Tusker : mercy on tap

January 4, 2012

you go to work, you come home and (try to) sleep
you work / you (attempt) sleep
if there’s an extra moment you try to raise your children…

then someone gives you a ticket to here:

and you have the honor of standing (right of the arch)
surrounded by old clay vases full of bird of paradise flowers
in a beautiful wedding for some beautiful people;
family to me in every sense of the word (thank you).
this doesn’t happen.
but if it does (which it did)
no one should ever have to listen to you (me)
complain about anything ever again:

in London my traveling companion could not get enough service on her phone to see what time it was… while flying over the Sahara dessert she had two bars! – shame on her though for having her cell phone on in the plane (against all in-flight safety recommendations) flying over Somalia and the Sudan – the most lawless places on earth
we could have crashed, causing great inconvenience to all our fellow passengers just cause she wanted to know what time it was when we were in london!
[although this story is true, she maintains that it is completely unfair to her – we await her rebuttal]

i kept thinking how strange even absurd it was
flying over the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Sahara.
all these places we read or hear about just now,
the world changing starting right below me.  
these places of wonder and exotic dreams.
and here I am: uncomfortable, tired
covered in a moist grey yuck and oh do i have to pee
– as i travel right above them.
this is crazy
i just up and went to Africa,
oh, look out the window –
Bedouin fires at night.
(what do they use for fuel? where would they get wood? do they even make fires at night? Paul David Hewson forgive my ignorance)
when i get off of this plane I will be in Africa.
how can this be happening to me?
At first this is the constant thought:  
How Strange – I’m in Africa. Who does this?
but really, though i’m on the continent, i am not visiting “Africa”,
i am visiting a tiny sliver of Kenya on the East African coast
for the very specific event of standing in a wedding,
in a week i’ll be back at work moving some chairs around
or lying on a pissy floor fixing a toilet – sextoning.
Later sitting with The Groom and his father at an outdoor “club”
(where the reception would be) open to the ocean,
drinking Tusker (awesomely named good local brew) on tap,
i got a little sardonic:
after i listened to The Groom and Sebastian? (head chef/facilities manager) discuss table arrangements.
“Instead of four tables with ten chairs it would be better to open up space with five tables of eight.”  
wow, i have had this same discussion a thousand times, from the inside (without that accent – maybe i should start using an accent)
on a different continent.
Yet, out of all of those people who told me how it was going to be, only to later do it the way i had originally (quietly) suggested
(believing now that it had been their idea all along),
I am the only one who has been HERE.
that’s a pretty piece of pretentious pill in my pocket to swallow later
No. there is nothing about this that is about me.
Like Sebastian? i will smile and do what i can
because to The Other this is their life happening
why shouldnt i do all i can to make it wonderful and simple for them 
i am a simple sexton in Africa (please think this sentence is funny)
no – not in Africa, but just here, or where ever i might be.
May I be grateful, may I be humble,
may I recognize my ignorance and arrogance and gain wisdom
and walk away glad to have been a part of it all.
life is amazing let me be always overwhelmed.

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4 Responses to “Tusker : mercy on tap”

  1. Ryan Roling Says:

    Shawn,

    We’ve gotta ketchup. I didn’t know you went to Africa.

    I wanna drink a Tusker w/ you my friend of no equal.

    Ryan

  2. Lindsey Says:

    The first time I read this I thought you were inside the table-arrangement conversation, and I was sad that you had to sexton even while a guest in Africa. This time I realize you were outside, just feeling the kind of sympathy that can only come from first-hand experience, and I feel much better.

    “let me always be overwhelmed”
    Yes.

  3. Gail Brown Says:

    What a opportunity you had to enjoy it one more time. I am jealous, grateful for your words and I love you so. Mom


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