Michelle Obama and I have the same problem today- what to pack for our respective trips overseas. I doubt that we have the same solution though. In The Warren tomorrow the sewing machine comes out and half a dozen outfits will be customised to deal with all eventualities in Fes. Remembering that age certainly diminishes one’s sexuality but not one’s femininity, I will be basing my outfits (I always travel with outfits) around maxi skirts and tops with sleeves, all on a theme of black and white, mix and match with a red shawl and flowers for when I feel less Sufi.
I am in almost daily contact with Mo, who is awaiting my arrival with what seems like youthful excitement. He sends his missives snail mail, as he is not one for modern technology. I’m glad as it means he will not be reading this. He’s filled in the years that we’ve been apart. He’s been a widower for fifteen of them and has four grown up children and eight grandchildren. He has a flat over the shop in the Medina in Fes and a farmhouse a few miles outside the city walls. I have been raking my memory for snippits of recollection of our time together when we were young. I have to be careful as I know we create our own back story. I do seem to remember transcendental sex and the fact that he would talk to me, channelling Rumi, while making love, which I found deeply erotic. I was so young and inexperienced at the time I didn’t realise what an unusual occurrence this was and when I hit my feminist stride our paths diverged and I went off to South America to learn about the limitations of non transcendent lovemaking and a lot more besides. Mo returned to run his father’s apothecary shop. We kept loosely in touch via mutual friends. Now we are going to meet up again, just in time to save me from the Big Itch, I hope.
In case you are wondering, I’ve had this itch at the back of my head for about four years now, and have had it checked out by a kinaesiologist, who says that it is ’caused by a miasm from several generations ago’. This doesn’t help to soothe the itch itself but I bet Mo has something that will sort it out, if only his internet aversion.
I blame the Internet for the ongoing problem of my itch because I googled it and found it to be a very common problem in today’s world. It’s apparently caused by Morgellons and is a mysterious condition that affects tens of thousands worldwide. Since finding out about it , it has of course got worse. It feels as if there is something under the skin that is trying to get out. According to the Internet even Joni Mitchell has it. She is quoted as thinking ‘that it seems like it’s from outer space’.
Now I could go down the hysterical route and join the other internet browsers in building this up into a terrorist disease that will work its way quietly through the system until it blows up one of my organs. Or I could switch off my computer and give myself a good talking to about this being a new cunning outbreak of the mild OCD that I’ve been host to since adolescence. I think I will choose the latter.
The world is full of new and rather frightening experiences on the look out for metaphors to express themselves through. This is the Nano/Alien image- A metaphor for our time, working through the system like the virus it is. The mind is a powerful tool and will create extraordinarily potent problems if one lets it. I have every faith that something in Mo’s apothecary jars will soothe my itch. In the meantime I will wear cotton gloves that prevent me from reaching up and worrying the lesions. Or I will as soon as I can find some. Until I can, sewing my travel outfits should keep my fingers occupied.