What does this fool do first thing in the morning?
Gets up in a bad mood after tangling with demons all night (the demons are to blame), laboriously squeezes fresh orange juice—health! Health!—then knocks the glass over, soaking tablecloth and floor. Who knew juice could be so sticky?
Steps with the wrong leg into the pants leg and gives the pants a vicious tug and nearly falls on the cold hard bathroom floor. Pants are so negative!
Ready to go to work but has lost (misplaced?) the car keys.
Finds them after a long, tedious search and curses the keys for having taken themselves to a spot under the sofa.
Gets out the door in one piece, actually starts the car, but forgets to put on the seat belt and screams at the buzzer. Trying to put the seat belt on while driving causes the driver in the opposite lane to swerve sharply out of the way and glare.
A respite on the way to work to walk for ten minutes in the open air, sometimes a cure for what ails the fool. A large, but not enormous, well-known boulder in the trail rises up and knocks the fool down on her knees. (The proper position?) Pants legs torn, knees bruised and bleeding, the fool must now go back home to change clothes.
Finally at work, the fool finds an inbox packed with obnoxious ads—ninety-five of them accumulated in 24 hours—for Luscious Russian Beauties and Sure Way to Stay Hard as a Rock.
But then, in the midst of that foulness, an email from a dear friend who has been transcribing and editing and putting together a book of her interviews with Syrian refugees…
She sends me this link to the squats in Athens.
These refugees probably don’t worry about living with fools. They have to live with anyone driven out of a troubled homeland and stranded in Athens for the duration. Have to cook, serve, eat, clean and sleep alongside people who may be distorted by trouble, driven into true madness.
Or, more likely, they may be the saints among us—along with the activists who started and sustain this project.
I live in a house with three empty bedrooms.
I go to a beautiful church enshrining many open spaces.
Perhaps it takes a fool to fly in the face of reason and find a way to offer these spaces to the desperate among us.
Sensible people don’t do that. Sensible people who have extra money give it to projects like a new museum for modern art. Twenty cowboy boots at home in the closet and not even one pair for a homeless man.
How would it be—how could it be?—if all the gigantic houses here, many empty eleven months out of the year, gave their rooms to immigrants?
How would it be—how could it be?—if all houses of worship allowed the homeless to sleep in their hallways and basements during the many hours when nothing else is happening there?
The fool decides to “go on the warpath.” “Be impossible.” “A real b–.”
And see what happens.
[Read Part Two.]