What is My Africa? – Part 2


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As I sit here, unemployed and genuinely as pleased as a stallion at a breeding farm about it, my brain is moving from TLC’s “Long Island Medium” (excellent programming, I’m hooked) to my resume, to pondering how long it would take for someone to find my body if I were to suddenly keel over on my white IKEA couch.  With no attempt to be morbid, I wonder this, as I have no place to be at 9am like the rest of civilization.  I mean, it’s possible that I wouldn’t be found for a while, it happens all the time on CSI.

Anyway, I live alone and in a building with only one other apartment that remains empty. And while I’m thrilled in knowing that each towel on the floor is only there because I carefully placed it so, and that there will be no stumbling upon The Beginner’s Guide to Wicca suddenly on the coffee table from a questionably sane roommate, sometimes the silence is just that.  Silent.

So you tell me: How long would it take?  Hours of not hearing from me?  Gosh, a day?  I imagine the conversation now.

Friend 1: “Eileen hasn’t posted anything on Facebook today.”

Friend 2:  “Let’s swing by her apartment to see if she’s dead.”

I like to think my absence would be immediately obvious, and not because I have a well, let’s call it a decisive presence (read: loud mouth).  My silence would mostly go noticed in the viral universe, as I’m tuned in all the time, to instragram, facebook, G-chat, AIM, email.  No wonder I needed a new eyeglass prescription.  I live my life in Arial size 10 font. Depressing?  Or amazingly hip?  Hmmm?  Ok, depressing.

In an attempt to let my laptop’s white glow fall into a temporary sleep, I decided to repurpose my newfound freedom and organize my life. Opening up my semi-organized closets, I went through paper by paper.  I find I am the Howard Hughes of recycling. Joy can be found when you just throw…stuff….away, OCD-style.  Having this apartment down to a science, I know that if there were any reason that the Navy Seals were hovering in a Blackhawk above my apartment in an attempt to bring me in, I could pack up this apartment in mere minutes.  They wouldn’t stand a chance.

Which leads me to wonder if I’m watching too many reruns of Alias….

If said Seals, or any normal civilian for that matter, come searching for me, I have one habit in place. Simply as a precautionary measure, I erase my internet browsing history every night so no one knows the extent of my obsession with Kate Middleton.

Back to the closet.  It didn’t take too long to pristine it, but I came upon a box with uncracked packing tape, a sure sign it has been forgotten for some time, named unimportant and disregarded like a rag doll that a young child outgrows.  Under its bent lid, I found the first draft of the novel I wrote when 32. Underneath that dust, a pile of extensive research for a television series mapped out when I was about 23.  At the bottom, a screenplay written when I was fifteen, a romantic adventure about the Knights of the Round Table.  I haven’t yet delved into the pages of each, as my resume has been top of mind, but I will.  And I will most definitely laugh until it hurts.

So while I ponder the woes of the upper middle-class, (“should I stay in this apartment? It’s too big!”), and pause my student loans in the absence of a bi-weekly paycheck (“what’s the difference between owing $60k and $65k, really? I’m never going to be able to pay it off…”), I wonder what’s next.  Sublet my apartment and travel?  Dust off those manuscripts and look at them through 34 year-old, mature, wiser (read: old) eyes?  Ask myself what the sam heck I should do with an eat-in-kitchen when what I really need is a bar?….ooohhhh maybe I can make it into a bar…. I look to the future, and the question I have asked myself repeatedly over the years and now have the frame of mind and self-awareness to answer, what is my Africa?

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2 thoughts on “What is My Africa? – Part 2

  1. Sometimes people that comment how great our material lives are (apartment too big, no civil war going on in our city, etc.) are missing the things we aren’t connected to; the emotional connections. Kind of easy to do in our materialisitic and individualistic culture I guess.

    Anywho, great trips to exotic lands to ponder our lives are wonderful, but should we envy them? Is dirt from another continent or snow on the Alps going to really tell us something about ourselves we didn’t already know? Maybe it is the part of us that has yet to develop is what we are searching for.

    Perhaps your Africa doesn’t exist yet? Even people that are able to travel the world paradoxically give up their living selves; and many of them are never aware of it.

    Instead of looking for your Africa look for your home. And perhaps home doesn’t exist yet; perhaps it needs to be created.

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