Monday, April 13, 2009

when it's ajar

The question is, 'when is a door not a door?'

I could go forth with all sorts of existential, philosophical appendages on that one but I won't, because I have much else to impart upon you, gentile reader.

I moved out of Uncle Chuck and Aunt Marti's, and am now being hosted by two very fine folk, Rocky and Ricia (see below), who I found through CouchSurfing. Ricia met me with open arms into her garden, told me to make myself at home and explore, has loaned me one of her chick mystery novels (yes it's yummy, just the bit of fluffy nuttery goodness I wanted), and cooked us a wonderful meal: oodles of fresh greens, broccoli, and rice.

Rocky (pictured on the left) came in a bit ago waving his arms about TerreSante, a community outside of town, which his friend Bruce is involved in. As I tuned in to the conversation, I recalled that TerreSante is featured in the North American WWOOF'ing roundup - what a great coincidence! Ricia has tomorrow free (she is a close-caption writer...she's doing a Charlie Rose live interview right now!) and suggested that we tool on out there to see what's going on. Apparently it's a work party day, so we can elect to roll up our collective sleeves and dig in, and also be fed some tasty organic TS-grown food!


Ricia has since cut off most of her hair and I have yet to hear the whole story.

This house is compact, and colorful. Each room has been painted different colors. It's very informal and many couchsurfers are hosted here. I love it! Somewhere outside is a persistent round of music, like an ice cream truck's - first there were Christmas songs, and now it's Old MacDonald. It's not loud or obnoxious, but I am very curious. There's a sauna outside too, and in the garage, some bikes. Ricia set me up with one already, and drew me a map of the area with points of interest (namely, the library and the natural foods stores, and the university block).

I was waaaay to burnt to go out this afternoon; this headcold has kicked my arse-end and I've been feeling pretty emotionally spun out. I think I'm coming around now; Rocky and I discussed my new novel. He has already told me that my Preface is done - after I told him about how I envisioned going to India to be a big bang, ultra epiphanic,

(hey I think that actually IS an ice cream truck!!!!!)

soul-moving exclamation point and all that, and it...was not. No quantum leaps. Dammit!!

Then he asked me who would play me in the movie. I named Molly Ringwald, and he launched into how she was really a francophile. She learned french, moved there, married a french guy...he knew so much about Molly, I had to know why, and he said Well because all guys have a thing for Molly Ringwald, I have no trouble admitting I have a thing for Molly Ringwald! Fair enough. *who wouldn't, after her lipstick-applying trick in Breakfast Club?? You knew that was coming!*

I also learned that Rocky was in a grunge bank in the 80s, called the Cottonmouths, and they toured the northeast. He was in his 40s - said he had a great time. Yeah, I bet! You didn't need much to be in a grunge band...people expected raw and ready.

So now we want to know: who will play Rocky in the movie??

Rocky suggested that the whole book I'm going to write be just Chapter Ones. I like it! It suits me!! With Fun (or, as Ricia suggested, Phun) in the middle. Okay, so here is the first Chapter One, lifted straight off my journal from last monday and tuesday, traveling from India to Tucson:

Monday April 6 2009

Driving away from Auroville, passing through Palliachavadi. Sign on a derelict building: WHATEVER! Your Friendly Coffee Shop.

More signage: GO SLOW-ACCIDENT ZONE, with a partial road barricade and just beyond, a small billboard at eye level picturing a leg in a cast with 'get well soon' written on it.

A sign that reads: My Town, My Pride, I keep it clean and green. The paint is faded and peeling.

A short row of shops surrounded by a wasteland, stunted scraggly trees. Only one shop is up and running with a wall of glass front doors and shiny new scooters for sale inside.

We pass one billboard after another advertising beach resorts and oceanfront property for sale. Between the signs -stuck on white walls surrounding acres of just dirt and trash- and the ocean is maybe where the resorts were planned to be built? There is nothing in sight but the dirt and the trash. I'm unsettled. It's almost post-apocalyptic.

We pass a sign: "Don't fly on road. Fly abroad." and then pass more impeccably painted and maintained buildings shoulder to shoulder with those in ruin, dilapidated, in various states of disrepair. Also, palm-lined pavement-less promenades that march to the sea - they're empty, but fenced areas and remind me of abandoned movie sets. And school buildings built in featureless concrete the color of the surrounding dirt. The buildings are named Science Block, Computer's like a prison with Cell Blocks.

After all this comes a wave of absurdity: beach resorts with names like ABC's Baywatch and Country Club Jade Resorts featuring hulking buildings circa Star Trek era with whole walls, ten stories high, finished in dark blue tinted glass.

As we enter the city, a sign proclaims that 'Chennai traffic police welcomes you' and there is a strange ray of hope in the next one reading 'National Institution of Empowerment for those with multiple disabilities.'

That's the end of my journal entry into Chennai, there's more to come. Basically I sat in the airport for four hours and spent Rs35 on one single samosa! It was good, but not that good, and it was airport food. (mind you, it was also bigger than street samosas, but the going price for a samosa on the street is about Rs5 each) At least I was out of the intense heat, never to feel the sticky humidity of South India again. I keep marveling at how smooth and unencumbered my skin is now (and marveling at how I've managed yet another leap to an's so NOT humid here, my nose is bleeding).

My Uncle gave me the book I picked up and started reading while enjoying their's Eckarhdt Tolle's newer one (I just royally botched the guy's first name I think) on Awakening to your life's purpose. For me at this point in my elliptical quasi mid life crisis state, it's pretty powerful stuff. Reading it, I'm reminded of similar paradigms and ways of framing (or is that 'phraming', Ricia??) concepts but the way he's presenting it is a way that I can absorb. It's a real mind-bender and challenges us to question pretty much everything we've been taught or lead to believe is true - basically you're waking up to the whole sleepwalk of Ego.

I'm going to read my fluffy detective novel now.


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