Frances Belser - Singer and Artist He is twenty-seven and a lawyer and always at home when I come to clean. He is one of these people who always know what they want and he wants to design his own furniture. If you walk through his big rooms everything is dust-free, disturbance-free, tidied up by me, his cleaning lady from a different world. Everything is organized, streamlined - even he himself. There are no coincidences, no disorder, no flaws, no irregularity, there is no loss of time. And when I'm cleaning he usually is in. Most of his clients are refugees who live in ruined houses and in daily fear that the roof over their heads might collapse. Poverty obliges.
And today I ask him - because he is always present and watches me: "Do you want anything else or shall I just clean, do you want to kiss or should I call my African and Puertorican friends to come over and cook for you with their whole clan, yes that's what they would do, they would cook for you here with their whole clan".
That would be fun, the colourful African garments - looking a bit incongruous against this floor - the giggles of Puertorican children in these rooms that are inhabited only by echoes. And now comes the thing that I can't really think, I can only voice it: "Ecxuse me, do you want me? Or do you want to talk?"
"What would that cost?"
"I am not talking about money".
Why are you always around when I am cleaning? Don't you trust me? Let me tell you something, in the old housing development next door everybody starts fucking at fifteen, even if they don't do it very often. The first time you do it with an experienced girl, one that has done it with everybody. They are usually a bit older. There's always one or two who are willing, they go into the basement and do it with more than one at the same time. Thursday and Friday nights is when the older girls and the married ladies get it on, it's really busy there towards the end of the month when they are broke. When the weather is fine you see the guys queuing outside playing dominoes. Yes, that is the neighbourhood you live in, that's the other side of the city, didn't you know?
I actually feel sorry for you, you with your blue eyes, the way you look at me. That's just the way it is where I come from. There is housing shortage and bread is expensive. It is a fact of life that you need money if you want to survive. How much rent do you pay? Forget it, you are here now, that's how it is and I have to leave for my next appointment, ciao.
And for the other thing I could suggest a friend of mine.

My next client's boyfriend is a communicator, his generation is seasoned by an unending electrical storm of popmusic, rap and ringtones - all very much on the surface. Culture has to be fancy. Whenever there is an economical crisis going on he hangs the peace-flag from his bedroom window.
Every Thursday I dust off the ego-impairment of this childless double-incomer. He likes to keep me company, too, and he likes to read to me from the book he is writing in a strong and loud voice. How do computerkids find their footing in the world, inside themselves? How do surfers ground themselves? On what island do they alight? What product needs reengineering, how do you decline flexibility - and what does freedom really mean? His freedom is subsidized. I ask him about his favourite author.
"Oh, I kind of like a lot of them."
What is he reading right now?
"I don't have the time for reading because I'm writing my own book. It's going to be very special. I'll give it to you to read".
Poor young man, sad and hard and removed from beauty on the trampled-down lawns of culture. The subsidized get nervous, the government changes course, the subsidized are nervous. At home I gaze out the broken window of my kitchen and think of my homeland, I think of building dams in the stream behind Grandmother's house, my house, in a world without computers. I think about escaping with my mother and that building dams was not done for practical reasons but just for play. One false movement and all the efforts of the past hours got washed away with the stream.
Why do I tell you all this? Because nowadays everything is so everywhere and because one keeps moving along the line of the possible but never trespasses.
But I am perfectly happy. I am not burned out.
I feel that everything is new and fresh. I start now. This is my golden age. I wish every generation would realize that the time for doing great things is right at this moment, while they are alive, that the time for flowering is exactly now.
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