Down the Blue Hole

On the coast of the Sinai peninsula, in a small town of Dahab hides a mysterious azure hole, a submarine sinkhole, enveloped by a few cliffs and a desert. Welcome to Blue Hole, a scuba diver’s favorite diving spot. What a nice way to spend a short vacation, a spring break, a real exotic escape!   Easy Entry, a handmade sign swings in the wind.  Sunny salty breeze blowing from the Red Sea uplifts your entire existence. It’s probably mild Zephyr gently rubs the sunlight on your body and soul. Adventure time with a happy company by your side. The depths of the Read Sea is calling upon you.  If you look past the Blue Hole, past the sunny horizon you see infinite vistas opening in front your eyes. It can be anything, just anything, whatever you imagine, all the sunny promises, like young buds waiting to be open just for you.  But if you look aside and up to the cliffs, all vistas end up abruptly. An eerie feeling creeps in. There up on the cliffs you’ll find hand-made signs, embedded into lifeless rocks,  reminders of what happens to young adventurous divers diving to locate that Blue Hole Arch, that mysterious hole.  Welcome to Blue Hole,  Easy Entry
Breaching the surface with scuba feels magic because you leave the mundane world above you and you let go of everything carnal, and existential and trivial. It’s like going to cosmos only upside down. You descend slowly slowly, producing an ujjayi breathing, a yogi-like breathing and enter the gates of coral kingdom. There you are lullabied by sea creatures, their colors are so bright, almost too bright and acidic, the colors  you could only imagine when listening to Pink Floyd and getting really high. You can digress from the known course, allowed by Padi manuals, and descend even deeper , by gently clinging to a giant turtle which will drag you down, outraged by your nonchalant behavior…
I don’t know how long I’d been descending down the hole. I could feel the hole stretching and growing and adjusting to me so that I could keep navigating it and exploring its infinite  depth, its space… In a way I needed the whole and the whole needed me.
 After a hurricane of dramatic events of my NYC life, after the explosive end of my last corporate job and other sour things in the department of heart and love, I found myself in a quiet place in Scarsdale, wanting to crawl outta my skin, wanting to not wanting to be me any more.
You may wonder how on earth I’d ended up in Scarsdale! It was almost accidental that my young friend’s mom kindly offered a free stay at their spacious half-empty house in exchange for taking care of their standard poodle. That act of kindness was coming from the fact that I’d bonded with Mitch, a young kid interested in learning Russian language. How on earth I pulled it off,  giving private lessons for over a year is still a mystery. I guess I attribute it to Mitchel’s being super smart and all.
 Living rent-free, I had to assume new responsibilities, like cooking for the family and taking care of a four-year old standard poodle named Roxie. I’d learned making blintz from scratch – thin and crusty on the sides; I’d improvised with various soup recipies, and grilling and marinating meats, and making seductive medium-rare steaks and chicken with gold crusty skin, and baking salmon and adding and mixing spice ardently. Good food is always comforting.
Up on the top floor where my suburban silent room was I’d hear that loud bang coming out from my lungs in full force, choking me, paralyzing me with fear : Yea, it sucks to be you. I heard that voice. Your problems scare the shit out of people. It sucks to face and deal with your impasse and myriad problems looming like tall skyscrapers, obstructing clear bright open views and the horizon. Shut up, I’d scream out of my lungs, trying to subdue to curb that dam voice. To prevent that voice from attacking me I’d cover myself with pink sheets and and go completely Netflix with my iPad. There I’d spend hours with Pam and Dwight and Michael Scott from the Office.
Outdoors, I felt much butter with the dog and bike running and biking miles and miles away from the suburban home. Roxie started loving me more after quality runs and walks outdoor.  She loved running long distance and we bonded alright. She was the only creature who understood me, the creature I could confide with and allow my weakness and tears to  pour out of me.
Back in the house my problems seemed unrelatable, unnecessary and heavy. Mitchell’s dad was particularly squeamish about my problems.
“Alex, you where’s my New Yorker?” he used to articulate and stress every syllable with particular annoyance. And where’s my Weekender?”
It was understandable, New Yorka didn’t write about that kind of stuff – about legal aliens’ work visa being revoked and legal aliens becoming out of status and different implications and all… I was restricted from attending various Mitzvah celebrations and family events, not that it bothered me. Even the town of Scarsdale had held me in contempt. From the family cleaning lady, to a cab driver.And very soon I was getting off at friendly Larchmont to get into a schizophrenic Scarsdale.

  Once I was held responsible for nearly breaking the marriage when Roxie was invited to play with another dog on an empty soccer field. Perhaps Roxie shared my sentiments about Scarsdale,  because she started playing rough with lil white doggy and soon it was hard to tell whether she was playing with her or whether she was ripping that doggy. I pulled her away just in time when I heard screaming sounds all over me. The daughter was crying her eyes out. The mom was threatening to kill me and call police on me, while the dad was playing with his iPhone and examining my shorts. I tried to calm them but they wouldn’t listen.  “Look, your doggy will be fine. These are just scratches. It’s not a pitbull bites, it’s just a poodle…” Roxie was the happiest, wiggling her tale. A day later the dad showed up at the family’s house: “Look,” he started talking feverishly, “our Bella spent the entire night at the emergency room. You are lucky she made it. My wife was going to divorce me. Let’s settle it amicably. I’m asking for a grand to cover the ER expenses but I can go for just $500.”
Once again, I was hiding from my reality, finding escapism, going Netflix, this time with Nancy Botwin from Weeds.
 I moved out from Scarsdale on a high note, right in the middle of season two when Nancy Botwin had set her house on fire, leaving Little Houses, Little Boxes on the Hillside behind once and for all…
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same

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