Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Shirt On My Back

Somewhere around 4am I awoke in disbelief that a day at the office awaited me.  The first workday of 2011.  A day that comes after Lamu and Nairobi and ideas about change and resistance.

I kept staring at the clock on my cell as if to wish it away but the seconds counted down to yet another existential what the hell am I doing behind that desk implosion.

A decision arrived after a welcome back email from a desk higher than mine.  The attached directive is what got me going not the feigned pleasantries.

An urgent action was needed to meet a deadline coming up faster than a speeding BMW driven by an affirmed government official of the post-race kind.

The yank on my chain was hard enough.  I felt it in my soul. 

I remembered a moment from my childhood when my dad looked at me and said that a career professional would not have to worry about where the money would come from or whether a job was permanent or not.

That is what I heard in the dark days of apartheid and I remember even closer that he said something about having enough to put a shirt on my back.

I was about 12 then.  The lines and intent of that exchange are lost in the big gestures of that uncertain time and this one too.

There are no certainties.  He must have known that but wanted my life to be more than his uncertainty.

But I am done confusing certainty with forever and especially done with expecting to meet my expectations.

This morning I was done with being a head.  And definitely done with trying to get ahead. All I want now is my head.

At least that part I am certain of.  For now.

I want to go back to thinking for the love of thinking.  Back to the classroom of ideas and away from flow charts and boxed descriptions that culminate in a salary slip.  Nothing more.

So I must pass on the forms and assessments and inputs and outputs.  I am not even decided on what the next five minutes may hold so to hell with the next five years.  

My head is mine.  And I have enough shirts to last for a while.

Onward!

4 comments:

Dade said...

Brother, you can't imagine how close to home this post hits for me.

Glad to see you're back to posting.

Keep the faith.

PS. If you have any insights on the situation in Cote d'voire, I'd love to hear them.

Happy New Year!

Ridwan said...

Hey there Dade! Thanks for the comment brother.

I'm happy that you hear me on this post ... thought I was going a little nuts thinking about it after posting.

The situation in Ivory Coast is worrying for the democratization of the continent. Gbagbo is playing old African politics. The kind that has him paying off the military to keep him in power.

I read yesterday that he is promising a peaceful resolution to the dispute.

Quattara's camp is confused by what this means.

He is buying time most likely. Playing dirty politics including making reference to the fact that Quattara is a Muslim.

Some in Gbagbo's camp claim that Quattara is seeking to 'Islamify' the the Ivory Coast.

They ignore his secular politics and of course the fact that he won the election.

What a circus? I worry that if things are not settled we may see the kind of violence that tore Kenya apart in 2007/08 after their disputed election.

The African Union needs to empower ECOWAS to remove Gbagbo and do so soon.

Even the real threat of such an action may lead him to step down.

Just my 2.5 cents worth from Pretoria.

Peace my brother.

Ridwan

Aasia said...

I had a similar epiphany. Small bites for me though.
It will happen!

Ridwan said...

Salaam Aasia:

I wish you only the best as you make your way to the big bite.

One of the good insights Marx had on capitalized work was that it created alienation.

He was right but may have even underestimated the depth of the zombie effect it presses.

Be well sista,
ridwan