The Ghosts of Dedap Road – 1

22 03 2009

“Tell me the scary story again, Ravia!”
“Which one?”
“The one about the suns.”
“When the sun came up in Singapore today he split himself in two as he has done every day since time began. ”
“He did that just today?”
“Yes, Margaret, he has done it every day since time began.”
“But Ravia, how do you know the sun is a he?”
“These things are known.”
“So why did he split himself in two?”
“You must be patient and I will tell you. He becomes two suns, one dark and one light so he can rule over the two universes. The first universe is a place of dark misery and everyone who walks that lonely world would rather be in our bright happy world. That’s why sometimes things happen we can’t explain. The people of the other universe are trying to come through. We must not be afraid when this happens. We must simply go about our daily lives. They will cry out in the darkness and we must not acknowledge them. They will move things and break things and tempt us with paradise. But you must listen to what I say, Margaret. If you ever acknowledge their existence they will have you. They will take your place in this world and you will be doomed to walk the desolate plains forever under the dark sun.”
“Is it really true?”
“Yes, it is just as I say.”
“How do you know?”
“My mama told me.”
I thought about that for a moment.
“Yes, Greta?”
“Why would God make people live in a place like that dark universe?”
“It exists for us Margaret. It is there to show us how wonderful our living world is and to remind us to appreciate all we have on this earth.”

I was sound asleep when I awoke to the sound of breaking glass. Was I dreaming? The house was still and dark when I opened my eyes. My older sister slept in the twin bed across the room. I could hear her steady breathing.
“Sadie!” I whispered “Sadie, are you awake?” She moaned in her sleep and turned over. I pulled the covers up over my head and strained to listen for other sounds in the house. My whole body was rigid with fear.I should sit up, I thought. I should get up and see what that sound is. Was that footsteps? There was a creak on the stairs. I froze and held my breath. Who was in the house? Were they going to murder us in our sleep? My heart beat fast as I lay under the covers. I couldn’t hold my breath any longer and I let it out in a long sigh. There was a click and a whir as the air conditioner kicked in. Good, I thought, then whoever it is wont hear me breathing and they wont come in here. But the sounds were gone. I let myself breathe again slowly in the safety of my blanket cave, hyper-alert to every settling noise of the house.  Eventually, the fear dissolved into troubled sleep.


Earth below us

14 10 2008

The storm clouds have been gathering in the Broom and TG household and this afternoon, hurricane force winds made landfall. The past six months have been constant chaos, moving, changing plans, changing again, moving again…and we’ve each been handling the stress in our own way. But today the last straw fell onto the wagon load and we both just snapped. We’ve had fights before, but this time it felt serious. Like a realization that we’re dealing with forces way bigger than we are and we’re not in control of the outcome. Just before we fought, I was running an errand at the grocery store and on the way home, I was suddenly overcome with a strong wave of homesickness and as that bittersweet sadness crept in, I realized that I didn’t even know precisely what I was homesick for. Where is home? I’ve been moving around for so long now, I miss the idea of home more than any actual home. I’ve gotten used to getting used to things, and I crave familiarity.

Broom and I have talked about this before, how we’ve been trying to find a country where we both feel at home and that will also accept us as a couple. And in our search over the past few years, we’ve both felt a little homeless. So we always told each other that our home is with each other. That’s where we find the small bit of familiarity that comforts us. But lately I’ve been so ill I’ve disappeared into myself to recover and couldn’t be that home for Broom and Broom has been so stressed she’s withdrawn and couldn’t be that home for me. The solid ground we thought we had, fell out from under us and both of us seemed to realize it at exactly the same time. It was a free fall. I’m sorry to say that I did not react well (a dented packing box can attest to that, where I kicked it really hard–twice).

Broom and I managed to find our footing again, but we’re both a little worse for the wear. As I read Broom’s account of what happened today I find it ironic that such desolate loneliness struck us both at exactly the same time as though we felt it from each other. I guess we must be soul mates even when hundred mile an hour winds threaten to tear us apart…

Chapter 1: rogue trader

9 03 2008

On my list of things everyone should try at least once: Become a millionaire. You never really appreciate the value of things that aren’t money until you’ve done so. Let me warn you however that being a millionaire isn’t as easy as it looks. If you haven’t been schooled in the physics of money, then you wont understand that all that cash comes with a giddy sense of power that you must keep in check. Haven’t you ever wondered why lottery winners don’t become enduring icons in our society the likes of branson, rockefeller, mittal, and madonna ? It is a well known fact that lottery winners often lose their fortunes within months or even weeks of gaining them. You may say, well that wouldn’t be me. I would be smart. I would put all my money in no fee mutual funds and bonds. Or I would keep my money in a safety deposit box and only spend what I earn. I would say to you, then, why have you bothered to become a millionaire? I learned the hard way, after making and losing my first and only million that the key to having money is not in how you keep it, but in how you spend it.

It was the late 90’s and Bill Clinton was presiding over a booming US economy and celebrating his bountiful presidency with torrid afternoon trysts in the oval office. Investors were just beginning to realize that this thing called the world wide web had the potential to make them very very rich. By 1999 all you had to do was add dot-com to your business name to get an investment infusion of millions. managed to sell billions of dollars worth of junk bonds to the public even though the company said it wouldn’t be profitable for the foreseeable future. The staggering amounts of money were too much of a temptation even for wise business strategists. Business leaders began leaning towards short-term gains in order to survive in what appeared to be a rapidly expanding new economy. Everyone was culpable. It was groupthink on a massive global scale. A few wise voices tried to caution the public that this trend could not last, but they were dismissed and told by the headlines that we had created a new type of economy where the old rules didn’t apply.

I, of course, did not understand all this back then. In fact, I didn’t even consider or analyze a fraction of it. I was someone who had been practically plucked off the streets and placed into a technological role in which I’d had no previous experience or education. To be honest, no one, then had any experience with this stuff. It was all so new that experience was not as highly prized as intellect. If you had the ability to learn new things and adapt quickly in a chaotic environment, that was good enough. It was in this environment that my whole life took a detour from which I would never return. It was an unusually sunny day on a downtown street in a city we’ll just call Pacifica for now. I walked into the lobby of a rather shabby-looking building across the street from junkie-row and next door to a condemned hotel. This was the headquarters of a little online retail company that would eventually become one of the most famous brands in the dot-com industry and one of the few companies that would survive the bust and I was here for an interview on that bright september morning in the fall of 1997.

A promise

2 03 2008

I was contemplating today the great mass of wrenching seismic divides that we struggle across every single day in a life where we are increasingly educated about our global neighbors, our religious family members, our rich and poor co-workers. Don’t worry. That’s not what this blog is about. I was just looking for a way to transition into the background for the birth of this blog. It came to me unbidden while I was traversing the fabricated fault-line created by Doris Salcedo in her Shibboleth exhibit at the tate modern. At first I thought the exhibit was underwhelming. But when I got close, I couldn’t resist leaping across that pseudo-crevasse like an eight year old forbidden to cross a no trespassing sign. And then i leapt back again, and back again and back again. Soon there was a whole gaggle of children behind me leaping effortlessly across their social divides in spurts of giggles and childish screeching. I wake up every day with a hundred stories running through my head. I’ve decided to put them down here and I’ll make you a promise, readers. Everything here is true. True, that is, except maybe some fictional names, facts or whole stories. Maybe when I’m eighty (a clue! I’m not 80 yet!) I will categorize every post into one of three categories: true, fiction, some true/some fiction. Until then, assume everything you read is true in the tallest sense of the word.