House of Refuge

Not far from where I am now

I will be leaving America in exactly 137 days.

Though the reality of it has not quite sunk in yet, there are numerous little signs that half of me is already not here.

The notices that come from the county of proposed tax increases that slide off my consciousness like a summer shower swirling down a drain pipe.  The plans by the association that I live in to improve this or that or the other thing . I shall not be around to witness any of this and therefore they have already become part of some abstract, future disconnect reality.

Or take the slow fade out of the chattering classes, with their mono obssesion with their orange bête, as evidenced by my overnight disinterest in MSNBC’s lineup of talking heads, after years of being glued to cable TV and impotently cursing America’s fondness for endless wars or, say, its twisted idea of personal health insurance legislation. The yawn when I heard about O’Reilly. Little of it means anything to me anymore.

It was quite remarkable, really, especially in its suddenness. I am not sure when I detached.

One minute I was just another angry Floridian driving around with clenched teeth, in a sort vitriolic Ilie Nastase geezer parody — lamenting the days when I was able to get by on my handsome looks and knack for hustling new technology to brain dead pencil pushers — the next my blood pressure drops 30 points and I’m radiating serenity moonbeams.

I really do have to thank The Donald for helping me jump the shark.

Without him, I might not have decided to abandon the country I have lived in for disquieting eons.

Initially, I thought I would move to Nice.

Who doesn’t love Nice?

Where the only crudités I would encounter would be on a vegetable platter.

Nice emblem

Nice’s crest

I even copped a fancy Nissa La Bella URL.

You see, I naively thought that I’d ride out The Donald’s first term, at least until the inevitable impeachment hammer came down.

But then I remembered my trip to Paris last summer.

How astonished I was at the sight of France drifting to Sig Heil land.

The grumbling of the young waiters who were university graduates cleaning tables and not getting enough hours to make ends meet at that.

But I said, no, it would not also happen there.

Again.

And then, as The Donald’s first 100 days unfolded, impeachment no longer seemed so inevitable.

Normalization, or, rather, deculturalization, was in full swing, as Hard Science took a back seat to rubbish science.

Everywhere.

America had suddenly turned into a fulltime open air circus, with a scowling clown leading all the jolly pranksters to the trapeze with no net below to cushion the fall of the millions who will soon no longer have health insurance.

And now, given what happened this week in Paris, Le Pen is a shoo-in for the 2nd round after tomorrow.

It’s inevitable.

Nice beach

Source: Nice Matin

And in a few weeks, much as I hate to admit it, there is an excellent chance that France will become as chest-beatingly nativist as the US and the UK.

I’ve had it with this sort of thing.

J’en ai marre du racisme.

I’m sick of the ones who have all the answers.

The ones who stand on a box and say it’s that way.

The ones who say I can make it all happen for you.

The ones who say, I can explain.

The ones who say, this is the right religion.

This is the right skin color.

This is the right mustard gas.

And so, I am now resolved that my House of Refuge shall be neither Florida nor France. I’d already long ago given up on England, the land of my birth, primarily due to the shrinking Mars bar situation.

Orascom promo poster: check out the Chuck Taylors!

Instead, it shall be…. yes, with my beebles.

In Gouna.

On the Red Sea.

In some little crib, right by the water.

It’s an artificial paradise, for sure, but so what?

Maybe I’ll take up scuba again, now that the toubib has sent me a clearance note after my long-deferred umbilical hernia operation. Maybe I’ll learn how to windsurf and hope I don’t wreck my spine, the one that is no longer as supple as it used to be. Maybe I’ll hang my conscience on a hook, lace up my blue Chuck T.’s, and pretend that what is going on in the world has nothing to do with me anymore.

Maybe I will tell myself that I am finally home, and “safe” in what is essentially, under the efficient tourist glitz, an eremite cocoon, the sort of place where affrangis trash talking Arab ethnicity and culture, burning Korans, or insulting other symbols of Islam, or any other religion for that matter, would surely be an ill-advised move. Maybe it’s simply time to stop feeling like some kind of second class citizen. I’ve really had it with that, mate.

And if the pace of unhurried leisure gets a wee bit dull, or starts to imbue itself with elements of Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, the sophistication of Cairo is only a cheap 4-5 hour bus ride away.

Thus, if were I ever were to crave big city atmosphere, or the Gezira Sporting Club in Zamalek, where I grew up, or felt like going to Wadi Al-Hitan to see the fossilized remains of prehistoric whales, or taking a gander at, say, the magisterial grandeur of the White Desert, all I would have to do is buy a ticket.

Now that’s what I call… nice.

House of Refuge image used with permission
I am the future gif by Ghada Wali,
with a tip of the hat to Alice Cooper
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2 thoughts on “House of Refuge

    • I know. I know. We’ll see. I do have a return ticket, just in case. And if Macron makes it, I may relo to Nice after all, and start the clock ticking on the EU/French CR. We shall see. I know Nice very well, and have been numerous times.

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