Apr 9, 2005

Woman No. 3

It was late. Everyone yawning.

"And left handed people die sooner than right handed people?" she said to make her point. Incidentally, I'm left handed, and she knows that. The conversation was about biological determinism. "We're just like birds," she went on, talking to her colleague, Barry, who believes that all love is construct. She suspects he's gay by the way. And she went into a long description of women looking for the bird-like red feather in a man, and not just any red feather, but the reddest, deepest hue of red. And that color would signify his ability to break into one her 128 eggs.

"A man just has his sperm, which he's willing to splash out wherever he pleases. It's nothing to him. But we have our eggs."

Barry waved Woman No. 3 aside and went on about how everything he'd ever felt was born out of his family's and society's predelections. "No one can convince me otherwise," he said. "Love is what's taught, not what is felt." Recently, his girl friend arrived from Paris. She wants to get married; he doesn't. He wants her, however he wants her, but not the commitment. Not kids, for sure.

Woman No. 3 had something to say about children as well, but I won't belabor it. "Whenever I go back to Canada," she said. "I just want to leave again. It's too much. My husband, my children, I just want to leave."

She brought out some digestive she'd bought in Italy.

Woman No. 2 by the way is also Canadian. Mary. I took her to Volubilis one day. She loves to Curl; she's on a curling team that curls three times a week in that season. She gets respectable scores; she goes 2nd, which is significant. When she's not curling, she's golfing, or traveling. There's hardly a place she's not been to, a cruise she hasn't taken. She was abused by her only husband 20 years ago. She likes to talk about it. At home, the only other living thing she has is a cat. Not even a plant. We had lunch in the square in Meknes. She asked me questions the way you do with guides. She has spent her life with people leading her around. She doens't like to be alone. She certainly doesn't like to travel abroad without someone at her side.

Woman No. 1 asked me in no uncertain terms to take Woman No. 2 on this adventure. Woman No. 2 is an old Grateful Dead fan. She's a chemistry teacher, and also Canadian. Women No. 3 and No. 1 are very close. They were in American schools together in Maylasia and beyond. Woman No. 1 and No. 2 are also close. I don't know why. Woman No. 3 and No. 2 are not close. They despise each other and sometime I'll tell you about their trip to Marrakech and Merzouga.

But as I say, it was late. Four people in a third story one bedroom apartment, in a small livingroom, big enough for four people, with a fire and a white rug; Miles Davis, a wilting plant, proper lithos and les objets personnelles.

Woman No. 3 is smart. She reads people closely. She is particularly tuned to body language. It is part of her notion of biological determinism. Everything is seduction, fight or flight. But mostly seduction or not. Something caught her mind and she went from anthropology the fact that all these teachers here are losers. She didn't use that word, but that was the word in her mind. There are many good examples to support that argument. Many people here who are lost, who have nowhere else to go. She mentioned several. The psychologist for example, from Boston, who I suspect was done in by The Courage to Heal. By that whole scandal with repressed memory. She's the kind who would have taken on clients and gone along with the fad and then one day been sued. Or forgotten. I could go on about her. You've never met a woman with child who had so little business being a mother. "You want to get rid of him now?" she'll say on the phone after her son has spent the night or been with us for an afternoon. "Shall I come and collect the little savage?" But not said the way you or I might, where the words would be a veneer that you could easily see through, to the love inside. No. See, here, there is no love.

And there are so many other examples.

Woman No. 3 went on. She was pissed that one of the college administrators had called her to account for teaching things not in the curriculum. She'd never been called to account before. "But I'm not like all these other people. These are people with nowhere to go; they have no life. But I can go anywhere I want. I can go to a hundred places; I can go pick up with my family any time I want...."

Morocco is full of contradictions. And it seems everyone who comes here. Weren't we among those people? Didn't she mean us as well?"

B. spoke up. "I don't know what you're saying. But I'm not a loser and I don't count myself among these people you're talking about...." She got up, kissed cheeks, and left.

I stayed on.

(to be continued)

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