On fridays, we have the second half of our 4-hour class in a cafe. So we’re sitting there with the teacher, drinking coffe and impregnating the air with our heavily accented rudimentary arabic, and a man comes up.

I’ve seen the man before. He sells keychains with little squishy soccer balls on them. He just sort of wanders the cafes, hoping tourists want a tchotchke to take home*. Our teacher calls out to him and asks him to come over. He says that this man is better than any calculator and asks for two numbers. The numbers that we chose were something like 332 and 1065. Before I could multiply them in the calculator, he blurted out the correct number. And did the division, to, accurate to one tenth. He then asked me to add 100  to my street number, then add the year of my birth. Then he told me my street number.

The man was tall and fairly allright looking, except his clothes were a little grungy, but he had bright, clear eyes that didn’t stop moving. Apparently, he was a mathematician of extraordinary genius, one of the finest in the city, and one day something just popped apart in his head and now he wanders the streets selling keychains to tourists.

I want to say something deep and philosophical about this, but I can’t get my head around it.

Anyway, little is new here. I found the only sushi place in Fes and ate their two nights ago. Pretty nice, but fairly expensive.


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