Ah well! We started from the bottom, reached the top and now we here, which is somewhere in-between the top and the bottom. It isn't a good place to be, but I'm content all the same. I use too many buts these days. I don't think I can help it. Something is always one thing, then another.
Take me for instance. I'm Afam, son of Mama and Papa Afam, acquaintance of many, friend to a few, gifted by birth, and punished by life. It's all so dramatic here, but I imagine that this is why you love me. The words come so painfully tonight. It must have something to do with the fact that I'm watching Little Women on television. I'll labour on for a little while.
I hang out with all sorts these days: vagrants, creative people, designers, industry perps and the like. To them I'm at best a content co-ordinator and at worst a hanger on. When I talk about being a blogger, they make me out to be some gossip monger. I dare not tell them that they over value their own importance, and that the readers of the good dear old blog, are far too refined to care about their daily proclivities. You care about culture - about things that are large enough to stop or start conversation; and you care about me. You do not so much care that Linsday Lohan photoshopped her buttocks on instagram, or that Seyi Shay went grey, then brown, and God knows what else. These things change too quickly for anyone in decent employment to notice.
I cannot bring many of these people home for Papa Afam would despise them the second they set foot in it. He wouldn't quite despise them, but they would be the face of his frustration with me. It's one of the weird things here, what is a successful actor to a self made man like Papa Afam. If it came to a pissing contest, he would ask them how many exams they'd written and they would fail to impress him. They would fail to impress him even if they owned the whole world, because love means seeing those you hold in your heart to better than either you or they can imagine, and Papa Afam loves me.
Last week Sunday, he made us lunch. Please note that his making us lunch isn't a sign of his love, it's a symptom of his indelible sense of duty and propriety. In Papa Afam's mind, it is customary that families sit and eat lunch together on Sundays. We had been slacking on this family tradition, so Papa Afam decided to step into the kitchen to ensure that no-one deviated from the master plan of his perfect Sunday afternoon. I could not bring myself to refuse him. To skip a Papa Afam cooked meal is to dance with disaster and misery. It's the sort of thing that leads to conversations like this,
"Good morning daddy."
"What's good about the morning?"
"Dad, I'm going to Stranger."
"Only a madman would go to a place called Stranger."
"What is this blog of a thing?"
"I don't know really?"
"Why is it called the Ramblings of a Madman? Do you know that people will actually think you're crazy?"
The thing is we're all crazy. I think it's crazy that on Christmas day we had both turkey and duck, and that on New Year's day we killed a Ram. It was great, I loved it, but it's nuts. There's a shanty village not 400 metres from here! That's bonkers no? And last week Sunday, we had Pheasant. I don't even want to tell you how insularly weird that is.
With life the more things seem to change the more you realise that they never did in fact change. We hide our sameness in tales of growth and and lovely things. However the things are always just things, we remain the same underneath.
The other day I was sitting with Mama Afam in the living room upstairs, when a cockroach appeared. Mama Afam couldn't see it because she didn't have her glasses on but that didn't deter her. She walked in the direction of its scuttles and bent toward the floor with squinted eyes. When she saw it, she exclaimed,
"Ah it's a Cockroach!"
She hobbled away to find a good slipper to finish it with but as she returned to do the deed the cockroach took flight.
"Ah!" She screamed.
"It flew! It must be Indian!"
After she'd changed slippers - because Indian cockroaches require different slippers for the killing - and killed the roach, I said,
"Stop this! That's how people will start to suspect that I wasn't born on the Island."
And I wasn't.