The day started out pretty decent enough. The dust was sluggish. The surveillance blimp looked especially crisp and white in the sky. Then Paul from Massachusetts showed up at the hotel, and I was suddenly facing close contact with another American.
Paul claims to have fought with the mujahideen against the Soviets back in 1988. He wrote a book about it, of course. Now he’s back, desperately seeking Osama Bin Laden so that he can end the war and force the withdrawal of American troops. It confirms some nagging suspicions I had formed some weeks prior, based on my brief contact with a French intelligence agent, that the foreigners in Afghanistan are predominantly out of their goddamned minds.
So it started. I would be trying to drink my tea and watch my Afghan Idol, and there he was, juicing our Afghan counterparts in the hotel for book material, ruining my evenings with some cockamamie political theories about nothing in particular. On the very first conversation he pissed German off so much that he started calling Paul Karzai after that. I couldn’t tell exactly what they were saying, because it was all in German, but somehow the obnoxious undercurrent transcended the barriers of language.
I looked up Paul’s book; it was listed on amazon for $119 USD. I calculated the cost at an approximate charge of 50 cents per page. I initially wanted to go all jihad on his ass, but eventually settled down into a moderately irritated complacency.
In unrelated news, Linny, my Indonesian coworker and carpool-mate, has contracted typhoid. “The good news is, I’m not contagious,” Linny said, “Unless you eat my feces.”