2.26.2005

Reality called, wants you to check in.

I got a phone call the other day from an old friend. (Though I don't know if "old friend" is appropriate terminology, I only met her about 4 months ago.) I didn't answer the phone. I get like that sometimes, I hate talking on the phone for anything other than very necessary sorts of things, and I hadn't spoken to her in so long, I knew she'd have some outrageous request and I was in no frame of mind to deal with in any manner befitting a relatively civil human being. I met Nelli at the internet cafe in New York. She's from Guyana, works as a massage therapist in a strip club in Atlantic City. She was trying to find (A) An apartment, (B) Her boyfriend, and (C) A rental car. I helped run some stalking program to look up the deadbeat's phone number, and then I directed her to a rental car website and returned to satisfying my internet addiction. Before I knew if, Nelli was introducing herself properly and asking me to drive with her to North Carolina to hunt down her Egyptian boyfriend. Um, what? "Ok," I said. Fortunately, one way or another it didn't happen. What may perhaps be unfortunate is that I continued a friendship with Nelli for the duration of my stay in the city. I'm not sure how mentally stable Nelli is, but she was entertaining to hang out with and that's important for a girl who's alone in a place like that with no real social outlet for interpersonal communication of a more than casual sort. She took me to AC with her the weekend before I left. We spent our days sleeping in some suite at the Taj Mahal (I guess she knows people, I hope she just knows people,) and our evenings dining in the President's Club and having cocktails in the lounge before I followed her to work. I won't go into details of the awkward hilarity that ensued. Anyway, I left, and I've talked to Nelli once or twice since. She's sweet, but she's a strong personality and has a tendency to throw caution to the wind and require serious bailing out. She called me once asking for money when I had been arguing with family for days on the very subject and was far less than broke. I never called her back; I didn't need that extra stress and guilt--there was nothing I could do to help her and I couldn't take constant updates of her terrible situation. So, she calls again the other night.
"Rachel, it's Nelli," says the message she leaves. "I haven't heard from you in a while, I don't know if you're back in New York or what. Anyway, I booked my ticket for Egypt and I was wondering if you still wanted to come. I have the money and everything, I just need to know if you're coming so I can book your flight too. Say hi to your family for me, I love you, call me soon."
How the hell do I end up meeting people like this? Let me explain something. This girl not only has an extremely unhealthy relationship with one Egyptian man whom treats her like shit and randomly disappears and then shows back up at intervals for sex, but she has a long distance infatuation with another Egyptian beau whom she has never even met. A situation which I suppose she intends to remedy, preferably with me in tow. Uh. I don't really know how to approach this. Part of me despises my tendency to just simply not deal with situations that I find difficult or uncomfortable, but I really don't see the point in calling her only to tell her she'll have to go this one on her own. I don't relish the drama that would surely ensue. Then again, there's a miniscule part of me that is itching to call her and tell her I'll meet her in Cairo. I've been meaning to go there for a while. Carpe diem, right?

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