Sunday, May 13, 2007

The situation...

I am getting down to the last few days before the May 15th, five-year anniversary of my "being had" experience in Poland. I have been reprinting letters sent off in the period before everything happened to try and make the picture of who I was and what I was doing. I think basically in retrospect, all of this was very romantic. I believed in my heart that participating with Pinsk was a real thing for me. Obviously none of this was a strict business decision. But I really believed I was into something that was worth the suffering. Or f this is not a good way to say it, perhaps I thought that my staying would alleviate some of the suffering that was already there. In any case, today's entry was one of my original money letters from Warsaw from the 8th of May. The response I got was cool, but what I said here was all the truth.

Wed, 8 May 2002 23:21:28 -0700 (PDT)
Having to be more brief then I would have liked, here is the story...
I am in Warszawa, Poland at the moment. Why I am here is several reasons: I need a new visa, I need to get some things fixed that can not be fixed in Belarus, and I like that the situation makes me leave once a month because it gives me a reason to pause and see things from a different perspective.

I have had to do these things every month that I have been here but the last time, because I wanted to be back with Tati, I was in and out so fast that Warsaw actually acted as though I hurt its feelings...this time, I am going slower and I will explain why.

There is no business as such in Belarus. They live in a deplorable political situation that at least in theory should not happen in this day and age. It is a very controlled world, and to start a new business, one must go through the state. But this is not just for permits and such because the state in this case "owns" everything and if they have something that they feel is an equivalent business elsewhere, they have no reason to do business with you. And so to do something is not "normal market" and is never easy. But then again, having to go to your competition and ask them to let you take their money is also kinda nuts. See my point? Now, things ARE possible, and to say these words is kind of my religion here, but they are extremely hard to do and the results are not much more then subsistence. And it will be this way for a long time, and I mean a long, long time.

So what I am having is a money problem. Right now, I am down to my last couple of grand. My original plan when I split New York had something to do with working in Italy...this was because of the catastrophe last September and what all has happened to New York business...I had an invitation from my friend Sara there, but things between us got really weird and so I took a little vacation up here to see if I could find my old friends and I just kinda got into it. I never planned any of this and I was only supposed to stay a month...But now I am sort of on the verge of being here but it is all so really hard. As you say, I need to make some money, but that is one thing you are just not going to do here. I have made my bicycle thing work for me everywhere I have tried to do it (Washington, Wisconsin, Canada, Texas (a little) and in New York...I do what I do. But this is a country with one bike! And even though I have done all of the groundwork necessary to get started, because what I am doing is not "normal" for the system, I have had to, and will have to do all of the work of teaching the people around me that I am an acceptable person to work with and I have had to find the entire community that is hip to what I do BEFORE I could even think of doing anything...and until now, I couldn't even call for my tools because I couldn't risk having them sent if there was no chance at an enterprise here or even a future.

Are you with me so far?

So I am thinking right now, possibly, I could go and "waste" another month, and by this I mean that I could go and stay with Tati a bit more, try and finish the work on the Russian language play (which I really, really want to do,) and maybe ruminate of the future between us... But if I am not serious about going native, after this month, I would be out of here. But if I am serious, to try and stay would be way more work then our bureaucracy because in this case, it would mean building an entire new world basically from scratch! And this is in addition to trying to start a small independent theatre...

So the problem is money and time. If those fucking towel-heads had left our buildings alone, if my old companies would have worked more and stolen less, if my uncle had not decided he needed to be a dick to me when I started in New York, I would have had a lot more money in my pocket then I had when I started this endeavor with. On the pother hand, I have what I have, I earned it, I am frugal, and I know where my money came from. And even though the place is poor; food, clothing, rent, visa's and computer time all cost money, and to send for the tools or to try and rent a small shop would break me right now and would be foolish if there was no chance of success.

All of this is killing Tatyana and I. Because we are new, and she is really nice to have with...and I am really...well, because of the kid and everything I know about the world, she isn't going to America, and unlike my old Belarusian girl, the answer for her is not in Europe either. She is here, and I like to be here with her, and she has all she and the boy needs here except for a bit more money, which would basically be my job... normal. And I would love to stay with her and get started here but the difficulties with me go to the money right now because I need the time and the resources to make things happen. And because I didn't walk in here months ago wanting to do business here but rather only to stay a bit and have a look around, this also has slowed things down. My original thinking was just to be in Europe and to start a small shop, but that was before all of this. Maybe I have sort of tied my hands because of this girl. But I don't mind this because it was my money and I made the decisions, but those original decisions didn't have Tatyana's name on it.

And so this is the story. I am in Poland. I got my computer and my bike back together (there is no bike shop in Belarus. they need one: get it?!) here like I always have to when I am here. And I am talking to Tati about the acquisition of a new apartment (not the solution to the problem, but probably necessary) by phone today. And if something doesn't break by the beginning of the week...ya bez padrushke. Mozhet bete eto normalna dlya moi dzisn....Dazha ochen normalne, no, shto mnye delate? Kak ya magoo robotete v takaya meste karori nyet panemiyet moi bisiness? E bez dzenghi ili passport… (I will be without my girlfriend. Maybe this is normal for my life, maybe even very normal, but what can I do? How can I work in a place that doesn't understand what I do? And without money or a passport!?)
So I wait and nothing more and I can only think why this situation must be such.

So, I went to the stadium yesterday. the biggest bazaar in all of Europe is here at the football stadium where maybe, 4000 individual merchants set up their tents and such...I bought some new computer programs (about $5 each...pirate) and I put my bike back together and bought enough supplies so that I can fix my stuff for another month. This morning I am going to talk to Tati by phone, and then there is tomorrow, which is the last day of the week to try and grab another visa, something I have not done in the three days I am here because I am not sure that I can go back or what is the story. And this is basically why I am waiting here. The visas are short and expensive without business and they are firm which means that I have no choice but to adhere to them. With a business visa they are longer but there is a lot of paperwork. So, all of this, and they have machine guns at the train stations.

So, how good am I at explaining things? Get the picture? I need some money.

Working on it,