Saturday, November 12, 2005

the bad tourist (an interlude)

There's an acute resistance, a refusal to allow yourself to become fully immersed in the culture of our adopted home. Two weeks in Tangier, and each day I'm met with a refusal to leave the resort. Can I blame you for preferring the feel of your sneaks on the cool marble floor to the feel of your bare feet in the hot sand? The ease of conversing with Americans over the embarrassment of displaying your lack of finesse with Arabic? The consumption of hot dogs over cous cous? Yes, I can, and do, blame you. Like wearing a wetsuit in the bathtub, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I guess you just prefer to stay dry at any cost.

Transplanted. Like the transferring of a sensitive plant to a new home, we had to pack you in the dirt you were familiar with so as not to have you die of shock. And here you are in a breakfast nook in a five start Moroccan resort, eating Doritos and chugging an imported American beer. You just sit there looking out the window, day after day, watching the girls on the beach saunter by in their skimpy bikinis. Not even they could bait you. I know, we tried.

Approaching, I watch your arm muscles ripple with one more hoist of the bottle. Easy now. Choose your words carefully. A tat crawls up the side of your neck, flames licking with every gulp. "Where'd you get your work done?" I pull up the chair, opposite. Confident.

I'm met with a look. That look. That same look I've been given for the past thirteen days. It was easy for the guys at HQ to take one look at you and make assumptions. He'll be easy, they said. A guy like that, a real pit-bull, doesn't argue. They thought you were stupid. They were wrong.


"Pardon me?"

"Vegas. That's where I get all my work done."

"Ah, I see - well, it all looks really good, um-"

"I won't be goin' anywhere today."


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