Monday, June 27, 2011

Careening...

"Careening," I thought putting the New Yorker down on my lap. That is the word for what we are doing right now - in this taxi - through the hills above Nairobi. Careening. Under the heavy grey sky, over these pot-holed roads, between the jungle threatening to come over the garden walls.

It struck me as funny - or funny enough to stop reading a magazine - that the word just came to me like that. After so many months of having no words pop into my head to describe anything. After years of not having really anything to write. Having no words compose themselves in my head. One just pops up. Just like that.

Careening.

I guess we are all careening in life - which is a great metaphor for life if, in the words of someone famous, you're stupid enough to want more metaphors for life - careening along roads on high mountain cliffs, over hills, being shifted in our seats from side to side by bumps and turbulence. We rarely, if ever, just stay perfectly still. Not even when we're asleep. We're never still.

Which is what I am doing at the moment as I write this. I am lying perfectly still and writing in my head which is kept immobile by a cage so that a thunderous machine can take pictures of my brain.

I wonder what they will look like, these pictures. I wonder if they will find worms in my brain, as a doctor friend of mine suggested they might. "Good to rule out tape worm in brains and things," she said sounding as effervescent as a doctor can be who works in Sudan. Or, maybe they'll find that it's just ticking along perfectly normally quite pleased to have its picture taken - finally - after all those years with the face getting all the attention. I'd like to say that I carried on wondering about these things but, in fact, I did not. My mind melted into a stream on consciousness that went a little something like this:

- How is it possible that they cannot create dentist drill and MRI machines that are silent?...
- Seriously, they have created a machine that sounds like someone is working on the machine while it is in use...
- It's like listening to a car alarm that the owner can't shut off...
- There's actually kind of a rhythm to it...
- That sounds like the first three chords in Beatles, Revolution...
- Now that one sounds like the beginning of Art of Noise's, Peter Gunn Theme...
- Now that one sounds like one of the songs from Fantasia...but which one? The one where the mushrooms are dancing...
- Oh, it's gone all quiet. And here's a little man injecting me with something to 'contrast' my brain or something. It could be poison for all I know. What if it is poison? ...
- Why is he talking to me about South Sudan politics? I can't hear right and I'm being poisoned..

And that was just the first half an hour. There was another half an hour to which I will not subject you but suffice it to say that when one has to remain perfectly still one can find an awful lot of things to write about. But luckily for you, and for me, the hour ended. And I got out of the care and up off the table and had nothing in my head to put down on paper. I went out and got in a taxi and careened back home.