So. One step at a time. The center stopped holding a good while back from the look of things. Afficionados of blockbuster disaster movies must be… pleased? Appalled? Their favorite genre plays every day in real time, somewhere in the world and – often – in their own neighborhood too. Basic differences: even the heroes die and those who walk away don’t look all perky in the next scene.
Story-wise, the entire draft plays out prior to the French regional elections. A few days before the first round in the process in real life, I tell myself some parts of the draft may have to shift in time (the final part, perhaps). Over here, everyone’s bracing for the extent of the bad news – bad news being a foregone conclusion.
The craziness plays out at so many levels. A ten year-old boy telling an adult one specific shooting was justified because persons of the targeted group must die, no matter what their age. An adult, saying precisely the same thing about the group to which this ten year-old belongs. An eighty year-old man and his disabled daughter, handcuffed and on the floor, during another raid conducted like a night at the rodeo.
With so many outlandish events crowding in, the one that stays uppermost in my mind this morning involves a piece of law-making still in abeyance in Algeria. The law criminalizing conjugal violence hasn’t passed the Senate because conservative religious ones fear this law will destroy the family. Why will it destroy the family? Because if a man can’t beat his wife anymore, he’ll abandon his family and go beat his mistress (the mistress isn’t covered by the conjugal violence clause).
We pause. We take in this piece of nonsense. Go on reading the wording of this revolutionary piece of law-making. Only to discover a wife may press charges but the charges will be dropped if she forgives her husband. A smart wife will do so if she convinces herself the next beating won’t be all that bad.
Social Center. Group of youngsters preparing a chocolate cake. The girls, hard at work. The boys – eleven, twelve years old – hollering down the hallways, fighting, hiding under tables and demanding more chocolate pudding. One of my charges hasn’t shown up. I go and give a hand to the adults in the kitchen. One of the girls excuses the boys’ behavior – as her mother has done before, and as she will do when the boys are her own. The excuse? “They’re boys.” Boys are like that. Boys are allowed. Boys cannot control themselves and a smart woman doesn’t even try.
On such premises straight from Absurdlandia – none of which I share – onward to a day of “Hello, my name is…”.
Of dreamtime, all I remember: the water no longer flowed in a river and a stream. This allowed for a trek across the dry riverbed and a closer look at its underlying structure. What can I say? My internal gyroscope insists on this kind of balancing act. No water? OK, let’s study the rocks.
(Poetry? Yes, I feel in need of a bit of Seamus Heaney this morning.)