Archive for December, 2011

“Mogn ena WereQet”

When we first got a video cassette player, or a “deck” as we called it back home, somebody told my parents that most of the actions in the movie (and they were mostly action movies, “First Blood”, “Five men Army”, “Django”) were done using “camera tricks”. The person didn’t explain further. My parents needed no explanation. And being the ultimate authorities over all forms of entertainment in the house (by way of the buying/borrowing of books, the turning on & off of tvs, rewinding/fast forwarding and translating or ignoring movies – in the case of a certain “f” word, for example. I was 9th grade before I knew what it meant), everything we ever saw on TV after that became the result of “camera tricks”.

The cars (or buildings) that got blown were toy cars or card-board model houses constructed on a table. The “kincha” were men “mawenachefing” their hands to the sound of banging bells and drums. Even the food, they argued, (that food “Wuti”, who end up becoming head “teshekami” for “Abba Billa Wefcho Bett” salivated over every time it came on, and left us discussing future possibilities of foods being delivered through TV-screens) was not really being chewed. All.. were part of the magic of “camera tricking”; lights and angles, sounds and illusions. Smoking mirrors.

And while they sat on the sofa that kids weren’t even allowed to rest their [filthy] arms on, explaining every extraordinary event away, we [sitted in our rightful places – the floor (which we mopped and waxed on Saturday mornings, fired by the promise of the “TalaQ film” that night; which may or may not be a Russian love story; and may or may not be cancelled by my dad’s need to go to sleep early, or some dumb “yeEgir kwas” program ETV decides to transmit at the last minute)] imbibed their outlooks and values along with it. “Rambo”, to my mom, was “Rambo wondu”. Men, [like the father on “The Champ” or little “Birju” on “Mother India”], who wept over the love of a woman or the loss of a childhood or, like the late Luelseged Kumsa, spoke English better than the natives would] were, according to my dad, “over-acting”. My older half-brother Israel called Bruce Lee “Yebir sini”, and not realizing how unpoetic that was, my younger brother Tagel and I made a song and dance out of it.

We watched, we listened, and we went out the next morning and faithfully imitated – the actions, the out looks, the values.

The one thing we watched silently and soaked, like a sponge, into our young psyche [and the one thing nobody told my parents was indeed a “camera trick” of sorts] was … the romance. The romance in movies! We ofcourse knew the hero and heroine can not be lovers, anymore than they can be dying or dead despite playing thus. We weren’t that imbecile—ish. We have also heard, from the authority that introduced the idea of “camera tricks” into the family, that kissing, in America, was like shaking hands. And sex… sex was a really bad idea that kids should scramble to get to the remote control for or denounce sternly as “Siyastelu! Balegewoch!!” if ever a movie was gonne be watched under those roofs.

However, what happened there, between the lovers, between those two, we expected to happen in real life. We assumed women reacted to a touch the way men did. That lovers run in slow motions, in green pastures or across bridges, with hairs blowing and dresses flattering, towards one anoother. That you don’t feel the rain coming down when being kissed by the one you love. That you would actually say a lame line like “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.” and the people, instead of commenting on how cheesy that was, would go “Awwwwww!?”

That’s how, we assumed, the magic of love and love-making went.

We still do.

Happy New European Year, y’all.

December 31, 2011 at 10:21 pm 4 comments

Of guys and hoes*

I am a whore. We are all whores after we hit 30 and there seems to be nothing for us in life except do the things we were supposed to have done and wait for menopause. Wrinkles. Old age. Death.

I’m a whore, an affection whore, because I lust after every man, after his affection. It doesn’t have to be a man I’d like to spend the rest of my days with. It doesn’t have to be a man I’d like to hold hands and watch a movie with. It doesn’t have to be a man who is single, in anyway likable, of age. If he’s a man and he’s talking to me and smiling, I start drawing all these scenarios in which he’d come again tomorrow, pretending to wanna buy something, stopping by my register to say hi, say “Remember me?”.

He’d leave me his number or ask for my number. Hang around till I am free to talk to him, to warm him with my rays [of intelligence, wit, sense of humor. The sunshine of my smile]. I imagine him going out and going to his car and waiting restlessly, to see me come out. I see him trying to “meet me accidently” at the store – down the street from where I work – where I stop-by every day, more out of habit than the refrigerator being less full. [Not that that’s ever stopped me from carrying plastic bags after plastic bags of grocery which I take home, and consume, watching TV, reading an article on the internet, chatting with younger siblings back home.]

