Tonight, on my way to another lung-blackening adventure in Cairo, I noticed a new pile of dirt on my street. I thought to myself, “Huh, that’s a new pile of dirt.” In spite of the Ramadan craziness that ensued in the Hussein area of Cairo (think: Rockefeller center at Christmas but without squishy coats) and throughout the hours of sheesha-sitting, I couldn’t stop thinking about the pile of dirt. Something about it resonated with me.“This,” I thought, “Is what true inspiration feels like.” As the night passed, I kept reminding myself that I must take a picture of it, to keep and to hold.
Hours later I arrived back at my apartment, switched the air conditioning on, threw off half my clothes and suddenly realized I hadn’t taken a picture of the pile of dirt. My innards began to swim in turmoil. Do I let the moment pass, or do I try to seize the pile of dirt handful by handful (so to speak) and leave my apartment at 2 am in the morning to capture it on film? I think we all know what happened. The pile of dirt inspired the following.
Dear Piles of Dirt International, Inc.:
I see you delivered the pile of dirt I requested. I appreciate your patience with my order since my fax machine was broken for some time and kept on sending all of my piles of dirt requests to Toys “R” Us headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey. Apparently there is a hot new toy for city kids called “Pile O’Dirt” so there was quite a bit of confusion on both ends. I am glad to see that one request finally made it through to you, though I do have a few notes on your manner and timing of delivery.
First of all, I requested this pile of dirt almost two months ago. It was supposed to be a belated engagement present for my sister since she is in Physician’s Assistant school and one of her activities is “reconnecting with sterilized nature indoors.” Through practice, the future P.A.s learn how to simultaneously sympathize with and look down upon people visiting their Wal-mart Clinics who are involved in agriculture. The dirt she is required to purchase and then sit in can be very expensive, so I thought I would shoulder some of the financial burden by providing it for her at a reduced cost. I just want her marriage to succeed. This brings me to my next point.
She is not studying to become a Physician’s Assistant in Doqqi, Cairo. She is in Oklahoma, USA. In fact, she lives a five minute walk away from your main office. I am puzzled, therefore, as to why the pile of dirt has arrived in here in Egypt. The form clearly stated the recipient of the dirt and her location. I even specified that it was to be carefully placed in the newly installed dirt-holding hut at her home. I don’t even recall writing my address or location on the form, though I was experimenting with a different kind of Egyptian peanut butter that night so it’s difficult to remember exactly what happened. Perhaps that has something to do with all the “Pile O’Dirts” I’ve gotten as well. Moving on.
Even had I wanted the pile of dirt for myself, the style of delivery was completely unacceptable. Your workers, supposedly the best in the field, had apparently indulged in Egyptian liquor before the requested midnight delivery. By the way, the one thing your company got correct was the surreptitious delivery at a bizarre time. Nevertheless, because their stupor or extreme ineptitude, they mistakenly deposited the entire pile of dirt outside a coffee shop where anyone could just up and take it. Not only will your workers likely be afflicted by blindness because of the Egyptian alcohol, but the pile of dirt is blocking a total of two cars, the owners of which are likely blinded by rage.
The last and perhaps most important point is that the sterility of the pile of dirt is completely ruined. That is actual litter in the photo. God knows what else has crept into it by now. Even were my sister be present, it would be completely useless for her exercise unless she wanted to better understand feral animals. Needless to say, I would like the pile of dirt removed and placed in front of our landlord’s car, a full refund, and a voucher for two free piles of dirt in the future.
Thank you for your time,
P.S. I will be writing an unfavorable review for you on Angie’s List, noting that there were sizable rocks included in the pile of dirt when I specifically requested only small to medium pebbles.