Moscow, Russia

March, 2012

I always thought of myself as the type of person who would give the government the finger if I felt it needed a good, um, fingering. Stephen Harper*, the weaselly-eyed quick-fingered feet-shuffler he was, made a good target for my romantically imagined protests against the “man.” Common scenarios included Harper trying to shake my hand or incite a rousing round of Oh Canada while I victoriously snub him with an inappropriate worker’s fist on the left and a right middle finger combo. Bush, Howard, and whatever pig-fuckery (in British, swine-copulant) they had around at the time in 10 Downing also were regular targets for sporadic (yet, honestly, justifiable) rage, but less often, because of the imagined possibility of being sent to Git’mo for having an actual Afghan visa in my passport.**

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Bethlehem, Palestinian Authority

January, 2011

Israel was starting to get annoying. Substituting a wide brush for a semi-wide with a focused tip, it would probably be slightly safer to specify that the old city of Jerusalem, and the people who visit and inhabit the old city Jerusalem, were starting to get annoying. The post-medieval-rustic(?) charm of its labyrinthine corrosion was wearing as thin as our sanity after being confronted with a somewhat-constant barrage of unappreciated-and-unwelcome proselytization attempts, unapologetic accusations of collusion and conspiracy, or unabashedly condescending and confrontative glares that combined made you feel less like a human being, and more like a fleshy afterlife-assurance conduit, big brother’s right arm, or a semi-developed primate respectively.

The reader is forthwith asked to create an interpretation of who-did-what based on their own personal/cultural bias, and subsequently adopt an appropriate level of offence felt before continuing on. In the same vein, since this is indeed a story about the “Holy” Land, I offer the following trigger warnings to those (in)sensitive to the realities of the Middle East.

Trigger Warning: Religion, Profanity, Humor, Bullshit, The Void that is the Afterlife

I’ve digressed from the start. And this is not a story of annoyance (as the Jerusalem story will most likely be), but one of wonder… with only slight to moderate amounts of annoyance near the end. Foreshadowing.

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