You mad?

Don’t confuse the frustration that sometimes emanates from consciousness for anger. 

Too often, we label those conscious of the system “angry”, and those who would disrupt it “crazy,”

because

because

because

we’d rather be

blissfully

ignorant

…because we’re lazy…

because their intellectual and political bravery are require

too much

thought

too much

work

too much self-confrontation

too much

 But maybe, if joining with these critical voices is

too much

for us to handle, we could consider just saluting those who raise theirs with a simple head nod of

gratitude

instead of giving them the

judgmental side-eyes

we should be giving

ourselves.

Beaches in Yoff

We are sitting in the basement, watching Law and Order: SVU and drinking tea.  It’s Friday afternoon, so ordinarily we’d be out and about, since this is my last official day of Christmas vacation. Alas, Winter Storm Hercules happened, and there is just SO.MUCH.SNOW.  The only person excited by it all is Baby B, and even he is not opposed to spending time in front of a space heater these days.

We would all like to be in Dakar right now. Christmastime and the weeks thereafter are the most popular times for Senegalese ex-pats to return for extended vacations.  The weather is perfect, the most popular celebrities throw great concerts, and the living is easy.  If you have a few coins to rub together, you can spoil your family a bit and raise your esteem in their eyes a lot.  It is a pilgrimage of sorts, revealing to everyone else on that Friday night Delta flight who is faithful, who has not forgotten their roots, who has the fattest metaphorical lamb to offer for sacrifice.

Like New York, Dakar is as much a symbol as it is home.  New York has become part of our identity, denoting our survival skills and our access to the best that the world has to offer.  Dakar represents tranquility and respite from New York’s hustle–because, after all, even champions get tired of fighting New York’s battle royale.  And of course, once one has conquered the pinnacle of civilization (yes, New Yorkers are culture snobs), we want more. We want heaven on earth.

Heaven on earth.

Africa, obviously. Those who haven’t been, who rely upon Western media for their understandings of the continent, will think I’m making a racist joke. Those who know, know. Those who’ve been  know about big city tropical life, about being on vacation at home, about wanting to be there and away at the same time. They know about harmony in cacophony, sounds of sea gulls and drums and barking dogs and mooing sheep and mosques and everything else, trying to walk on the sand and stepping on what used to be fish, trying not to stare too hard at sex tourists and their clients/victims, sterile new apartments with seaview terraces, fending off certain hawkers while seeking others out for token gifts or small snacks, and bargaining taxi fare before and after.  It could be Yoff, N’Gor, Goree, or Soumbedioune, maybe even Parc D’joudj in Saint Louis.

It could be home. And right now, as the blizzard buries us in Michigan, would that it were.