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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Two conversations

Sometimes there are patches on the road that are just hard. You veer off, you weren't paying attention, you took a turn you hadn't planned. You don't know where you are or where to go. You wander lost, panicking that you'll never find the road again; that you'll die out here in the woods alone. It seems like just moments ago you knew exactly where you were and where you were headed, admiring the scenery and all beautiful and good thing along the way. Then one wrong turn and you can't remember how to get back.

You panic and you worry. How could you be so stupid? Why didn't you take a compass? Why did you think that this was the right way? It's all so very terrible and even though you're technically completely OK, it's the not knowing that keeps you from being happy. It's awful.

But then through the trees you see what looks like sunlight on a patch of ground ahead. There! The path is over there! Relief. The enormity of relief floods over you.

Getting back on to the path isn't so easy though. There aer still obstacles to cross but you can overcome them because you know where you're headed. There - you point.

It takes time but you get back to the clearing and you see the path and you are so happy. But this isn't the place where you went astray and as you look into the woods from where you emerged, and you see the bent branches, the broken blades of grass and you realize that though you were lost, you were also forging a new path.

* * * * *

Aie white woman! What are you yelling about? It's late and you should be going home to cook dinner, sit with a friend, feel the day close! Why are you standing on the side of the road shouting like that? The light from the trotros show how you've screwed up your face and how you're throwing your arms over your head. White woman! Don't you know the dust will get into your lungs like that and tst tst, you'll be sorry.

But did you hear what that white woman was yelling about? I thought I'd misheard so I came in closer, leaned against the wall still warm though it was already dark. Oh, my friend, you won't believe me when I tell you what she was saying.

Ohhh - go on.

She was complaining about not having enough to do! Haaa haaa haaa!



Not enough to do?


Oh, that is serious.

What's more was that she was complaining that her husband had work and she didn't. That she didn't like being his shadow, she said.

Oh, she must be crazy! What does she want? She should be happy her husband is working. She should be careful or else someone else will snap him up if she doesn't appreciate him.

She was yelling that she should be working, that she has so much to give but noone will take. She was angry because she thinks that it's because she's a woman that they won't take her seriously. She says she has all this education and experience and still she is just not making her way into life here.

Is that so? Really? Well, then. Hm. You know I didn't even think that a white woman had problems finding work. I think it was just us. After I finished school and noone would take me for anything in my field - I studied to be a planner, you know - oh, it was no good. My friend, it was no good at all. For many months I was so sad.

Oh, I'm sorry. But sister, are you sad now?

When I think about it, yes. But there is no point thinking about it. What's very strange is this white woman yelling at her husband that she should find work! I never thought I would see this day.

White woman yelling at her husband by the side of the road! That is crazy, I know. But you know what else I heard? She hasn't even been here in our city for two months and already she expects to know everything? When will she learn that you can't know everything in life? And how can she hear anything when she is yelling so?

Mmm. Some white women are just too angry. When I see them on the street they don't look happy at all.

Oh, yes. I've seen that too.

I'm on my way. It's getting dark and I want to listen to some nice music at home this evening.

That sounds nice. Maybe I will see you tomorrow again?

Yes. God willing.

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