Sunday, June 13, 2004

Wave of curses

France is playing in the Euro 2004 -- that's soccer for you my friends -- and I am on my way to the only pub in town showing the game. All my mind is on the game so it takes me a little while to start noticing the two men sitting in front of me, their backs to me.
The one right in front has salt-and-pepper hair and he speaks slowly with an accent I can't recognize. His neck and his clear hair-cut are all I can see of him. He is giving advises to the young man next to him but he never looks at him or turns his head. He is looking straight away as I hear tales of a past life that is still very much a struggle.
"Waiter, that's a good job. You get the tips but there is alcohol. I don't like the alcohol". "This house is a good place. They take homeless and in-between guys. It's clean and quiet. They're not Christian or anything but they'll help you".
I get a tour of the neighborhood with a very different tour guide. He speaks briefly of past troubles. Alcohol addiction for the most part. Homelessness. He is on his way to work. From 2 PM to 11 PM, then he'll be home and tomorrow he'll go to his classes at the local university.
The young man is curious. What classes? (I am grateful of his questions as I wanted to know as well).
Art and photography. I would so much like to see some of it. A sort of snobbishness that demand that art produced by marginal be better. Authentic art. Something that we will have to learn from someone who lived in the street. The myth of the good savage transformed slightly to fit our modern society.
After saying goodbye to his companion and wishing him good luck, he exits the bus. I can see him now. He is about 40 years old, a trimmed bear and a clean shirt.

After the game and the pure joy that it triggers I end up in a movie theater. There are two women sited behind me.
I hear them discussing the joys of going alone to a movie. "I would if I can't find anyone to go with me" says one of the woman. Her friend agrees. They seem happy to have found each other for this movie.
The discussion is very soon monopolized by the other woman. She is arguing that in her life, incidents, accidents and catastrophes comes by "waves", like a curse. She proceed to give examples.
There was first the money problems. Her friend quips "I always have money problems". No, not like these.
She was in Chile and lost her credit card. In the excitement afterwards, she threw about $500 in traveler checks, realizing only too late what she had done.
Then there was the skin series. She got sun burnt badly followed by a string of allergies, rashes and mosquitoes stings.
The last of the cursed series is the water series. She spilled her Evian bottle water on her desk damaging papers and power supplies. Then the next day, she put back a bottle not properly closed in her bag on her way back from the gym and she kept thinking that the water she was feeling was only the rain. As she is starting another of her stories, the previews start and she gets quiet. I will not know her latest malediction.


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