Ukraine–the Impossible Dream?

<This was actually written the day before I left Lviv>

Here I sit, once again in Pasticceria Vittoria the day before I leave for Lviv. Finally, they’ve made my favorite eclairs. I am now required to overdose on them since I’ll be in Ukraine for a month.

This one week break between all this vast genealogy research for my second book has been relaxing. It has allowed my brain to rejuvenate. It has felt nice to be back in my bed. My temporary Italian bed, anyway.

I’ve been reading that western military personnel are of the belief that Russia will make a major incursion into eastern Ukraine within the next month. How will this impact the rest of the nation? Will it slide into chaos? Will there be massive terrorism to demoralize the resident population in the western portion?

I really don’t think so. I think the problems will remain localized in the Lohansk-Donetsk arc along with Mariupol (a warm-water port). Although…there was a bombing in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv right along the border with Russia. And superimpose over this Moldova’s decision to tilt westward towards the EU and NATO. Could the problems explode?

I decided to make this posting before I leave. Something inside compels me to do this in case of a crisis. Perhaps it’s because I’m a drama queen (king?).

I pictured myself sitting on a train in Ukraine when it’s stopped by Russian separatists who board and rob us of everything leaving everyone with nothing but their underwear. I saw myself kidnapped because I’m a “wealthy” American and then taken to an abandoned farmhouse where I’m beaten for state secrets regarding Portland’s craft beer industry. I mean, how better to bring down America’s (if not Portland’s) economy, right?

U.S. media picks up the story resulting in an impassioned plea from Obama for my release. The State Department gets involved and people nationwide hit the Twittersphere and the blogosphere demanding my return. Conservatives pray for me because I’m Christian. Liberals demand sanctions against Russia because I’m gay. My plight brings the nation together unlike any event since WWII. It becomes Hands Across America.

Russia capitulates and I’m found wandering a rural side road, still in my underwear, disoriented, with “USSR” painted on my chest clutching only a small bag of potatoes to eat. An impoverished farm family with an iPhone 6s takes me in. The family sends a Whatsapp text to a relative in Lviv. They feed me borscht and stuffed cabbage with Ukrainian vodka. A Blackhawk helicopter transports me to the American base in Frankfurt where I’m de-briefed before appearing in front of the worldwide press.

An interview with Letterman ensues, right before his retirement. The entire show surrounds my ordeal. Book sales zoom. Movie rights are negotiated. It’s limos and champagne and tennis with Tom Hanks. Elton calls me, wanting an audience with me on adoption and adoptees. Madonna invites me to spend the weekend at her estate to meet her adopted kids.

Eventually, I eschew the glitterati and buy a Pearl penthouse with my millions, rotating between Oregon and Italy. The second book hits Number One, with the first firmly lodged at Number Two. The NYT recognizes me as the first person to have the top two books in the nation.

The book is turned a blockbuster movie grossing more than Avatar internationally. It sweeps the Oscars. I decline interviews with Barbara Walters and Oprah. The stress of celebrity ensues and I develop the prerequisite alcohol and prescription drug addiction. I go to Betty Ford.

Eventually, I write another book revealing, for the first time, the pitfalls of wealth, fame and power. It zooms to Number One. The first two books are firmly lodged at numbers two and three. The NYT recognizes me as the first person to have the top three books in the nation. I’m recognized as a bon vivant.

After so many years in the spotlight, President Chelsea Clinton requests an audience with me regarding national adoption legislation. I visit her for consultation and she introduces me to Bill and Hillary. Bill, drool bucket attached, is in his mechanized wheelchair, chasing female interns. Hillary is speaking with advisers via hologram on planning another presidential bid.

<stretch, yawn>

Or, maybe I just tour Lviv, Odessa and Kiev, do my research, see the sights and try to get a bit of publicity for my first book, This is My Lemonade, in Ukraine before returning to my nondescript apartment in Italy…

That was a hell of a dream.

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