90 days left.
It is getting down to the wire.
Can an Internet meme be my salvation?
Outside the world is burning. Everyone has theories about everything.
Everyone is obsessed about Donald Trump.
Nobody is able to move off his tweets.
And so they gab about him endlessly.
#1: Because a vulgarian whom alt-right trolls moronically associate with some bogus deity named KEK now has unfettered access to nuclear codes and can vaporize the world in one unhinged moment.
#2: Because this little man (tip of the hat to JK Rowling) can continue to menace the planet by bringing down The Glory That Was Rome, piece by piece, like some sort of latter-day Caligula.
Meanwhile, the bombings and slaughterhouse occupations continue. As do the terrorist counter attacks. We are paying for the ineffectuality of our politicians and the undue influence that continues to be exerted more than ever by The Donald’s shrinking 38 per cent. Vietnam lives on, somewhere else, but no different.
The inanity all around is endless. Neologisms like weaponized are weaponized. Irony becomes a contact sport, and fabrication and coded innuendo a cover for combover racism. High school humor passes for clever. The rage and hopelessness of jobless Americans is turned into fodder for neo-Nazis and right wing clowns.
* * *
I want out.
I’ve had enough. I’m tired of being fucked with. As a true wannabe, I want to be unfuckwithable, even tho I don’t have fuck you money, so don’t have to worry about being busted in, say, the Panama Papers, as happened to young Vishen of above vid fame.
Who doesn’t want to be unfuckwithable? It’s a dream comne true; not the you won’t have Nixon to kick around any more sore loser variety, but as sort of new agey, I am open to the world and my heart will sing with joy at the music of the spheres but don’t think, and I’m paraphrasing just a tad here, for a minute that I’m going to let any of you fuckers fuck with me any fucking day of the week from now on so fuck off any of you fuckfaces who try to rain on my fucking parade.
Or something like that.
Besides, I am too old for this shit now; I just don’t want to be part of it anymore.
And so, in exactly 90 days, I am leaving the United States.
I am truly sorry there is so much hate and injustice in the world (insert all the usual hand wringing platitudes here), but it’s not my problem at this point.
I have done everything I can (I will spare you the list of goodie works: in the end, they amounted to a hill of beans), including, in my own microscopic way, supporting Obama’s election campaign in hostile territory.
He ended up talking about extending the hand of peace to Moslems while simultaneously bombing the shit out of them, and darkening their skies with ubiquitous drones.
I am sure he thought he had good reasons for doing this. I think he had better, more sophisticated options: but he never asked me what to do (even though we have actually corresponded: I wrote to him; and he wrote back a personalized letter in long hand).
So I will take the easy way out.
I will tell myself: I didn’t cause any of this; and I can’t fix it.
* * *
Besides, let’s get real: no one is looking to me for answers.
I am not a wealthy man. I do NOT hold some sort of position that gives me some sort of illusory power. I am old, and no one under 40 really cares one way or another what I think about anything. I know; lolsob, right?
Look at this blog.
Who reads it?
Few; tho I immensely value those who do. Or is it, that I value them immensely? This sort of agonizing is precisely why I am not a published novelist.
There is great freedom in the anonymity of a failed life, of not being responsible, of not having hordes of “followers,” of not being noticed. Mister Cellophane, just like the song in Chicago. A favorite.
* * *
I already know Egypt is not a real option, unless one thing happens (this shall be the subject of one of those “future posts”).
Barring such a miracle, the country, and the few friends and family I still have there are too damaged after 60+ years of army rule.
I understand why there is always a dictatorship in Egypt.
But I shall not be ruled by one.
I am not going to trade one fascist for another.
Everyone nowadays is noticing how similar America is becoming to Egypt.
I noticed this a decade ago, and wrote about it, indirectly, in some of the movie reviews I was writing for a popular UK film site at the time, but it was like pissing in the wind.
I was the unemployed loser guy with no influence, even back then, who saw much of this coming, and was powerless to stop any of it.
There is small comfort in being right about such things.
Besides, I lucked out.
I still have (some) money.
Therefore, I have options.
I actually believe in Macron, as I once did in Obama. I particularly liked the don’t-fuck-with-moi handshake he gave the orange psychopath; and I hope his ideas will help improve the French economy, while giving real opportunities to the disenfranchised.
And so, it’s going to be Nissa La Bella, which happens to be an alternate URL for this site (https://nissalabel.la).
I cannot in good conscience live permanently in Gouna in a make-believe world and pretend I am not dismayed about what is going on in that once beautiful country where everyone I knew had beautiful manners and where the present was not so beautiful perhaps but still a thousand times better than anywhere else.
That would turn me into a complete hypocrite.
Besides, it’s bloody hot there 6 months out of the year, and I am not talking Florida hot: I am talking boiling desert hot.
