An Immigrant's Journal
(aka: Freedom Takes Discipline)
Eve escaped New York when they began the fear experiments during the gULF wAR under the regime of bUSH the fIRST. They continued the horror movie under bUSH the sECOND, after a brief cLINTON commercial break. And Eve swore to not touch American soil until it was purified by the tears of remembrance for a dream of peace, fredom and happiness for ALL. But the newest suffering of veterans and distant victims made their tears the blinding kind. What you can’t see, you won’t believe but Eve had seen enough to break her faith and her pride for the U.S. of A.
Eve used to love her country of birth. She even contemplated enlisting in the National Reserve Guards at some point but her peace-love side revised the thought and came up with joining the Natural Reserves Guardians. She applied and received a post at Bryce Canyon in Utah. But Eve was a red-head and often changing her destiny as an experiment, she ended up giving into her teenhood ambitions and went to art school.
Nothingness. The moment between hits and highs. Eveything is okay, not great but not terrible either. Just another Limbo Bimbo.
Eve burned an amber-scented candle in her room. The cats outside were in rut, scrowling in the shadows. Winter seemed tired, drained of sharpness, and Spring was not ready. Is this living between climates changing neutralizing our torments into insipid grey streams of half-breathed air?
Eve observed the human-shaped dinosaurs and decided she was not going to let herself let them. In whatever way she could expose their selfish ambitions, she would graffiti, curse, commentate, share her rage at the constant wasting of her new-loved land. She would not let it happen again. She saw it happening. Was it too late?
Mallorca was a resourceful Mediterranean island full of peasants and seething with a cornucopia of seasonal celebrations. Mallorcans were self-sufficient as island folk can be: joyous/hot-blooded/hard-headed as the occasion requires. But then came the cold grim tourist.
Full of burdens to unload.
Uptightness. Low pay. High inflation. Rain year-round. Trip to the woolied sheep and verdant hills once a spring-time. Then grind, grind, grind. For what? Paper clips, an appropriate tie, four disconnected kids to care for.
Here everyone could play out their posh fantasies: Daddy got to play cards and drink in the afternoon. Mommy got to swim 15 laps and get a manicure in before souvenir shopping. And the Snots were untouchables, keeping the hotel crew running for their meager seasonal pay. So the grim tourists fell in love and brought their grim existences to the island of the goddess.
Like a woman, this land is a treasure chest of hidden surprises and rich promises. A tour around the island takes a few hours but knowing it takes a lifetime. Lady Mallorca is fat and full of heart and strings and horns. The Tramuntana range rears up as a warning to not try to ride this cow. Just pay for her to go to pasture and mate. Once her babies have drunken her sacred nectar then, maybe, she’ll start to negotiate the leftover milk with you.
Eve has let on too much already. Stop. Don’t come. She wants to be the last immigrant. She wants to keep it whole in honor of that dream childhood that was wild and time was free and all were awed by the extreme demanding beauty of the land. As a girl, Eve mistook that particular dimension for the whole reality show. She was sure everyone in the world was Mallorcan, or at least wanted and strived to be such. But, no, it was not the way out there. She yearned and prayed and manoeuvered to return for good.
Finally, at the chi-filled age of 31, she did. And never looked back.
Mallorca is hard as the omnipresent grey-white-red rock that has helped build thousands or even a few million terrace walls. Stepping across the terraces are the vegetated feet of the gods. Sweat from these awesome stalkers is called olive oil as in “O, live!” The locals call it the elixir of life. They live old here.
But locals they are not. Being local is their becoming. Most of all Mallorcans are ship-wrecked, treasure-seeking, situation-thrust aliens. Their ‘spanish origins’ range from historical immigrants from the south of Spain all the way to northern Catalunya. Then there are the jews on the run from the inquisition, to Moor babies turning more Mallorcan with every passing generation, to pirate spawn surviving on the fast and low trade of thieving forgotten treasures. Later came the French orange and perfume traders, the German and Swedish luxury refugees laying low in cheaper luxuries, and the English numbing the safe grounds. Meanwhile, the Russians are sniffing out the fresh prey, the Chinese suction-cup web expands within, and the Americans are ready to regulate while the Belgians buy out land for Saudi investors.
Mallorca is gorging on homo-diversity and the rampant artists are sucking honey straight from the royal antechamber of Europe.
Eve has got lice. Since fucking August. That was one of the worst months of her good life. The heat was penetrating. The whole other side of the family was everywhere in the house. The lovely young ones galvanized the elders into healthy outdoor activity but there was that deep gagging cough that was going chronic. And there was the show to put on: loads of artists- all women, all amateurs, all accomplished.
The morning of the show, he strangled Eve twice by mistake.
They hear arguments like this every Sunday across the orange grove when the taxi driver stays home. Him, the obese son, the very unhappy wife and the elegant big black & thin dog shout, scream, bellow and bark for care and attention.
Now that she lives here, she has come to dread August. Now, she understands why her father dreaded them. On top of working and having the family visits, August was the only time of year when things were really hopping. Parties, events, beach clubbing, dinners, reunions, hangovers and stoned resolutions to change the world again.
Meanwhile, they all grew up and grew old. They became legend, another row on the millenary olive terraces, while a new growth gets their chance in the sun.
Mallorca takes her time to choose you even after you’ve fully embraced her. Ten years is considered an adequate trial period. Meanwhile, the homework of your immigrant children is in Catalan, they speak Mallorcan and you realize that slowly you have managed to learn the three requisite languages of the area, including Castellano (calling it ‘Spanish’ would be considered an insult.) This is how it works over the years: you see each other at the market, at the playground, the shops, during the annual village fairs, at church on Easter and dancing with the devils on St. Anthony’s day. You lose a dog- meet and speak to more ‘locals’, travel hidden paths, learn the philosophy of the work horse. You stroll with your baby- advice and wistfulness flow from the older ladies. You walk into the mechanic’s shop- no one stops to attend you. One year later, with your first baby steps in Catalan, you come back in, holler “Uep!” and all heads shed their “what-do-you-want-and-let’s-see-you-try-to-get-it” masks. The treasure chest loosens its locks. Doorways became entryways to multi-leveled worlds.
Mallorca decides on you when she feels you are ready.
So, what was Eve going to do about the wasting of Mallorca and what right did she have anyway to try and do so?
Walk more. Talk more Catalan. Drink orange juice everyday from the trees on her property. Distribute the rest. Release the healing and all-worshipping images of her deceased father. March. Inform and get informed. Flush her toilet less. Boycott the megacorps taking over the mami and papi shops. Befriend the critical.
Exchange: knowledge, art, car motors, ski trips, a crib, some shutters painted. Everything is on the table in this land of illegal need and plenty. The garbageman is now the mayor, and will probably retire with his cokebag nice and full. The medecine merchant has his nicotine patches. The doctor grows his own herb. The policeman is coming off a night on ecstasy, but willing and able to solder cementary stones for poor artists. But the insurance agent isn’t going anywhere, his wife has moored him to the dining room table. Someone knows where the kids are and everyone else is busy dancing.
“Paradise if you can stand it.” Commented Gertrude Stein when she visited.