Saturday, April 26, 2014
Mike's Story Part 7: South of the Border
By Jenna Orkin
The morning of July 12, 2006, Carolyn Baker called. "Are you sitting down?"
"Yes." Then I did.
"Mike's in Venezuela. He got there this morning.”
Email to Mike, August, 2006:
when carolyn told me where you were, i was shocked but not surprised. you had left a trail of breadcrumbs: the line, "there are few things that could make me think of leaving this country but the loss of internet independence is one of them." i knew from the very denial that you were thinking of leaving this country. it was a snap to figure out where you would go; you'd mentioned it at petrocollapse [the first Peak Oil conference in New York City, which I'd moderated) in october.
but there was no way i could have known this was all happening at that moment.
i cried "no" nine times. (a pesky sense of rhythm keeps track of such things.) i thought that even if you survived (as you obviously had) you were saying, "i'm making a new life, turning my attentions elsewhere." [That was indeed what he was saying.]
she described your final days here. i was with you in your garden of gethsemane (on your porch with michael and carolyn, complete with wine.) [Despite the ironic turn, I now cringe to read the groupie-like idolatry of this. And it gets worse...]
i cried for three days, the chorus in this greek drama. the hero acts. the chorus moans, "woe. oi weh." would your life be an orson wells movie in which you play the joseph cotton role in a panama hat, pursued down nightmare alleys?
would i see you again? would you think of me in the past tense? [Yup. Sure would.]
she said that you had said, 'i want you to think of me as dead."
having passed thru the valley of the shadow of death you have been reborn on a brave new continent. the ultimate calvinian tumble down the hill, tada!
you will thrive there. you will finally be appreciated by the powers that be and financially secure.
you may want a child.
fantasy: in a few years i come to venezuela. your wife refers to me as 'esa mujer.' i sing the fishy song with your child. (boom boom diddun daddun wannum - choo.) your wife and i bond.
the fourth day i threw up all day on an empty stomach and thought, "so this is the origin of the word 'wretched.'" i have never before thrown up for emotional reasons, not even during the 17 months my father was dying of a brain tumor.
the gods of vomit were not appeased by my exertions; they wanted work product so i drank some tea which helped...
I adjusted to Mike’s being on another continent - one I’d never been to - particularly after Carolyn, his liaison at the time to his past life, said that once he got settled, he planned to make a place for his closest circle.
I oriented myself to moving there too, by brushing up my self-taught Spanish. Learning a foreign language was a more familiar task than trying to build a house out of grass (a pastiche of the sort of advice that was given to people worried about Peak Oil.) I watched Spanish-language soap operas and religious programs as well as a stream of Surreal movies in the tradition of Don Quixote, El Greco and Dali.
Mike’s leap into the unknown seemed an act of either the greatest courage or nuttiness. I didn’t know him well enough to understand the impulse but trusted that he knew what he was doing. It wasn't so crazy for him as it would have been for anyone else to think the Chavez government would welcome him. Within a couple of weeks, he had a radio interview with Chavez advisor Eva Golinger. However, there were more things in Heaven and certainly earth than were dreamt of in his philosophy...