Sunday, November 06, 2011


The Above Title will date me, as does almost everything these days, including the date.
The view below will help explain to you my move, as in Manhattan, in the beautiful and indisputably tasteful(see classic Deco lobby) Hampshire House, my 'Juliet balcony,' real estate jargon for a little thing that overhangs a fifteen-story drop, now looks out at a hideous 91-story-monstrosity-in-progress that will eventually blot out the sky. But one should never be arrogant about where one is going, as indisputable Paradise or no, Bali has flaws, among them, for starters, a very vocal frog that does not Gribitgribitgribit as Tommy Smothers used to imitate, but is a basso, relentless and very loud and all night long.
It really didn't bother me as much as it would have if someone a little odd hadn't pointed it out, along with the cockroach on my ceiling-- I am living at Umalas Kauh which means 'horses,' there being a well-maintained stable downstairs, but it is, after all, a stable-- and my first victory, having gotten here with no major jetlag, courtesy of a brilliant hotelier friend almost always enroute to somewhere, who told me to stay up the whole transit time(approx. 20 hours from New York to Hong Kong, 2 hour wait, five hour trip to Denpasar, Bali) until I fell asleep(I never did) and then go for a walk in the sun(didn't have to, it radiated the car in which Yoni drove me to Lestari, the more poetic name for Umalas Kauh, meaning Beauty or something like that) was that I have been rightside up the whole time, with none of the suddenly pitching over head first I am used to with jet lag.
But a vague sadness has set in, a low-level not-exactly depression, where I examine the Farewells of some friends who talked about how courageous I was to come here, which I didn't think I was. Courage would have been to stay in New York and watch the further disintegration of everything I loved about my country, including the country itself. But courage, as I pointed out in one of my books that may or may not have seen print, comes from 'heart,' and I like to think I still have much of that, the hope that things will turn out to be excellent, that love and kindness will prevail, that my children will be glad they have lived, my grandchildren be able to go to the best universities as I was privileged to do, in spite of the American Dream(not a cliche, it was, it WAS) seeming to have been co=opted by morons and lunatics. I was at the point in New York this past early Autumn where I believed America had been my Imaginary Friend, something I had attached myself to as a little little girl, two years and three months old, saying the Gettysburg Address, so believing I had an actual tie to Lincoln or I couldn't have recited it at that age, in exchange for a piece of Beech-Nut gum. Then came my affection for Ben Franklin, my particular pal among the Framers, his starting the libraries, which of course I loved and supported, the post office, which seems not long for our world, and swim fins, something I never used but could feature him wearing, jumping into whatever river it was flowing through Philadelphia. Those of course may last, as will electricity, but I wonder about the chances for the rest of his ingenuity.
An imaginary friend of course is what a child invents or actually sees to dispel the loneliness. It seems to me we are a very lonely nation now-- that everyone is frightened to some degree, wary. But enough of all that. Let's just focus on the rice field outside my window. The streamers are made of plastic, some looking like they were torn from garbage bags. There is no wind now, so they are not waving, but the rice is almost ready, and the birds come in the late day, so someone stands at the pole to which the string is connected and pulls at it, so there's movement, and some sound, as halfway along the string is a can with stones inside and they rattle like a castanet.
I sat here last night with the Tarot reader I found in the restaurant Biku, Christine, who may or may not have cancer-- medicine here is beneath iffy-- no real doctors and they don't let Westerners practice,-- and she told me of her son who is a Bali priest and can see the evil demons who are everywhere, and I of course silently chortle. I brought Mimi's ashes-- I left a few of them in Circo, where she used to love to go, and was well-received and entertained, stashed them in a plant outside the entrance of that New York restaurant-- with the intention of giving her some kind of ceremony here, ritual the Balinese have for just about everything, birth, death, clearing the throat, since it was her sudden and premature departure that brought me to Bali, it being the one place we hadn't traveled together, as bringing dogs in was not permitted. Oh, that's another thing: my landlady has five wild dogs and they bark all the time. I have written to Cesar Milan inviting him, which she wishes to do, for a segment of Dog Whisperer, but it is almost impossible to get through his highly commercial wall, ads, video auditions, really annoying, but the point is I also have these barking dogs. No place is Paradise.
Anyway, Yoni and I were supposed to put Mimi's ashes in a young coconut(who wants an old coconut?) and send them out to sea, but she told me her mother said that yesterday was not a good day, that we should wait for the 10th and the full moon. So I'm waiting.
And trying not to be impatient, my worst suit. Waiting for sleep, waiting for inspiration. Probably I'm jet-lagged and it's just manifesting in this vague pall of uncertainty. Jamie told me I could always go home, that this was just 'an extended trip.' But home doesn't feel like home to me anymore. When this vague queasiness descended on me yesterday afternoon I turned on the TV and Trading Places was on HBO, so I considered that a personal gift from the programming gods, who may or may not also have demons among them. I just don't know. But then, 'not knowing' is a great spiritual state, if you can accept it and be with it.
I don't know that I can. I am hoping for a great book, or even a fairly acceptable one. I am going to try and teach myself touch-typing-- 18 novels and never used anything but hunt and peck, and what if the eyes go and I can't hunt and peck? Jack told me of a Buddhist (I think it was a cartoon) opening up a package and finding nothing in it, saying "Oh, Look: Nothing! Just what I always wanted."
Wish I could be like that. Or maybe not. Maybe I just need a nap.