I’m a whore in that a five minute’s talk with a customer who seems to have found me interesting, smiled looking into my eyes, probably told me I have a cute accent/a nice smile/a singsong voice, would make me go without sleep. I toss and turn, on my futon bed, infront of my TV, toss and turn half the night wondering how he’s gonne do it. How he’s gonne appear in my life tomorrow. How it would feel like to kiss him, kiss that face of his which seems to have worn out from over thinking, appearing in and out of my vision – now clearly, now not. I keep rerunning our conversations in my head. I keep seeing how it would go when he comes next time. I start making up stories, stories that kept my imagination occupied and my ears full when, once…long time ago, my father was abusing my mother – both physically and verbally – all. through.the.night. Stories so well thought-off and so personal, so real I end up covered in tears in the telling of them. Stories of how a relationship would be built, how a budding lotus of love would sprout, how a mistake would be made, how somebody leaves, and then comes back — pulled by a memory, a dream, a heart-string.

I’m a whore because he doesn’t come the next day. Or the next. And when he does come, he’s either with his girlfriend, or his boyfriend, or pays at the next counter, or has completely forgotten me that he won’t even say “Heyyy, you are down here today!?”.

I’m a whore in that I never learn.

Another customer would come the next day. You’d start talking, because you are supposed to. Make them feel at home, comfortable, known – personally. And you’d think you got him until he throws his arm in despair to show why he’s hanging around the register. “She isn’t ready yet!” he’d say, smiling exasperatly. She would soon appear, all bustling, smiles and brown hair. Confident, demure, white. “Honey..?!”, she’d pout, as if the few minutes they’ve spent apart was an intentional desertion from him. She’d then walk to his side, seemingly unaware of the perfect picture they make, and show him something she knew, simply knew, would be perfect somewhere in their nest.

You’d continue to smile, say a warm Hi, comment on her light colored sweater, her Scarlett-O’Hara hair-do, little baby-blue in the trolley. When they have finally made up their minds [after one of them had run back and forth through the aisles to grab or put some piece of junk back], joked and laughed about her inability to resist temptation, his baseball card collection [a lost cause he’s hoped little blue there would one day inherit and go to college with the profits from, until they started to manufacture them in millions or everybody was collecting them], you start punching the numbers.

You are folding their merchandize, taking the tags out and reaching for a plastic bag while the printer spits stringed piece of papers, when he says “Can you give me a bag please?”, motioning to where your hands are striving to reach. “Sure”, you’d say, instead of ask him what on God’s mother-fucking-earth he thinks you were trying to do. “Here you go,” you’d add cheerfully, handing the stuff out, “Thank you, sir. Mum. Enjoy the rest of your day.


* Disclaimer: The feelings depicted in this post are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.

December 30, 2011 at 1:15 am 8 comments

Going down in history 4 DUMMIES

I’ve been hearing this song, hither and thither, for sometime now. If Shakespeare were alive and been walking down 5th avenue last night, and heard the Carolers the way i did (with their heavenly voices and unaffected-by-cold-weather-and/or-rude-gaffs faces) he’d go all “old Gowery” on it and recite how:

It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves and holy-ales;
And lords and ladies in their lives
Have read it for restoratives:


I am no world reknowned dead poet-ess, but I know people well. And the way i heard men with thick [country-sounding] voices singing it, there seems to be pride and joy in the telling of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer’s, story. When I say heard, I am ofcourse not saying I have been able to hear and understand all the lines in the song. I never can with english songs (except for Tracey Chapman’s; and only because her voice isn’t dwarfed by bells and whistles of the music department at the back). Still my senses have scouted something “fishy” in it, a faulty sounding reasoning – so to say, a dangerous teaching masquerading as a soul-less all-is-well-that-ends-well story for one reindeer born with an unfortunately shiny glowy bright red nose.

A couple of minutes ago, i manned up and googled it: first the song, then the story behind the song and the person behind the story. And, sure enough, I saw my keen and reliable senses for bullcrap haven’t deceived me. This was one song Bertie Wooster would have labeled “a stinker”. A bad apple that has been fed western kids (and some Ethiopian girls too) for generations. How you can’t be accepted by your peer groups, won’t be allowed to join in their games, or “go down in history”, unless you’ve been loved, courted or in the service of someone that matters. Like Santa Claus, for example!. And, yes, they call it a Christmas Song. And, yes, they force them wee ones to sing it along. And to think .. to think!!.. I’ve been wondering if “Santa Baby” wasn’t a little too graphic for a holiday “mezmur” meant to celebrate the birth of wittle-lil-baby Jesus!

Think about it!!!

The song (for those who do not know it) (more…)

December 25, 2011 at 3:19 am 1 comment

Transition (?): My 1 woman show

“You are frightened of everything. You call it caution. You call it common sense. You call it practicality. You call it playing the odds, but that’s only because you’re afraid to call it by its real name, and its real name is fear.” – Mick Farren (Darklost)


December 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm 6 comments

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The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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December 2011

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