August 5th, 2013

London

(no subject)

I wake up in the night and I don't know where the bathroom is. There's a white price and a girl price and an it's-not-coal-mining price. If you do not see the sticker, that doesn't make it free. (If you didn't pay, you are probably the product). That is why law school costs so much, because living the life of 2.5 kids in your split-level and 2.5 cars in your garage and that nice gym membership where you can go and stay a little longer than you really should, just so you can take a fucking shower alone without a child who whines and wants, living that life is expensive. It should be. Pay cash.

I do not pay cash. I wake up in the night and I don't know where the bathroom is. City by city I locate places to pee, learning which hotels do not care who walks through their lobby with authority, tipping big at the coffee shop on the first few days so that later my espresso-in-a-to-go-cup-please can jump the line when I need it. I can pee in New York, in Cape Town, in Mumbai where ladies do not pee outside their homes (the pleats are hard to re-pleat alone in a stall). But I wake up in the night and I don't know where the bathroom is.

There is always a price. The boyfriend with the don't-ask-don't-tell policy doesn't ask and doesn't tell. The hot fun circus guy has a partner who notices where he sleeps, and so I sleep alone. I get my own room, my own space, my own time, and the price is being alone. Clients fly me to Dubai; on per diem, I buy a falafel at the food court and wonder if the Filipina behind the counter knows where her passport is. I drop dirhans in the tip cup. I pay for her indenture. I tell myself I am not indentured. I wake up in the night and I don't know where the bathroom is.

The price of competency is being in charge. Power costs guilt with every exercise. The wideness of the world is filled with silence, silence listening while I write, say, say, I am probably not OK. I wake up in the morning and for fourteen hours in heat and rain and dirt I thank my lucky stars for work, for work I love. Work I think I still love. I pare the dirt from under my nails, I wash the tuffskin from my hands, clean the glue from my eyelashes, fall into bed with exhaustion or someone new or both. I wake up in the night and I don't know where the bathroom is.


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