I had it all worked out: crawl up the stairs, have a nice one-to-one with walker, and then go in the bathroom with a rag in my mouth to muffle the screams. If it got too bad, i reasoned, i could stick my foot under the faucet or in the toilet to rinse off the iodine. Everything proceeded as planned and all the precautions usually taken for 19th century amputations were observed... swig from the bottle, puff from the cigarette, swig from the bottle, puff from the cigarette... repeat until cigarette is finished.
I wish i had a picture of me in the bathroom in the aftermath of all this... me on the floor with a half empty bottle of walker and a small bottle of iodine at my side, rag stuffed in my mouth, trying to find a way to flush the toilet quickly in case i needed a rush of water on the lower leg. I tensed up and applied the iodine, immediately flushing the toilet out of reflex... but nothing happened. I thought, 'am i too shitfaced to feel anything?' Maybe. I put more iodine on the wound, enough so that it ran down my leg in a wet coppery line. Nothing. No screams, no pain, no neighbors thinking there's a murder in progress down at jamison's place. I could vaguely read on the bottle that what i had wasn't pure iodine... it was specially formulated not to make people scream. I almost cried. I'm SUCH a pussy.
So today, to pamper myself in light of all the psychological trauma of yesterday's bathroom scene, i decided i'd spend all day lurking around the palace. The iodine-whatever works quite well and i can walk again... it looks like i just turned 5 tricks in a row when i walk, but hey i'm not complaining. The palace is a magnificent place, in one of the few quiet areas of phnom penh surrounded by tall trees (shade!) and surrounded by endless ornamental gardens manicured to perfection, it's where you can chill out next to a solid gold life-size buddha and stare at thousands upon thousands of diamonds glittering from every corner... floors made of pure silver... gems shafted into every available bit of wallspace. Like versailles on crack. Anyway, en route to the palace i stumbled upon the french cultural center. It's a big leafy AIR-CONDITIONED compound and every inch of the place just screams, 'ARTFAGS WELCOME-ARTFAGS WELCOME-ARTFAGS WELCOME.' So i went in.
There were black and white photographs taken from trains in cambodia... i've seen the same things in color with my own eyes, but it looks so foreign in black and white. Anyway, to avoid going on and on about the orgasmic qualities of black and white, i'll just say they were amazing photos. Walls of em. The couch was an artistic creation of bamboo shaped to form a naga... divine serpent, guardian of heaven in khmer folklore. The library was stocked with malreaux and verlaine and artbooks of all persuasions. I sat on the naga (which i am SO stealing when i get a place of my own) and began to read a magazine on how fabulous it would have been if segolene had won the presidency. I agree only because she's hot. Anyway, as i'm reading two young men joined me on the naga and we began to chat a bit. Both are uni students who spend their free time at the center, one from algeria and the other from senegal. Their accents are amusing... the guy from senegal has very hard T's and unusually drawn-out O's and Ou's while the algerian has very hissy H's. Dunno what the deal is with mr dakar, but algiers has an arabic accent and it's fucking SEXY.
Algiers and i made a date for tonight coming straight outta the 8th grade... we're going to see a movie. Something german apparently... i forget the title.
I walked out of the french center in a daze and paused to light a cigarette on the sidewalk while moto and tuk-tuk drivers offered me rides one after the other, as motorcycles sped by and schoolgirls in pressed white blouses and navy blue dresses giggled and as dust coated my from head to foot once again. The flame touched the end of the cig and i thought, 'wait, did that just happen?' That just by chance and sitting on a mythical creature of a couch that i just bumped into a guy who can quote rimbaud (my fav) and actually understands what i mean when i ask how he feels being in the 'colonies?' Who knows which empire i'm referring to when i say The Empire? Like it's still there?
I walked down the street and straight past the palace... i'll go some other time, because today i've got all the grandeur i need. I'm charmed.