wisdom is not a commodity

January 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

Jha was out of work, but he had an idea about how to make some money. He went and gathered some shit. He rolled it into little morsels and then rolled them in selu (a powdery sweet made of ground wheat, nuts, and honey). He went to the suq and began screaming, “Seeds of understanding, seeds of understanding!” A man came up to him and sampled one. At first he tasted the sweetness of the selu, but then he tasted what was underneath. “This is shit!” he exclaimed. “Well,” said Jha, “You’ve begun to understand!”. So the client gains sagacity from the transaction, but not in the way he anticipated.

Even if I could have found a more succinct anecdote, I prefer this one, a Moroccan tale from the markets of Beni Mellel. I’ve been hitting up every corner store for life’s little necessities, but try as I might, I can’t buy my way into peace in this solitude. But maybe with time the peculiarities of Résidence Sofia (the wet towel that slaps against my window as my upstairs neighbor shakes it out, the morning Qur’an readings floating from the neighborhood mosque, and even Driss) will find a special place in when I think about my time here.

On Thursday I squeezed into a grand taxi with 6 men, Hay Salam bound. I got out at the post office and met up with my friend Robert to check out his new apartment and new neighborhood. The next day, I was bombarded by French conversations first as I met up with my friend Meryem and secondly on the train ride back to Kenitra with my friend Ilias. I had hung around the train station for 3 hours waiting to meet up with Meryem, the girl with a works-every-time smile and a taste for cappuccinos. We talked about our respective research projects, and pledged to help each other make progress. The first step is the hardest. For me, that will involve buying a tape recorder for my interviews. We are planning on going to Casablanca sometime next week, where the largest bibliotechque in the country awaits our academic inquiries. And oh yea, there’s a Zara in Casablanca.  Evening had already fallen when I made my way back to Kenitra, and by a happy chance, my friend Ilias was also heading that way. He offered to show me the beach in Kenitra Sunday morning. I don’t have much of interest to talk about from today, except that I am now a cardholder at Golden Gym, a building whose pinkness attempts to make all who behold it time warped to Malibu. The interior paint is a much less confrontational, though the mirrored weight room accented with green and blue stripes does call for a headache. The machines are much more modern than I have experienced at the Ass Club and the other gym in Rabat (also called Golden Gym). However, it is a little awkward when the cleaning ladies sit on the unused machines and stare at you and offer the occasional tip.

Sorry this is one of those Abbas-Netanyahu discussion posts, it says very little that’s worthwhile. Oh the self-loathing involved in the creative process. No one is immune. When I clean up a little, maybe I’ll post some pictures of the apartment.

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