookies, I went back outside and finished sweeping. I don't know when the house was last swept, but the concrete was covered in dead leaves and dirt. I didn't use any water to clean because I didn't have any to spare, so everything is still covered with a layer of dirt, but it looks cleaner.

I felt so dirty from sweeping and sweating that I decided to clean off with the salvaged water. Even though I knew it was probably dirty, I figured it was cleaner than me. It looked clear at least.

Once, I was clean, I spent the afternoon downstairs in the little sitting room planning for work this week and doing some of the puzzle books Lucy left behind.

Todd called and told me he had found a house for me. Actually, he said he had found four houses. He wanted to go see them this evening, but I put him off until tomorrow. It's very hard for me to say no especially when the person to whom I have to say no is trying to help me, but the simple act of going to see the houses involved too many steps: 1. Get dressed, 2. brush my teeth, 3. Take a taxi, 4.exchange money to have dinars with which to pay for more taxis, 5. Pick up Todd, 6. More taxis. 7. See houses, 8. Find out the rent is too high, 9. Wish I had more money, 10. More taxis

It was just too much to bear, so I stayed home and listened to music and did more of Lucy's puzzles."

"I came home tonight to find my back door wide open. I, of course, assumed that terrorists had broken in, so I went back out on the front porch to think through my options. I didn't have any electricity and it was after 9 pm, so it was pretty dark. I decided to wait it out in the kitchen.

I figured there were two likely scenarios: 1. No one was in the house, and 2. al Qaeda was hiding in either the bathroom or the stairwell. I figured scenario 1 was the realistic one, but I parked myself in the kitchen with the door open to wait for the lights to come on, just in case scenario 2 was the real one.

I listened to a podcast of As The World Turns from April and lit a candle, so I could see and I waited for about 45 minutes. When the lights came on, I searched my house for al Qaeda. I took along a pair of scissors, just in case I had to do any stabbing. I did not.

My house was completely empty and it seemed that no one had been in at all. I guess the door just came open some how. Even though, I knew I was safe, I locked my bedroom door while I slept, just to feel better."

2 comments:

Devan said...

Robert, I have to tell you that I enjoy reading your exerts. I really am just thrilled for you that you are back in Kurdistan. I talked to Angie the other day and she has tons of plots and evil schemes to at least keep her amused. I may have to join her for some adventure soon, though. Take care.

Lucy said...

Glad to hear that my old puzzle books are getting some good mileage!