THE HUMAN FLIES
17 Jan 2023
Dear Readers, my dispatches will always be free and open to everyone. I am unable to use my hands and I’m writing, via dictation, with the help of my family. If you could become a paid subscriber and support me, it’d mean so much.
Someone must have listened to my complaints because the doctors upped my sleeping dosage. I slept until four am. My new roommate talked throughout the night in his sleep, of course in Italian. I can’t say he bothered me. You can get used to anything.
I have watched all of Breaking Bad twice and some episodes several times. Anthony Hopkins said that he thought Bryan Cranston’s performance as Walter White was the greatest he had ever seen, and Hopkins would know.
The writing and intelligence of the show is of the highest quality in any genre, if you ask me. Now that I have free evenings, I am watching the Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul.
Bob Odenkirk’s depiction of the confused genius Jimmy McGill is masterful. Jonathan Bank’s portrayal of Mike Ehrmantraut, the melancholic private investigator and fixer, is played with such profound poise. These shows are worth watching over and over.
I guess the whole point of acting is that you don’t notice it. But when you do, as in the case of Jonathan Banks, you enjoy as you would the work of any great artist. Hats off to the man.
At mid-morning three nurses came to the room pushing a human carrying machine. They dress me and it’s the first time I’ve worn clothes since my accident. I am even wearing shoes.
The nurses attach me to the machine which lifts me from my bed. For a few moments I hang in the air like a fly, my limbs dangle down beneath me. Then it places me nicely in a wheelchair.
My friend the Maestro comes in with my cappuccino and feeds it to me through a straw. We then have a very complicated conversation with the doctor about how Americans drink cappuccinos at inappropriate times of the day.
The doctor said he had heard of an American who had once requested a cappuccino in the evening. The Maestro could not believe that such a thing could have ever happened. It would be like putting jam on pasta, he said.
I am swept through the myriad corridors and halls of this vast contemporary hospital to the gym, which I am seeing for the first time. It is huge and well lit and equipped numerous modern and technical looking machines. I should add here that this is the first time I have ever been in a gym.
They push me towards the window and I look out at the sky, the trees and hospital garden. I am not joking when I say that a of surge passion passes through me like an electrical current.
This is when I decide I want to become an Italian citizen. I want an Italian passport. I decide to apply for one tomorrow. How could anyone not want to live in Italy? I will discuss it later with Isabella, who is always a wise guide to reality, and will inform me if I am pushing the limits of my sanity.
I work in the gym with the physio for an hour or so and I feel different parts of my body starting to respond. This has been the best day so far.
Later when I return to my room, feeling high and feverish, a doctor asks me if I would be interested in participating in an international study they are conducting on those with spinal injuries. Having always wanted to be a subject in a medical experiment, I am very enthusiastic.
In these shitty but sometimes heartening times,
Your loving writer pal,
Hanif, the cause of these pieces is horrific but the writing is extraordinary and compelling. It's great to have the entries here in this new way of communicating but I am an old-fashioned enough to hope that they must surely become a handsome Faber hardback in time.
Hanif, if you understand the horror of italians when someone ask for a capuccino after 12 am, YOU ARE ITALIAN already: Benvenuto!