The quarter life crisis of a half Slovak half Lebanese girl. 33 percent gorgeous, 33 percent intelligent, 33 percent kind, one percent in need of tender hugs, 100 percent lost. Part 1.
She had received 8 plastic trolls so far. The trolls had come too fast for her. Especially the last four. Sometimes they had come in pairs. All very cute. One baking a cake. One bringing flowers. An adorable couple. The old and wise troll tribal leader. One carrying a heart. She had been glad when for a while no more trolls came. Lots of other gifts and surprises, but no trolls. Now it had been so long that she started being curious when he would put the 9th troll in her hand. If she received the 10th troll they would be together for the rest of their lives. She and her almost boyfriend. Her de facto boyfriend. Her unofficial pending offical boyfriendhood boyfriend. The guy she said could make her happy, but… There was always a but. A bad but. She had a breathtakingly beautiful butt. But that was a whole other matter. Anyway, the deal was clear. If he gave her the 10th plastic troll figurine they would be together forever, share a life, possibly have kids, build compatible interests, networks, material comfort, etc, the whole shebang. She kept the trolls on her desk at work, a renowned financial institution, for a while, until she went on short trip and decided they deserved a spot in her apartment. Her colleagues had been drueling over her desk for long enough, peering at all the gifts, notes, post-its, candy, all dreaming of one day receiving the same exclusive romantic treatment.
She looked at the package of food in the passenger seat. She was driving criss-cross across town and wasn’t sure if she was going the right way. Well, she was going the right way since the Bratislava castle got closer, but she need to get to the Parliament. A couple hundred activists were camping there. They were camping in the large park along the Danube as well, that’s where they slept, but during the day the most outspoken ones gathered in front of the Parliament. She had mixed feelings about them. On the one hand she supported their drive for a better world, on the other hand she felt embarrassed that they weren’t building ‘real’ careers for themselves. Yes, the economic situation had gotten out of hand. The gap between rich and poor was ever widening. Business for private yachts builders had been good over the years, perhaps too good. And healthcare, wages, public schools and public housing, anything public in fact had suffered, but wasn’t there such a thing as personal responsibility? She was allergic to the nanny state, to people feeling entitled and unwilling to work hard. Were these people investing their energy in a positive way? She couldn’t answer this question. What she did know was that she didn’t want to see them go hungry. She didn’t want to join their ranks. Just imagine her father spotting her on television protesting for left-wing social policies. The only things she whole-heartedly supported were their liberal views on LGBT rights, religious tolerance, justice, anti-corruption, etc. To what extent the state should finance things was a wholly other matter. She abhorred laziness.
The last conversation with her father was still buzzing in her head. Not enough money. Not a path to buy an apartment in the ‘noble’ part of Bratislava in two years. Three promotions in a short time, yes, but she wasn’t getting closer to serious wealth. Not fast enough anyway. Even though her father was practically a synonym to unbearable stomach cramps he had a point there. Even her ‘very reluctantly tolerated provisional sorta boyfriend’ – the troll dude, the guy she jokingly referred to as her stalker – had agreed with the monetary axioms of her father. A job is just that: Just Over Broke. Serious money didn’t come through jobs.
So when she finally reached the camp of the activists, this long expected world wide rebirth of Occupy Wallstreet, she was considering if she could launch some sort of business. Or if she should move to the US, where a job would at least make her more money than a job here in Bratislava. One path to wealth she had crosses out unequivocally was the golddigger strategy. She would not marry a guy for his money. She was going to be rich, but it would be her money, not someone else’s. If the friendly activists, all of them smiling, some of them barefoot, all greeting them as though they were little angels, flapping books by Noam Chomsky instead of wings, she felt very out of place. If she were rich now she would instantly organize a daily soup kitchen for these beautiful, well-meaning souls. She doubted they would accomplish much. And it certainly wouldn’t look good on a CV. ‘Six months camping in front of the Slovak Parliament. I excel at yelling we need a higher minimum wage.’ She handed out the pasta she couldn’t eat herself. It wasn’t gluten free. The neo-hippies wolfed it all down as though they hadn’t eaten in days. They were neo-hippies, except that most of the guys had short hair and ‘hipster’ facial hair, and their slogan seemed to have gone from ‘make love not war’ to ‘make tea not war’.
