Visible Origami – Feb 25, 2013
Dog Poet Transmitting…….
May your noses always be cold and wet.
(Susanne asks me this morning, “So, do you think you lost many readers with this latest escapade”? I replied, “Readers come and go and come back again or don’t. I can’t concern myself with people who might sit in judgment of me from afar. It’s ironic, they can appreciate and even applaud Hunter Thompson and his antics but… not mine and I am mild compared to him, or maybe just more restrained. Susanne, I don’t want people around me, or afar, laboring under false impressions. I’ve done what I’ve done for reasons known and unknown to me. Like it’s been said, ‘You can’t make a omelet without breaking eggs’ and you can’t get to the deeper heart of anyone, without trashing their illusions or, at least, bypassing them).
On to the rest of the tale;
India dramatically changed something inside me. I didn’t notice it at first because I was caught up in the moment and contained in an environmental surround sound. So… I get to the airport in Chennai and I’m in this long line; the kind that snakes back and forth through these barriers of steel poles and a band of fabric. I’m talking to some guy in line about how Israel did 9/11 and I notice a lot of people are listening in. After a few minutes of this, a young Indian man in one of those work blazers comes over and opened the band of fabric and said, “Come with me Sir”. I’m thinking, “WTH”? He takes me directly to security, walks me through security and then walked me to the gate where my flight to Oman was set to leave from. Incredible. I did not expect that.
I get to Oman and have a bit of a wait, so I go to have a beer. I wind up in this conversation with another young Indian guy and his female associate. Soon we are laughing and in high spirits. I’m thinking to myself, “something weird appears to have happened to me”. We end it with this warm embrace. I get on the plane to Frankfart and am seated next to this young German man named “Moe”. Who ever heard of a German named Moe? He had just come from Nepal, where he had been volunteer teaching for 6 months. We talked through the flight and there was this intense intimacy between us, without any connotations except those of the heart. I don’t know how to describe it further because this is all new to me. It was very warm and the smiles on both of our faces attested to that.
Further, concerning Oman, I am reminded of what the Palestinian doctor (who I sat next to on the train when my journey began) said to me, “You should come to the Middle East, you will like it and they will like you”. Boy, wasn’t the Oman airport one of the nicest places I have ever been? Indeed.
I get off the plane in Frankfart, realizing it is too late to take a train toward home. I didn’t want Susanne to have to travel out late to pick me up. So… I go to this bar to have a couple of beers and I see these two Japanese gentlemen laughing and smiling at me. They beckon me over and I go and sit with them. Soon we are engaged in amazing conversation. Once again, the warmth is unmistakeable. They were importers. We ended it with two strong and lasting embraces and kisses on the cheek. I didn’t know the Japanese did that. They leave and… moments later this Pakistani man in a suit comes to the bar and orders a Johnny Walker scotch. Though he is 6 or 7 meters away, I can see what he’s getting. He looks over and sees me and immediately comes and sits next to me where he tells me the story of his life. We head over to the smoking room for a smoke. There’s more talk and I say, “Let me buy you a drink”. He says, “Okay”. We leave the smoking room and he suddenly goes off in the opposite direction and it appears that he has forgotten all about everything.
I had given up my rupees in India and had only my Mastercard. I thought that would be fine. I was being waited on by this really nice gay guy. I went to pay my bill and they denied my card. I’m thinking, “Oh no”! It didn’t occur to me that I had used up my credit limit on my plane ticket and the trip with Gopal and Ramul; the hotel room, the dinner and so on. The bartender smiles at me and says, “No problem, I’ll take care of it”. It was 17 Euro. Amazing but… now what do I do? I’m in Frankfart with no funds whatsoever. I head over to the airport Sheraton, thinking that I can leave my passport with them until Susanne can help me in the morning. I go to the really unfriendly young lady at the desk and tell her the tale. She says, “Can’t help you, we’re all booked up”. I walk away slightly dejected when this man, also behind the desk but a few meters away, calls me back and says, “We do have another hotel, would you be willing to stay there”? I’ve called them and it’s okay you have no money. My colleague behind you will take you to the car. Someone is coming to get you”. This sweet old fellow, Ryan, got me downstairs where this man picked me up in a van. Next thing I know I am ensconced in a really nice room and can order anything I want.
Susanne covers me in the morning and this fellow takes me (I think) to the bus station. I tell him I need to get to the main train station. He instead takes me to the airport station. Susanne has booked a bus for me; much cheaper than a train. Ali, the fellow from the hotel had handed me 20 euro. “For your trip”, he said. I only have a sweater on. I didn’t want to carry a coat around. It’s freezing. I can’t find my bus. I go to the tourist help desk and the guy looks on the computer and says, “You go to P-32″. I go there and wait for 20 minutes in the freezing cold. My bus never came. I go back to the help desk. The guy says, “Oh, you are in the wrong station. You have to go to the main station but… there is another bus at 1:30″. I go to the other station. I walk around in the freezing cold for half an hour but cannot find my bus. As Susanne tells me later, “There is no bus at 1:30″. I am about to lose my mind. I’m trembling and shaking and, out of nowhere, I piss my pants. This does not happen to me. If it did, I probably wouldn’t tell you (grin). I’m making it to the restroom with my bag in front of me, moving through a sea of people. I change my pants. “God! Why are you doing this to me”?
I go to the DB information desk and tell this man my story. He says, “Come in here” and I go into this heated kiosk, where there are people helping a constant stream of people. There are four captain’s chairs. He seats me in the empty one next to him and calls the people at the hotel, where I had been and tells them to come and get me. I sat there for half an hour, with people coming to my window for help and I would point either left or right. Ali shows up to get me and we talk on the way back. I find out he is Iranian and I think, ‘Payback for all the nice things I say about them’. This warmth thing happens again and we are like old friends. Susanne straightens it out again and all that day I get to know Ali and his assistant, Eva. She come from Prague. Boy was she nice to me. She said that Frankfart is a terrible place, only about money. We all bond. Ali tells Susanne on the phone that I am a very, very nice man. It was amazing the way he would greet me each time we met. We would hug and smile at each other. Eva called him “chef”. I guess he is one. He also cooked at the main Sheraton.
I hardly slept that night, just thinking about everything that had happened. Something definitely happened to me in India and it’s still happening The next day he drives me to the train station and gives me a hundred Euro. This time I am going to catch a train. I realize now that I am actually going to make it back. It occurs to me now, at that time, that I really believed I wasn’t going to make it. I’m in my comfy seat on the train, I’ve got a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream that Eva gave me. I’m thinking about what a beautiful human being Ali is and Eva too; meeting them in a town like Frankfart was near miraculous.
I get into the Basel train station and the train is 20 minutes late. Susanne is not there. I go, “Ah Well”. I go back into the train station, just standing there, wondering what to do; probably catch the bus I guess. I turn around and Susanne is standing about 20 feet away; “Sorry I’m late”. I walked into the house and felt this aura of protection immediately. I had a rough few days, eliminating what had gotten its hooks into me and then it was gone and all is well now. Here I sit writing this; hope you enjoyed it.
Will now work on getting a radio show out.