A fire roars in the captain’s quarters
I could do an obligatory post about returning to Egypt and re-falling in love with Cairo, but I saw a bare-assed man taking a dump this morning while walking back to my apartment, so I decided to delete that chapter of my return story.
Instead, I will tell a dark tale of hardware and how the fates conspired to make an Arabic student computer-less for an entire four days. This is my story. Some details have been altered to make it more interesting.
The Captain’s Log
“I’m pretty sure I left my converter at my apartment in Cairo.” I thought to myself while steering the Seamstress down a canal in Amsterdam. “Why would I take it to America? I don’t need it there.”
“Drevets!” the skipper yelled, “Let’s rope it up! Them tourists gettin’ more annoying by the second. I cain’t stand them much longer.”
“Right-O, skipper.” I said, “We’re here anyways. The pancake girls will be down soon with our snacks and then we can eat and get out of here. You know, I’ve got a lot on my mind nowadays, what with the winds and the endless darkness. Say, do ever remember me mentioning a converter, like for electronics?”
“No ma’am, captain. I ain’t never seen nothin’ of the sort.”
“Okay. Thanks, skipper. Well I guess we should get a move on, shouldn’t we.”
Later that evening, as I rested in the captain’s quarters at the Hilton Hotel Amsterdam, nursing a glass of whiskey with the hotel dog curled at my feet, the converter still occupied my mind. What had I done with it? Could I have left it in America?
My computer’s battery was not going to last long. I had already used it to help navigate the canals, since the last time I sailed those waterways was thirty years and a universe ago. Those were different times back then, different dreams. I sighed and took a sip of whisky. It was a long time ago.
I boarded the captain’s plane the next day feeling hopeful. I was, after all, a rational person. I was a ship captain, for God’s sake! They don’t just give anyone these puffy captain’s bloomers and special caps. The converter was in my captain’s apartment back in Cairo. It had to be. I was sure of it. My computer was functionally dead by now, and the prospect of a delayed revival chilled me to the bone, more threatening than the winter winds of Amsterdam.
I arrived in Cairo, was enveloped by its cloud and dusty musk. Taxi-ing across the city towards my captain’s apartment, I waited and hoped.
The taxi stopped. Five flights of stairs were climbed. A door was opened. Another door was opened. A light switch was turned on. A converter was not found.
It is not here.
It is not here.
It is not here.
The words echoed in my mind’s blackness.
I saw but did not see. I heard but did not hear. My computer stared at me, mute, a dumb beast. A light flashed on the router, the internet’s waves flowing through me. Yet I was cut off from the life blood. I exhaled slowly. “ ‘Captain’s Log: Return to Cairo’ will have to wait,” I said to myself, and I was completely alone.
Postscript: I bought a converter a few days later and it cost less than one dollar so I fully expect it to blow up and/or melt but, on the other hand, I have internet. Sweet, sweet internet.