Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I’ve been wanting again...


           To start travelling. Not Entebbe-Kampala distances (though that still has its thrills too), but travelling buttock numbing, squished aching knee joints, bladder full praying for the next stop to be really soon long distance travel again. I definitely would be a much better traveller now than when I first travelled by bus from Kampala to Juba, I think. I certainly know now how I should be prepared before I even get on that bus, that train, that plane.
I know you need your music. A bunch of musicians CDs that have piled up in the corner you have been meaning to listen to since the year began. Fantastic companions for the landscape unfolding going on outside your window, sometimes heart stopping discoveries amidst the clutter. Like Arcade Fire. I don’t know what’s worse-hearing Arcade Fire for the first time in a taxi, in a public place, heart stopping, delighted scream inducing music pouring in on your like musical notes rain through your earphones, making you sweetly smile at the rude conductor and thank him with a webale nnyo Ssebo when he does return your change, leaving him a little open mouthed. Or hearing Arcade Fire in private right before you go in to meet your boss, complaining that you deserve a pay rise, but the blissful nirvana Arcade Fire has transported you to making it hard for your bosses to believe really you are miserable, really you are not happy...city with no children.
           Read again. Not camera manual read, how to install the late Windows 7 updates follow-but read, stretches, days, weeks on one book-monogamous in your browsing interest. Dedicated only to that book because right now, right in this month of September, as the year enders rush upon you like a Kalita bus with no brakes down Namirembe road, this book will steady you. Hold you. Have something, like bushera at the bottom of my grandmother’s gourd, that will headily introduce you to the New Year, new spheres of thought.
Like when you become a card carrying member of Entebbe’s Public Library, discover oh my God! There is a biography on the life of William Carlos Williams. A New World Naked by Paul Mariani. Yes, it was first published in 1981, which seems like a lifetime ago, until you realise you are older than the book-and you have yet to figure out your life, what makes you think a book published in 1981 about a Physician-Poet would not have something you did not know? Have been trying to explain to yourself since you uncovered your intense love of writing, then photography-how to live the artistic life while earning a living in the everyday world-do the two ever cross paths, reconcile with each other, like bitter siblings do around the deathbed of their father? William Carlos Williams found a way to be both a doctor and a poet, very good at both. Well, in one, a genius, in the other a beloved town strolling figure who knew what happens behind the facades of respectability.
        Start arguing about politics, take part in political debates, but get active. Banish this folded arms approach to life I have had for so long that I had not realised you cannot feign indifference for long before it infects all your life. Before your capacity to care deeply is blunted, because you are mask wearing so much of the time, all the time nearly, you become uprooted from what you truly care about. Realising that I love this city, I love all her towns I have been privileged to be in (a night or several), I love this country and I love the people like I love my family-with the all complexities that come with such love that springs before it is bidden, makes demands that seem outrageous, infuriate you with their stubborn refusal to acknowledge some of your own wishes because the wishes of the whole must come first. 
What do these guys do?

     ....off tangent- I would love to have an opportunity, the time, the calm, to tell you of the magic I have discovered in little town centres by the roadsides as I travel in my night ventures-the midnight playing checkers I used to stumble into playing under a solitary ‘security’ light, the giggling baby girl who had a whole back section of the taxi in tittering merriment-jacket playing with her father, Abayita Ababiri Market on Fridays, the hope and dread of Stanbic ATMs past 1am when the taxi has broken down and you have to a boda boda ride all the rest of the way, Kitubulu Lake Victoria heaving in the dusk like a sulky lover turning in bed (Was that a lip escaped sigh?)...there was a house in Zana...and I don’t know how to explain what took place in that house-Aug 2. Is life always this complicated?

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