The Dignity of Sand Cranes

Sand Cranes outside my house in Florida

Since returning from Portugal, almost two weeks ago, I have been engaged in a ferocious internal debate:  what should I focus my energies on next (other than preparing to move to Portugal next year)?

The choice is ternary:

a) Do nothing; hang out; chill; exercise; lose weight; ignore whatever happens with the coming election and the daily fulminations of the orange asshole and his friends and supporters; or,

b) develop a WP plug-in idea that I had a few months ago, one that I think has realistic commercial promise; or,

c) Write the novel I have been thinking (and talking about endlessly) about since 2005.

The first choice is the easiest.  Gripe about Trump, while spinning around in a state of powerless fury and resentment, and spewing forth the occasional rant in this blog that few will bother reading.

The second, ambitious, but — at age 67 — unlikely to happen, except very slowly, if at all.

There was a time when I was quite good at designing and managing the implementation of large-scale financial database applications; alas, tech is nothing if not a young person’s game, and with my eyesight such as is it is nowadays, and my grasp of modern computer languages and paradigms poor to nonexistent, I take an, er, dim view of the likelihood of accomplishing anything notable in that regard anytime soon, even on a hobby basis.  I was good at it, once, and was well paid for it; but that train left the station a long time ago.

The third choice is more promising (and quite frankly, engaging at an intellectual level) — providing I keep my expectations low, keep at it every day, and allow my imagination to run free of any constraint, to go where it wishes, without any self censorship, which has been a big problem in the past.

While writing a book in one’s dotage is perhaps the most clichéd of all endeavors — I find that I continue to have a great interest in literature;  beyond that, the urge to write has never left me.  I can’t stop doing it, literally.

For example today, as I was bicycling past one of the Sand Crane families that live around my house, I was able for the first time to picture the opening scene for that novel I have been thinking about since those أفيون-filled days, when I hung out in hippie Dahab a decade or so ago, before it fell to commercialization and lost its many charms.

So… the answer is clear.  Read widely, write every day, and stay healthy.  Who knows:  maybe, at last, 2019 will the year that I complete a novel.

Should that miracle happen — the one that in fact no one is holding their breath for — I will make sure I send a signed copy to the good folks of Mizna — who rejected a story of mine this year, making it the third submission in a row that they tossed in the trash bin.

My memory is quite long about such things, and I will show them could be a great motivator, except that, at my age, such a sentiment would be unseemly.

Besides, there are a lot of things that need to be talked about through the medium of fiction… horrible things, for sure, undignified for sure, scandalous no doubt, at least to a person holding a stereotypical American or Arab/Egyptian frame of reference, yet insistent on being expressed nonetheless, instead of being swept under the magic carpet of neocon bombast and fascist suppression of whatever stripe.

Let’s see what happens.


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taewila gouna brochure

Tawila is an Arabic adjective that means tall.  In this form, the gender definition is feminine, as signified by the vowel ending. So let me tell you a few tall yarns, just for the hell of it.

Today began badly: no internet service, again.
I figured it was time to pay the bill, so decided to go to Abu Tig to the Orange Office there and do so.
But first, I had to sweep the villa clean.
It has been windy for the last day or so, and there’s been sand everywhere.
It got cold, too — again.
Last night Sandy the desert cat slept with me. Tommy was bothering her again, and whenever that happens, she yowls.
I am her protector.
So I let her in, and we slept with the TV on, but then I let her out around 3AM so she wouldn’t crap or pee in the villa.
This morning, as I was sweeping the designer brick front steps, I had to chase Tommy away by throwing a glass of water at him.
Then, after calling the Orange TV Triple Play help line to alert them about the Internet situation, I went to Abu Tig marina.
To do this, I had to deal with the Gouna microbus fiasco, which I will not describe here: it is too comically inept to even get into, other than to mention that I was almost nailed while getting into the Marina Line bus by a pair of pliers that fell down from the roof of one of these no-suspension contraptions. It had slipped out of the hands of a bus driver who was perched atop the roof of the adjacent West Golf line bus (the drivers park them in a slender as Red Sea rainbow sardines row in the dusty parking lot that’s in front of the Budget taxi and limo service office) and attempting to rig together a fan gizmo that was seriously falling apart.
At the Orange office in Abu Tig, I had to wait for some old German guy to decide on a TV/Internet plan. The crux of the matter was that he was staying 3 months and 4 days, and Orange only offers monthly plans (in 30-day serial increments, beginning anytime during the month.) or 3 month plans, etc, but not a plan geared specifically to this old coot’s stay.
So this guy spends at least 25 minutes trying to convince the desk clerk to let him buy a plan that matches the exact length of his stay, as I sat on my hands waiting.
Finally, I had enough. I said, can I pay my bill while you step aside and decide what you want to do?
The German asshole ignored this. You know the type: old, slow, rigid, overtanned, with in-shape but weird girlyman-looking, slimly athletic legs (he was wearing cargoes) for his age, and determined to get what he wants by being as obnoxious as possible. I turned on a dime into the taweel Luca Brasi of Gouna, and punched the Nazi fag shithead in the face. As he lied in a pool of blood gurgling out of his ugly old German mouth, I calmly paid the bill and left.
Okay, so none of that actually happened: I waited for the old coot to leave, then I paid the bill.
What is it about old turds that makes them oblivious that others exist in the universe?
I took the joke bus back. But first I had to wait for it by the hot dog stand in Basin 1 in Abut Tig. There, I was easy prey for all the tuc tuc shitheads who kept circling around and around right in front of me as I waited.
Finally the bus appeared, and when it was less than 20 feet away, another tuc tuc shit head appeared and made an abrupt (and dangerous) U-turn right in front of the oncoming bus, slowed down just so in front of me, and said in that annoying assholean way of theirs, tuc tuc?
So I punched him in the face, too, then kicked him in his lib-lib nuts for good measure. As he writhed on the street, also with blood gurgling out of his mouth (just like the Kraut), I stepped over him, got into his white Uber tuc-tuc, and drove home.
Okay so none of that happened either, but it could have. I certainly thought it.

Now for the good news.
With the weather warming up, I’m planning on taking a trip out to Tawila island.
Because of Operation Sinai, rumor has it the Egyptian navy is shooting at any zodiac that tries to head from here toward that often-contested peninsula — after all, Sharm is only 45 minutes by fast boat.
All I know is that I need a break from being trapped in this villa, even if it means only seeing only one island instead of three ( there are five in all that run parallel to the coastline of El Gouna: two are off limits for military reasons, and three that are usually accessible to the public).
When it finally became beautiful again today, I realized I had that I need to work out my frustrated writer hostilities by doing something other than trying to at least figure out the plot of my game-changing Gouna novel, that being the tallest tale of them all.

Expect gorgeous pics around Sunday or Monday, weather permitting.
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