My friend Colin Lingle read a story at one of my open mic parties which were semi-regular occurences when I lived in Seattle. I liked it so much I asked him if I could put the story online and he said yes. The title of this post comes from it, the story is called The First Thing. I think the sentiments he expresses are very familiar.
So I’m in Dubai and it’s wonderful and pretty foreign feeling. I took a very crowded flight here which was full of mostly non-Americans and was a little too tightly packed to read all the Wikipedia articles I’d saved about the place. I still haven’t read them. I watched a lot of Doctor Who and the Simpsons movie. When I lived in Romania I remembered visiting Turkey and getting off the train in Istanbul after a long and crowded trip and being amazed that the place smelled like food and … something … instead of garbage and sewage. Dubai smells like flowers and grilled meats and heady incense and someplace else. I type backwards into the Google box. A few sites I like to visit are blocked entirely. The call to prayer wakes me vaguely at 5 am and I’m not sure why I’m awake.
Today is my big talk and the workshops I’m leading, so I’ll feel a lot more settled once they’re behind me and not looming and I’ll be sure to let you know how they are. To work off a little extra nervous energy I went swimming last night in the next door pool. I don’t think I’ve ever been swimming outdoors in a pool at night before (ponds and lakes, sure, but it’s weirdly different doing lap swimming much less wearing a hot pink bathing suit outside in a Muslim country) and, like most other experiences here — besides my morning coffee which I’m enjoying as I type this — it was familiar and yet totally different.