Photo: Ciro and me entering ETECSA at 19 and C, Vedado.
On Monday I went to ETECSA for the third time to see if the “Reason 1” was still in effect and if I would be without a telephone. Before going there I contacted some of “my sources” who, even though they couldn’t help me very much, made me feel better because having some “sources” is most reassuring.
The girl that met with Ciro and me asked me if we were “those disconnected by a decision of the Commercial Office” and sent us directly to the administration on the second floor. There we talked to a very kind woman who gave me her name and surname but I’m not going to put them here because I’m sure that she did what she could and even what she couldn’t, and she sounded quite unhappy with her world: throwing in the towel at State Security.
According to the latest information, in fact my phone wasn’t disconnected by any Commercial Office, but rather by an “unknown error someone ordered it disconnected.” When the office reconnected it, another “error” disconnected it again and since then “there have been many errors” every time they’ve tried to connect it. I was quite upset and told her it might be true of errors two and three, but regrettably she didn’t believe me about the Primary Error, or Reason 1 (the origin of everything that came after, a kind of “Big Bang” or “First Idea”). I was sorry it was she who had to endure my outrage, when in fact the one I wanted and should have been talking to was “The Creator of the Errors.” She was patient with her tired look and asked me to come back on Thursday, to see if the “problem” could be resolved.
She called me at the house an hour later.
- Good Claudia, your telephone is now connected. - Thanks, we hope there won’t be any more problems. - We hope. However, even if my contacts couldn’t do much to help me, even one who said the phone was connected and was lying, I learned some details.
MLC: Moneda Libremente Convertible [Freely Convertible Money] (I was sure that it was Monitoreo de Líneas Conflictivas [Monitoring of Conflicted Lines] but I was wrong). I will never understand why they call it MLC if I don’t have any service in the assigned currency… phone company mysteries.
The other is a little sad and shows the impunity of the Secret Service on this little island: it turns out that once a week, at one of the ETECSA offices in this city, State Security arrives punctually. The workers leave the offices and wait outside some two hours, they (the faceless ones) do their work (no one knows what it is), thank the workers for their help, verbally of course, and then withdraw.
This is an excerpt to a version of the song, Epitaph for Vladimir Visotski by Karsmarski Jacek (Polish dissident songwriter), which includes Ciro Diaz in his latest album, The Blue Slug, that I listened to compulsively for at least two months, especially on the street with my mp3 inherited from a friend who now has an I-pod. (Download the lyrics here) (Download the recording and album cover here) The song (in summary, which runs about ten minutes) is about a desperate artist going through the circles of hell in search of an answer or death, and at the end of his journey there is only loneliness and the weight of the supreme power above himself. So I found myself at times catching the bus across Havana at 12 noon in August under the perennial sunshine and with the distressing feeling of not going anywhere, or arriving too late, or going for pleasure ... I feel that I have already arrived at the eighth enclosure (this is the finale of the song) where there is nothing, and I feel useless and empty, and I look at people without faith who walk along the street and who have so much fear that they no longer know they're afraid, and who have seen so many Roundtables and so many news broadcasts that they no longer know what belongs to reality or just to the TV screen. They cannot discern that they no longer believe, but cannot disbelieve either, and just move along past me not going anywhere.