Friday, 24 December 2010

All Good Things Must End


Why? Just because. That's the rule.
Three weeks is a long time to be away, so I’m finding that the end of my literary adventures at 2010 SLS Kenya are as much sundog as jellyfish. Sometimes it’s just time to go home.
If you’ve stumbled on this blog by happenstance and haven’t the foggiest idea what I’m talking about, you’ll have to refer to my first two entries for explanation. But don’t let me write down to you, dear audience – I know you’re quite capable of extrapolating what I’m talking about.
Anyway, this isn’t so much about partings’ sweet sorrows or anything else for that matter. This post is more like a grabbag – what the British call a rattlebag – of sundry thoughts thunk while I’m sitting in the lobby of the Kivi Milimani Hotel near downtown Nairobi waiting for the bus that will take most of our group to the Jomo Kenyatta airport for our evening flights. Many of us are going to Amsterdam via KLM and then to various points in the US and Canada and others are heading to London or Dubai or Turkey and then ditto.
My thoughts are probably a rattling grab bag because I'm looking at a traditional Christmas tree and Christmas lights framing a large picture window opening onto a bright tropical garden. The dichotomy is startling. At least Nairobi's big, fancy, four-story mall - YaYa, I think they call it - is decked out with clever palm tree Christmas trees. I sort of like local adaptation to Christmas rather than playing it out European-style with snowflakes that no one living on the equator has ever seen before .
In essence, I’m killing time, a curious concept, since we native English speakers talk about time in the same vernacular that we talk about money. And we don’t kill money, oh no we don’t. Never. Not ever. Sometimes money burns holes in our pockets or we waste money, but we never, never cause it harm, even when we have to stretch it. In addition to spending time pleasantly or unpleasantly, we can also save it and waste it. I much prefer the term “passing time”, so I don’t know why I mentioned killing it in the first place.
This is just the way the mind runs when a writer is looking for something to write about. In essence, this is just chatter, a draft, and probably not a very good one, because I’m not sure I have a point. But at least this is the Winter Solstice and the day - December 21 - feels like a positive one, which may be a good omen, since there is also a lunar eclipse, the first one falling on the Winter Solstice in several centuries,. This may or may not matter in any big way unless you note what happened historically during that same configuration in the past, and know how this event is situated within the parameters of your personal astrological transits. At any rate, an eclipse falling on a Solstice can make for some intense energy, but so far things feel sort of pleasant, cushy, and leaning toward good will toward all men. Sundog, in other words.
You might be wondering if I’ve had any other airline encounters. Oh, the jellyfish swam in hordes when my daughter’s afternoon flight to Paris / Birmingham, England was cancelled due to winter weather early on the morning of Sunday, December 19. When I e-mailed and then called with the not-so-good news, she threatened to go back to bed and never, ever get out. But when Air France / KLM told her she was lucky to be rescheduled in two days because they’d rescheduled some unlucky passengers in 5-6 days out, she sat up and took notice. Maybe now that she's safely in Wales, it’ll snow again and she’ll have her shortened holiday lengthened the free way. Maybe the weather jellyfish is really a sundog for some of us. Better than crashing into a snowdrift, at least. 
I must apologize to my son, because I now have the full story on his misadventures in Dublin. His adolescent head wasn't turned by the lures of food or drink or even cute babes. He did try to check in for his flight five hours ahead, as soon as he arrived, and was told he couldn't do it until a certain time in the afternoon, and then spent his British pounds on a phone top-up to call for help when the airline messed up his already purchased baggage fees and flight changes, and subsequently made him miss his flight. They couldn't seem to be bothered with the receipts that showed them paid, or the rules posted online that say a guitar is a free personal carry-on.
Sometimes apologies can turn jellyfish into sundogs. This is a pretty good thing. The lovely Irish airline can make this situation right by refunding the overpayments and apologizing for their errors. The poor kid didn't get anything to eat for a long time when his international flight arrived over two hours late in New York City - the passengers were given a hotel and restaurant voucher, but the restaurant closed five minutes after passengers arrived at the hotel and was still closed when they had to leave at 3 AM for the next flight. And you know they don't serve anything but water and peanuts between JFK and LAX, for whatever perverse reason. This is a long flight. The sundog sorta went dim over America, but he was glad to finally head home, empty stomach and all.
That's about all we can do when things are not so good - just be glad they're not any worse. May as well not tempt those purveyors of jellyfish and sundogs lest you get too many of one or another! Just keep swimming, swimming, strumming!


Photo by Kate Robinson, 2009

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