February 2, 2011

I’ve noticed that less than half of the things I begin to scribble end up posted here.

Most of these discarded efforts don’t get beyond a few lines and sometimes there is nothing more than a few cryptic words that meant something momentarily important to me.

(for Seinfeld fans, it’s a “flaming globes of Sigmond!” moment)

Then, there are times when something gets lodged in my head like some cranial hairball that just won’t dislodge. No matter how much I might attempt to zig or zag my thoughts to a different subject, they return to that word, phrase, or idea and there’s no moving on until it’s addressed.

The past few days, each time I’ve sat down to scrawl something, the events in Egypt bob to the surface. Most of the reading I’ve done this past week has been done following the Egyptian revolution and I’ve watched plenty of the televised coverage.

I feel comfortable enough to discuss the subject and I know Mohamed ElBaradei from Omar Suleiman and would have no trouble finding Alexandria on a map, but the simple fact is we won’t know how this plays out ’til we get there.

So, I keep thinking of a waterlogged afternoon while I was living in London in the late ’90s. Sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for the deluge to subside, I struck up a conversation with three kids, students, also waiting out the downpour.

The three could have been college kids on a campus in the States – they had the garb and pop culture savvy – but the trio was from Egypt.

I couldn’t have spoken with them for more than fifteen minutes and I couldn’t tell you what we discussed as it was nothing more than rainy day, coffee shop small talk.

But I do remember their thoughts on the US as if the conversation was yesterday. Though they had issues with the meddling of the American government in various countries including their own homeland, there was nothing but affection for the American people.

It seemed important to them that I understood this sentiment and it was reiterated several times.

The rain ended, one of them bummed a smoke, and we parted ways.

And as I watch the throngs of people in footage from Tahrir Square, I can’t help but wonder if any of those three kids might be there.

Patti Smith – People Have The Power
from Dream Of Life

“People have the power
The power to dream
To rule
To wrestle the world from fools.”