outwait outrun outwit


an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
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09.25.07, tuesday midnight

Four years ago I worked three days for a retired electric company secretary and former anti-war activist.

Moh made you wait. You waited through long lectures on the state of the world. You waited for his sentences to finish, for he would wind on and on, with deep emphatic pauses between each word. You even waited to leave, as he would expound on the very exciting future of his enlightenment center and library at each of the three, arcanely locked doors between him and freedom.

As Moh snoozed away in a big leather EZ chair, I steadily catalogued, according to height, a motley collection of poetry, leftist pamphlets, radical histories, New Age psychology texts, astrological paperbacks, self-help books etc. I also had to read books on self-assertiveness, use a calender system that Moh had invented, and call "Ed" if I wanted to speak to him (whereupon Ed would leave a note in a rented mailbox and Moh would respond within five minutes).

Vintage posters of anti-war demos and Che Guevara, Angela Davis, and other radicals hung on the walls of that large, cluttered room. As the hours trickled away with my youth, the sunlight retreated and everything would seep a grey, cold pallor--the books, the ugly office furniture, the posters, Moh, even me.

I've always intended to write a story about Moh, but I had to leave the States to understand him (a little).


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