So old Mr. Me went down south to see my new house. In this place that would finally totally be mine, I didn’t want doors. I wanted all rooms open. All my life, in my Christian occidental culture, there were doors and those were closed: for security, for morale, for secrets, for paranoia. Doors for the kitchen, for the pen, for the bathrooms, the washrooms, the kids’ rooms, the master bedroom with doors on the closets, doors for the garage, for the safe, for the attic, for the cave. Over time, from the time you’re born a guilty occidental asshole, those physical doors become mental doors, really.
And blinds – what a word! – covering windows, our eyes and spirit full of shit hidden behind closed doors and under the carpet. Even paradise has gates! Why? Because some guys want to escape from there? To keep away intruders? Oh I see, hell starts right outside the gates of paradise. Hell is the others like said Jean-Paul Sartre and that’s why modern man lives shut up behind doors and blinds. We might as well go back to the caverns. Better yet, apparently, with all those doors, we never left it. I’m done with that. In my cavern, they’ll be no more doors.
The good thing is that there was a small guests-house on the property and, if there was to be any guest, they could dispose of a ‘modern’ place, with doors and a shower curtain, right by down a bit away from the garden. But only old Mr. Me and my three mates would be living in my house. So, there, I didn’t want doors anymore. Which was easy for me to decide because I didn’t anticipated to be myself naked all day around the house, other than when I’d sleep or swim. Really, being naked the rest of the time would be an insult for my lady guests – look at old Mr. Me!
It got me thinking. For my future employees, as they interview for the position, no door in a house where their job would be to live in the nude all day long has to give them pause. They’d have to think about it I guess.
So I’d have to explain. No door for the toilets? Shit, I can imagine the quiet pleasure in looking at a woman pissing, that woman being not phased out – we’re living together – and accepting, if only out of routine, the proximity of my presence. It’s true, we’re never more alone than in the toilets. Who knows how anyone wipes his own ass? Standing up? Staying seated? A difference between men and women? Young and old? I don’t know. I only know how I wipe my own ass and, as years went by, I have no certainty about it being the best way. So why not be a bit less alone?
I remember, it was a postcard. I guess my mother received it from a colleague of hers or whatever. Anyway, someone was having a prune cure or something in the Southwest of France. The picture on the postcard depicted, in a great sunny pine cove, a bunch of people all about ready to take a shit. And I mean a bunch: men, women, young, old. All of them were squatting, in the same direction, their pants to their ankles. You could only see them from the back but you could see them all, and there were asses of all kind: men, women, young, old… and there was no doubt about what they were doing, or about to.
The prune effect!
As a human being, isn’t it a thing of beauty to be right there in the wild cleansing yourself? Even with your ass in plain view? Isn’t it what Hindus do when they’re going to the Gange river? Clean themselves? Among those asses on the postcard, I noted some women’s round eyes and I felt something.
I don’t remember, if I ever knew, what my mother’s friend wrote on the back of the card but I remember all those people taking a shit with great eagerness and apparently feeling good about it and obviously not feeling alone in this way.
Now that I think of it, maybe that’s what these people were doing, cleaning themselves: ten days of prune regime once a year and feeling good the rest of the time! “Oh, Johnny, Johnny, what do you do tomorrow?” “I’m going to take a shit in the forest with other people and have a good one, the prune effect.” “Whaow, that’s sounds good.”
Ok this was in the early fifties and, after the war and all this murdering frenzy, people were more liberated than shy with their bodies and glandules. Later Hippies didn’t make the revolution but, for a moment, for a brief instant not seen since innocence, a decent man could have a chance to glance at length at a woman’s body in full.
Since the last of Injuns massacres and the last of slavery and the last of colonies, your usual good old western boy had seen nothing of a woman’s body, but an ankle maybe. Sure kids hardly wear anything during spring break but, quickly enough, the same girls’ bodies will be covered up, the occidental white male pretending that he likes her high heel up in his eyes, then up in his wallet, then up in his ass.
At the end, to see and watch, with time to gaze, the alive body of a pretty (why not) woman, you have to pay. Whores would be more than happy to let anyone look at them in private but whores, no matter how nice they are, are but a glimpse. What do you do next? At the end, you’re really alone. That’s why people need doors: to hide their misery.
And, here it is, I found the house I was looking for. It’s a wooden traditional house, by the ocean. The former owner, some western diplomat I was told, made it a contemporary house, like they say in the magazines. There is all the comfort, Internet, a big screen TV.
I bought it furnished. This was indeed a white diplomat country house. I guess this guy liked the idea to have a summer home, like the kings of lore. It probably made him feel like someone. Well, if I understood correctly, he didn’t spent much time there. I guess the wife and the kids didn’t like it so far out in the country. And who can afford it nowadays? So it was for sale and the real estate guy told me afterward he had troubles finding buyers.
I liked it right away. Not only for what I was planning to do in there but for myself, I was home, at last. I hired a local crew and they understood what I wanted. So I got rid of all the bullshit that this Western motherfucker had paid a motherfucking decorator to install in there. In a way, I uninstalled this house like you junk a Trojan horse out of your system.
So I took down all the posters – James Dean and Charlie Chaplin in the same room? New York with twin towers still standing? I was thinking, what the fuck, did this guy, a diplomat, buy those posters in a garage sale and brought them from America or England? Who could have such a horrible taste? It didn’t matter. I took all the shit and plaster and doors and partition walls down and stripped this house bare. Then, there she was, a shotgun frame house, the interior wood polished by time. Sturdy, solid, elegant, beautiful. I swear, this house talked to me and that’s why I guess I loved it at first sight.
I kept the bay windows though, opening up at will before the sea. I also liked this house’s ability to ever open or close according to the weather. Yes, there are devastating typhoons here, but no more than in New Orleans I figured. Considering the Big Easy’s life style, I had no problem taking chances. So once this place was bare and shiny – in a minimalist Japanese way – I put no decoration, other than few mirrors and flowers from the local market, vases coming from the local market as well.
In fact, after a few typhoons, I understood why this house had its back to the dune. Typhoons were always coming from the Chinese Sea. They’d cross this Southeastern Asia peninsula and then hit the Thailand Sea. The house was looking west, toward the bay. Winds were coming from the East, which was protected by the dune. Later on, not alone, I could literally feel typhoons going over the roof of my home and chasing at sea. I knew people from across the bay would get it full face, full force, again. Then, to the women there with me, I’d talk about New Orleans. And they’d understand. Oz could wait.
That’s why, once settled in my own place, at last, I wouldn’t want anyone having to hide anything anymore. No doors. If you come in, it’s out of free will.
Well, isn’t this a free planet after all, like aliens would say?
I can even imagine, as time would go by, that complicity could happen out of a fair understanding.
The prune effect!
Iconography: Paul Gauguin’s Two Tahitian Women, 1899.