I made a new friend tonight. I don’t think we are friends from his perspective. However, to me, he is memorable and therefore gets the title automatically. His name is something like Meriem. He is from Eritrea. We kind of made friends because in the all white expat bar which is my kind of local, he walks tall, claims a seat wherever he likes, and drinks the same Skol beer as everyone around him, despite the fact that no one ever speaks to him or acknowledges his existence.
To cut a marginally drunk night short, we talked and agreed upon the fact that we both hate the world and would both like nothing more than to be just left alone with a small piece of land. Then I said I would like a gun to protect my piece of imaginary land. And then me and Meriem had our first (and possibly only) argument.
Apparently, in Eritrea many people once thought that having a gun would be a good way to safeguard an investment in private property. Then a kind of chaos descended where guns became the in thing for everyone protecting everything from property to religious and political ideals. Then you just get bloodshed, paranoia concerning who has the most guns, and an actual farmer who didn’t have enough guns in the end, working for $3 an hour in a country where no one but the odd Englishman with bad hair will ever talk to you.
(The odd Englishman was me).
Now, tonight was the first night I have ‘been out’ for nearly a year. For most of the past year, I have literally sat, worked, and saved enough to get away to somewhere else. In retrospect, I’ve distanced myself from my immediate world on purpose, so I don’t continually experience nights like this evening.
I want my own adventure. However, whenever I resubmerge, myself in the real world, I always come away with the same problem. I see other people. I end a chance meeting with a sense of “wow, there’s more going on here.” And when I try to go back to plans to leaving, I feel ashamed of myself for attempting to run toward what is really my own sense of self-preservation.
All the above being the case, the decision I will soon have to make is a simple one. Do I just try to keep on selfishly ignoring a world of other peoples stories around me? Then leave. Or do I decide to be here and start finding a way to make a noise about some of the things I see every day?
The choice might seem easy but the world we live in is a political hand grenade. One stray opinion and boom goes your career. In this case, what would you choose? Convenience or Danger?