Monday, 16 July 2012

Chapter 22

Will you be so kind and start from chapter 1 if you are a first time visitor? Atta boy/girl!

Chapter @@ (22) : Gypsies

Summer was there for good and the thermometer showed constantly above 35 celcious degrees, the occasional wind felt as if somebody was blow-drying you and Mr BooHoo was suffocating. Why is it that people find it hard to breath in heat-waves? Once, on a train he had met a woman that had lived for a few years in Egypt and she said that when she first got off the airplane she felt that she was suffocating. Then she got used to it.

The heat was intolerable. He tried to start his day as earlier as possible but it seamed pretty futile as it was terribly hot even at dawn. Especially during the early afternoon hours, when the sun splashed on the tiny apartment it required some effort to stay awake. Mr BooHoo was very similar to animals when it got so hot. He felt drowsy and lifeless. Staying by the sea and swimming all the time was the only way he could tolerate summer. Now he only worked once per week outside the house but he would feel guilty to take money from their limited budget, leave his partner and dog behind and go on vacation. Thus they only went swimming on weekends, a thing he had always considered a not so good idea because, well, everyone went swimming on weekends.

Living in the capital of the country meant that at the majority of beaches even putting your feet in the water was too risky. Pollution was a huge issue. One beach that was almost decent was the one near his hometown. It has already been mentioned that Mr BooHoo went very sheldon to swim as a youngster. This was because this beach was considered to be polluted as well until a few years back. (This would be the time to go through a few conspiracy theories but I will avoid it). Now that shore had a blue flag that confirmed the suitability for swimming and also it supported wild life, urchins, seaweed, small fish, jellyfish (one attacked his partner the previous week and made his left wrist full of tiny blisters) etc. It also smelled all right and looked ok. The water was clear unless it blew towards the wrong direction because then the sand rose form the bottom and made it less transparent. Further on, it took only an hour to get there, so in general it was a good choice for a small swimming excursion.

So, I.the dog, the partner and Mr BooHoo got into their nice old car that, unlike the contemporary car design that has an uncanny resemblance to toy cars found in chocolate eggs, was big and angular an they set off for the sea. Everything looked fine, they had small sandwiches and fruit, water and books, bathing suits and towels (Mr BooHoo belonged to a sci-fi sect, the members of which are unaware of each other, with a general belief that one should always have a towel handy and that, also, one's life could be less unsuccessful if he knew his or her towel's whereabouts). All they needed was a nice thick shade.

They arrived at the beach earlier than usually but no shade was available. Mr BooHoo started cursing at the idiotic aspiring fishermen that instead of going a few kilometres further on to do their fishing they kept spreading wild hooks on the beach, where the only thing they would probably catch was somebody's bottom. The water was too shallow for fish, there, anyway. Bloody buggers! Eventually they found a nice not so crowded and hook-free spot under a tree and they declared it theirs. I.the dog seemed to take it up on her to keep intruders away and the rest of the people that were already there to behave. Next to them was a charming little family of gypsies. They never got a good look at the purple-clad mother's face, as she was constantly taking a nap on a thin carpet. The father was dark and bearded and he was obviously enjoying life as he was playing with his three pre-school rascals in the water, making a very good impression to Mr BooHoo who wondered if his father had ever had such a good time with him and his sister. When they got out of the water he dried his sons' heads with a thick towel. He seemed to have a perfect mixture of concern and recklessness so as to raise perfectly healthy children.

More gypsies arrived, calling each-other cousins, with more children of various ages. They spread another thin carpet behind Mr BooHoo and with a couple of pillows they formed a nice impromptu outdoor living room. Although from that point on it became much less interesting for the dog, that turned into a rather pissed-off bitch with the new arrivals and had to be restrained, it became considerably more interested for our little hero.

Mr BooHoo always felt all right around gypsies, except for one time and even then it was his fault. Of course he had avoided having his palm read a few times and refused to buy stolen flowers a few more, but this doesn't really count, does it now? At primary school he had a few gypsy classmates but they dropped out after a couple years. He remembered that he got along fine with them. They did not hung around together during recess, but then again no one hanged around with him either. They even stood on his side a couple of times when he was being bullied. Once he had been the accidental receiver of a large spit from one of them. The real target ducked just in time but the spitter seemed sincerely sorry for having spitted on the little Mr. Mr BooHoo did not mind it that much. He was mostly sorry that the actual offender had not been spit upon. 

The people on the beach were just as kind. Women were a little reserved at first but then they also talked to him. One of the men said that the dog would be great for hunting hedgehogs and then a woman said that they tasted great and gave an extended description of  how to cook them. You skin them with a knife and remove their intestines, then add your spices and then cook them on a stick on a fire. All other manners of cooking are also ok. Another said she thought this food was disgusting. Their friendliness made Mr BooHoo feel like a dork. He felt he did not know how to behave and that he was pretentious. Although generalizing is wrong, he felt that he had never before seen such an immediate reaction to kindness. What a smile these people have! He was reading so much literature on social disobedience and had been thinking for so long of himself as a well-mannered Parias and suddenly he was among people that had always been living in the margins of the western society, that he felt it caused all his troubles and confusion, and still they survived without it, assimilated some of its parts and kept their own ways for others. Could he ever fit in such a community? Being a weirdo there would be different from being a weirdo in his own environment? Was he such a big idiot so as not to understand that he was a true breed of the civilization he was trying to reject (a very lukewarm rejection that is). These people knew how to survive. He liked hedgehogs and was against hunting. Well, they did not seem to get all their food from the supermarket. They ate hedgehogs, too. Thoreau claimed to have eaten a rat. He supposed that when it comes down to your food, killing it is a vary respectable choice. And he kept thinking. Another time on another train he had become acquainted with another very charming gypsy. They talked and eventually that person suggested that he cancelled all other pre-fixed plans about his life and that he went on to sell watermelons in an open truck. Mr BooHoo never forgot about this alternative and often wondered about this life-style. 

His day was turning out pretty awesome. He got into the sea again and swam for some time. Then he lied backwards and let himself float with his ears in the water. All he could see was the bright blue atmosphere and hear almost nothing. Is there a kind of yoga or meditation one can practice in the sea? If not they should make one. Le-vi-ta-tion. He hoped that this could be a day that he could look back to when feeling sad. And he hoped than when he did that he would not think of himself as merely "easily amused".             

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