The question re the South of France becomes a matter of money.
I would love to live in Paris and do the bohemian flaneur thing, perhaps having wild affairs with exotic French women on the Left Bank that I meet while sipping absinthe in various louche cafés on Boul’Mich. But at my age, I am not going to live in a sordid 20m2 sardine can off La Pigalle and pay 1200 euros a month for the privilege. No, no, no: I don’t Doo-wop no moh.
* * *
So Nice it is. The neighborhood I plan to live in is the Quartier Liberation. It’s cheaper than the so-called Golden Quarter, where the Italian Mafiosos and uppity Parisians retirees live, but still lovely, if you find a place with double glass windows.
It should be possible to get a T3 for 1000 euros/month in one of those nice “bourgeois” style buildings I like so much.
It also has a fresh open air market, and is far away from the tourists on Rue de France.
And given the tram system, it is easy (and cheap) to go downtown to the Prom, by my beloved Mediterranean.
Or go to the port, and take a ferry to Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily…
The train station is within walking distance.
I could easily hop on the Marseilles line that can take me cheaply (thanks to my being over 60) to places in Languedoc, where there is much yet for me to see.
The real question is the mechanics of health insurance.
It is expensive to have private health insurance, even in France, as you get older; about 4000 euros for a couple in good health in their 60s.
This is “laughably” cheap by American standards, but is still a cost to consider.
Why pay it if there is a better way?
I have figured out a legal way for my wife and I to participate in the French national health system at little cost.
This is the advantage of knowing French well, having a UK/EU passport (as well as my American one), and the ability and patience to study dense, complex official documents in French (I knew going to a Lycée was going to be useful one day!).
Buhleev me, it’s so “simple,” I can’t believe more people don’t do this. Then again, I don’t believe much nowadays.
So here’s the current plan, with all due deference to all and any snickering gods.
September 5th, my wife and I leave the US.
Go to Nice, enjoy the sights, & scour Quartier Liberation for digs.
Sept 17th, “the wife” returns to the US.
I go on to Gouna.
See friends and family, keep my nose out of politics, enjoy the sights, take some snaps, and ignore the many assholes I am sure to come across.
It’s what it is over there; and I am not going to change it: my moment in the sun to be the second coming of Che Guevara is long over, alas.
In the meantime, my wife shall be in the States, taking care of the machinery of things we have to do here: pay property taxes (hopefully for the last time!), association dues (for the privilege of living amongst a bunch of racist white geezers who think Donald is just the greatest), pay expensive insurance on the house (for all those increasingly ferocious hurricanes that The Donald does not think global warming has anything to do with), close the house for the winter, and various and sundry other doodahs that I will not bore you with here.
Mid November, I return to Nice, rent a flat, and meet up with my wife.
This will now be way off-season, when it starts to get colder and rainier, and landlords do not have as many potential renter options to choose from, so it might be possible to snag a choice apartment that has my requirements: top floor, elevator building, terrace or balcony on a pleasant street, 850 square feet or thereabouts of living space, 1 bedroom, central heating, gas stoves in a modern kitchen, tall windows, and no chop chop railroad vibe. We did this in Manhattan in the 80s; not going back to that now.
By this time, I will have enjoyed 2 solid months away from zee toxicity of American politics.
I shall officially start the clock ticking by having the French douaniers stamp my UK passport when I return from Egypt.
Since I give Brexit and the impeachment of Donald Trump about 2 years to happen, this will be the time frame I plan to “temporarily” reside in France – unless the US goes off the rails, in which case all bets are off, and I simply remain in France, and become a sort of permanent “refugee,” should my papers pass, er, mustard, and Macron lets the expat Brits stay: much will be revealed on Thursday, after the UK election in that regard. And while I am on the subject of England, my birthplace, hats off to Sadiq Khan, for all the usual liberal reasons. If he refuses to shake hands with the clown, on a planned state visit that I hope will humiliate the orange megalomaniac, Khan will join the pantheon of heroes on this blog in a primo Numero Uno spot!
But I digress, an expression most often used by boring old protofucks just like me; hence, the strikethrough.
There is too much poison in the US for any sane person to live here nowadays, unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Even my true home, Manhattan, has become infested with right-wing crazies, more so than I even realized back when I lived there (for decades!), and worked on Wall Street, by definition, as conservative and money-obsessed a locale as you will find, including Frankfurt or London.
To paraphrase Clark Gable dgaffing in Gona with the Wind, frankly, I don’t give really a damn any more what the fuck happens here.
Not any more.
It’s time, at long last, to be unf*ckwithable.
Bonus content: Here is one place I found on Rue de France for under a thousand euros, five minutes walk to the Med. Nice big place too, but way too loud and touristy. You will never get a wink of sleep here. Rue de France used to be lined with French hookers in knee high shiny leather boots, back in the day! Now look at it.