Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Post Titled: Afrikanische Mann der neben mir sass

I sat next to a guy from Ghana on the flight from Minneapolis/St.Paul to Amsterdam yesterday. At first a drunken New Jersey gangsterish-figure with a black suit with white pinstripes and a white tie, huffing-grunting impatient demeanor and cartoon voice - he sat in the wrong seat next to me.
THe guy from Ghana came in an politely stood there asking which seat was 30-C, thus causing the gangster to huff and get out of his seat, grumbling.

At first the african guy was restless- for the first hour or so he was shifting constantly, elbowing me in the arm and ribs unapologetically while squirming in his seat.

Everyone had little tvs in the backs of the seats in front of them but the system had somehow been scrambled- it looked as it does when a DVD gets scratched- sometimes portions of the screen are overlayed with japanese "how to use the Remote Control" text that will not go away.

I did manage to access most of the classical music selections- Ravel and Rachmaninov being my favorites, but then the menu got too scrambled, random and unnavigable. I would choose to watch Garden State and end up with "Marky" Mark Wahlberg in Shooter. It was hopeless. Would we actually have to entertain ourselves for 9 hours???, horrors.

When the drink cart came by I got a little bottle of red and the african guy asked:
"Is this a good wine?"
"Uh- Yea, it is alright-"

"May I see the bottle?" (inspecting it) "Whoo-wee! 12% alcohol, my goodness, I would be rolling on the floor!"
"Oh, yea- I suppose that is a lot of alcohol..."
An hour later we begin talking and it turns out he is headed to Brusels to get a passport for his wife, they have been married 8 years. I mention that I am getting married on the 17th.
"Let me tell you- everything you think about marriage, love adn happiness and sex just forget about all that, it is a great struggle, man, but you must work together, you must listen to the woman -really listen to her- and you must also have money, there needs to be security in the relationship, and you will fight, but it is not a sinful thing, but it will happen. The woman knows, you know, she is very intellegent- she knows what she needs for herself and you both."
I mention that we have been living together for 9 months now and have been dating on adn off for 9 years- so I think we have a solid foundation.
He grew up in France and now works in a pharmacy in Minnesota while studying to be a lab technician- he is very hansom and has a calm, collected stare but is missing a few teeth in the front which is a bit distracting.
"Man, I tell you- I was in Mississippi and Missouri and the people are just - well, you can feel the way they look at you, they are pretty racist. My friend lives down there and I can't imagie how he does it. I also went to New York for one day and everyone there was crazy, I don't know how they an live there."
I attempt a defense of New York and Los Angeles for their quintessential best-thing-about-Americannessess in that people from all over the world come there, work hard and can suceed, but of the SOuth: "Yea... they probably cling to some old ideas and ways of life that are better left behind."
He talks about hoping that he will be able to bring his wife over and I (in an exhausted an practically euphoric state) am almost in tears absorbing every work and expression, he is so genuine...
After we had talked for a few hours and then the media movie system fame back online. I suggested that he watch "I think I love my Wife" and after flipping through and watching the first 5 minutes of half a dozen films he did finally go back to watch I Think I Love My Wife and laughed- oh, wow, how he laughed a high-pitched girly laugh that at first caused everyone to look over to see what was wrong. He kept curling up in a ball in his seat with his hands over his mouth laughing this laugh and I just smiled and slumped into my seat as Marky Mark was framed for attempting to assinate the President.
When the plane landed I had intended to say goodbye but we got lost in the shuffle.
Good luck to him.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Matthew said...

Married on the 17th, eh? I had to break this gently to my lived-with-for-9-months-or-so, known and waited for for 10 years girlfriend... I'll be back in Germany for my birthday right around then; congratulations!

Matthew
msatkins@bust.com

5:49 pm  

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