Cell phones and grinding millet
I went out to Red Hawk for gin & tonics with Dawn Fisher and her partner Kate last night. Kate used to be in the Peace Corps in Gambia.
Kate said that a lot of people there have cell phones, and how ironic it is to be working in the fields with rather primitive farm tools (by Western standards) and hear somebody's goofy ring tone.
"They still grind their millet by hand, but they have European cell phones that completely outclass American cellphones."
We decided that Africans will rule the future, because they aren't stuck in old traditions. The concept of paper and pen were completely skipped over there. We're still hading out receipts in triplicate: the white copy is for me, the yellow copy is for you, the pink copy is for accounting.
They probably find our antiquated ways amusing, our massive filing cabinets, our paper manufacturers, our printing industry. Carbon paper? Laser printers? They laugh and order a new millet-grinding stone on Ebay and then pay with their Pay Pal account.
Kate's mom was demonstrating some dog training techniques in Howell, and Kate and Dawn were in attendence. Everyone introduced themselves.
"Hi, I'm Kate, my mom is running the demonstration."
Dawn wasn't sure how to introduce herself. "Hi, I'm Dawn, and I'm here with Kate."
Kate's mom adds: "Kate and Dawn share dogs."
They felt it was a breakthrough of sorts. I think it's a poignant moment.
The Ice Man
I walked home around 9:30pm last night and cut through Argo Park, as usual. Argo Pond is completely frozen over. The Huron River north of the dam is frozen over as well. A few nights ago someone had put up some ice monoliths of sorts, and an ice archway.
Last night I saw a figure moving on the ice. I walked out towards him. "Hello! So you're the one who builds the ice sculptures!"
He turned around. It was an older black man, all bundled up, with a huge gray beard. "What? Oh, yes, yes, I made these." He had a soft voice, and a shy and quiet demeanor.
"What do you use to cut the ice?" I asked.
"Oh, I have a chainsaw," he said. "You see, you try to make pillars. But the wind, the wind does whatever she wants. Sometimes you come back, and the pillars are broken and toppled over. You can take the pieces and build other things with them, like that arch, or that wall over there. But what you really want to make is pillars."
Of course! What you really want to make is pillars!
I wished him luck.
I ate a banana and two tangerines yesterday. I'm in Michigan. It's fourteen degrees Farenheit outside, and I'm eating tropical fruit. Medieval kings didn't have it this good. I am living in the lap of luxury. May I never forget that.