There’s no Reasoning with Reason

We knew it already, but we just had to try it. We had been told in very clear terms by the premier adjoint of the French administration that there was no possibility of extending our stay here in French Polynesia. It’s just that the absurdity of it is so hard to swallow, more so when you’re at the losing end of the stick. Should anything go wrong we could easily blame it on our students. It was their idea after all. When faced with the fact that the dance and Spanish classes would only last until the end of October, they came up with the suggestion to go all the way to the very top and talk to the administrator of the subdivision, the highest officer of the land, the king of the Marquesas, so to speak. I remember playing with the idea to go and see this imaginary ruler and present him with our plans of cultural conquest, spiced up just a tad with unruly recipes for a little social unrest, while on watch still out there struggling against the wind and currents on our long watery way here. I guess I was dreaming that this might open some magic door straight to the heart of this human community. Well it turns out there is no king, there’s a queen and her wide white eyes stare us down now through round thinly framed glasses sitting in front of a dark brown face. We had been told that Madam Pietri was “vraiment sympa, très très simple en plus”, and that she would leave for a month long vacation next week. So there was no time to lose and we made our way for the fourth time up the heavy wooden boards making up the steps over which one climbs to the second floor of the previously described building. The administrator’s secretary made it clear to us that extending stays was not the business of Madam, but that many others have come before us in the business of trying. “There’s two foreigners here who wish to see you to talk about extending their stay”, was her way of announcing our visit to Madam. I was just about to whisper suggestively to have “foreigners” replaced with “artists” to change the spin a tad in our favor, when the intercom clonked back down and the secretary’s hand gestured towards the door with an implicit message of good luck to you ‘cause you’ll need it.

“If there is anything that can be done within the law, we’ll be more than happy to help”, is Madam Pietri’s verdict after politely listening to our plight. Just to make sure that the point is crystal clear, she adds: “We will not do anything that is not in accordance with what the law allows.” This is no time to express my awareness that even just to start talking about breaking the law, our bank accounts would have to be fattened up considerably, and that by most probably skirting the law just as considerably. The spin master in me squeezes out a: “Of course, we would never expect you to…”, and there’s zero chance to add even one of the many “but” that would naturally follow. We are then led from absurdly complex scenarios depicting legally incontestable journeys, one for me back to Switzerland and another for Beatriz to Colombia, where we would visit French consulates for new visas in our countries of residence, and then return with sunny smiles to the South Sea paradise, and the conversation comes to an untimely end with supposedly simpler version of getting our return visas in the closest French consulate in the distance as the crow flies, which happens to be in Fiji. Now between you and me, even if we replace that crow with a tern or a booby the mere thought of returning a couple thousand miles against the prevailing winds just to set foot again on this privileged corner of the world, although legally impeccable, definitely violates the law of reason. Madam quite clearly does not have a detailed understanding of the most basic circulation patterns of where the winds blow on the turbulent surface of our homely planet.

So I guess we’ll have to leave it here, especially since I’m getting the impression that my efforts to spruce up this issue enough to keep the readership from falling asleep turns out to be yet another beating of one more dead horse. Any talk of “free movement of people” in the modern world is nothing but cheap campaign babble of some third class politician in the convulsive town hall meetings one week before Election Day. The walls between us and them are being fortified all across the earth and the only way we tolerate those people from over there is on our television screen, where we can wipe them clean with the flip of our remote control. Our journey in search of a new place to call home, where we can continue our work of releasing the bitterness from the human heart beyond the merely superficially doable within the tolerated term of a couple months here and there, will be like an endless trek through the deserts of modern economically induced statehoods, burning truckloads of solitude in the cauldrons of a mostly mediated mankind, meandering mindlessly, manipulated for maximizing money making musings, with muscles merely moving to mop up miserable morsels of meager memory mimicking mother loads of… well, mostly nothing at all. Here again, luck will be our most appreciated companion of wanderlust. Which brings me to the point, finally.

Looking at the grid of blue depicted on the map of the South Pacific, we let our two lonesome minds wander and wonder, where to point Aluna’s bows once lifting anchor from here. We have by now understood that pushing the envelope is not a very healthy way to travel. So downwind is where we look for game. I had already made a plan that looked as smooth as the buttery plantain we had fried for diner today: Six hundred some miles West lies a spec of land at the very South end of the Line Islands with the promising name of Millennium Island. Our visa for the Republic of Kiribati, to which it belongs, has already been settled and we should be able to explore that territory for maybe three months, then could peacefully drift further downwind towards the Northern Cook Islands. A little research on the internet let the steam out of that plan just as quickly as those golden plantains disappeared from the diner plate. Millennium Island’s fancy name served apparently the short purpose of a publicity stunt for ringing in the 21st century back in the year 2000. Whenever not invaded by limelight lusting politicians is not only uninhabited, but also completely lacks a harbor or any form of anchorage. So maybe we’ll shoot some pictures when sailing past it on our now direct sail to the Northern Cooks.

Somehow I have always had a deep instinctive distrust to making any kind of plans. Reasonable decisions have so far in my life refused to guide me to the Promised Land, while being desperate and ready to give up all the elaborate calculations on the program has often solved some major quirks and hang-ups I would have never been able to circumvent by studying the guidebooks of life on planet Earth. I suspect that after all a hearty “we shall see” is still the best plan of them all and let reason reign and rule the realm it represents righteously and rigorously: The past with all its would-haves and should-haves and the eternal why-did-we-not-do-this-and-that!

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One Response to “There’s no Reasoning with Reason”

  1. kgw Says:

    You are in good, and venerable, company, Beat! Old Chinese way of putting it: crossing the river by feeling for the stones.

    Keep on enjoying yourselves!

    Take care,

    Kim

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