Her ‘very reluctantly tolerated provisional sorta boyfriend’ or ‘male partner with boyfriend approval pending’ or how the fuck else would you call a boyfriend who’s not your boyfriend but for all practical purposes behaves like one? De facto boyfriend? For the sake of brevity, her de facto boyfriend used to work for a communist party in Belgium. The only succesful one they have over there. Yes, the first country to reap the benefits of the industrial revolution, in the wake of England had more than one communist party. Life keeps surprising. He should be here. He liked this sort of thing. But as an observer. As an armchair sociologist. A wanna be yuppie with a lot of sympathy for the masses, the working poor. He wrote articles about the movement on his site. He wasn’t too hopeful about the impact they could have. Their political programme didn’t go much beyond the old ‘tax the rich’ chant. He’d visited twice and he hadn’t met anyone who had read ‘Bullshit jobs’ by David Graeber. None had heard of Peter Joseph and a resource based economy and – this was unfair to expect since his books existed only in German – Rainer Mausfeld. Some knew Bernie Sanders, but without much details. They did wave their Noam Chomsky books. ‘Who rules the world?’. There was no Richard Wolf. And some seemed to confuse expanding and consolidating LGBT rights for fixing the economy. ‘A confused do gooder lot embracing the identity of a kind of social justice warrior that knows Twitter better than the factory floor’. His ex-communist, Stalinist colleagues would have called him ‘trotskyte’ for this remark. He expected activists to be too radical, too radical to effect a new world order because they wanted to go too fast. Since he didn’t like any trotskytes and read a bit more books by entrepreneurs than by communist ideologues the ‘wanna be yuppie with sympathy for the working poor’ label suited him better. Anyway, he wasn’t running around in her head 24/7 because of his economic views. He was stuck in her head, because he made her feel like the most important woman in the world. And because she saw in his eyes that she truly was THE woman.
She stayed with the activists for precisely 14 minutes. If you met Djamila you knew one thing for sure, it wouldn’t be long before you saw her back. One moment in her garden of passion fruit and then ‘jalla jalla’, go go go. Typical Aries one might say. If one believes in astrology, she was the quintessential Aries woman. Fiery. Fast. Irresistible. Direct. No time to waste. A sense of urgency in everything she did.
She has a laser session scheduled. To burn off the fur. Permanently. And then she had to drive her drunk brother home. President of an IT-company. Photographer of naked women. Needless to say he wasn’t even aware that there were activists camping in front of public buildings. On the way back home she would stop in Roseville (Ruzinov) to blitzkiss and blitzhug her de facto boyfriend. Roseville, of all spots in Bratislava certainly the only one with a romantic name. It used to be the part of town for upperclass communists. Nomen klatura, to label it with anti-commy slang. She would give and tank her guerilla affection. For five minutes tops. She was bracing herself for the mixed feelings of his drunk smile, the smile someone smiles when he wants to wrap you in an invisible all nurturing, all protective cloak. As much addictive as it was scary. What do you call it when bliss and terror mix? Love? Is that it?
When she got in her car, a guy with too many piercings to count asked her if she was going to join the big protest on Saturday. She said she wouldn’t be in Bratislava at the weekend. She would be visiting her mother. A astonishingly sweet, caring lady, single sort of divorcee in the autumn of her life. She got a painful twitch in her chest. At least the needling pain of the laser treatment of her thighs, pubes, etc would take her mind off all that.
Her mother was de facto devorced, but not officially.
And she was de facto in a relationship, but not officially.
And it was scary, but also kinda trippy delirous fun.
If she was honest and put her burning hatred for all men aside, she felt alive.
(to be continued, I don’t know how many episodes it will take to finish this story)
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction.