Sunday, February 18, 2007

George and I

BC -

The other day I finally managed to meet George. He is a man of 57 years old from the USA. I have heard about him from a colleague who praised him as ‘different from the rest’.

So we have invited him to a late lunch around 3 pm – in our timing this is quite normal lunch. And George was promised to try Kubat Hamudh; they’re rice pasta honed into small circular shapes; rolled and stuffed with minced diced meat and cooked in somewhat tangy tomato paste. They’re delicious!

George, who wore a baseball cap and is armed with a high-pitched voice, cannot be called obese but he is rather a huge and sturdy log. He seemed quite happy to be amongst us. And when the food was served I grabbed a chair and made myself comfortable next to his in order to be able to explore him.

George, who works for a contracting company, said he was American but from ‘back east’! Which was quite puzzling. And when I enquired about ‘back east’ he said most Americans are proud of their east coast origin. He says that long ago he’s ‘moved out west’ and got married and then got an ugly divorce.

He later settled in California and bought himself a house and remarried. When I asked him about his family and relatives he was taken aback a bit. He said some stayed home (he meant back east) and others ‘moved around somewhere’! And as George carried on I realized that he always refers to people he knows as ‘some one I ran into’ or ‘some one I used to know’ or ‘that guy I met’!! And I wondered did he ever have a real friend?

He later spoke of his daughter that ‘moved down’ to Florida to work for a real estate office and got married there.

George had the opportunity too to work ‘down in Mexico’ and; also, in a place, which is ‘all the way over’ in Panama.

As time progressed I realized that I just could not figure him out. There is this man who is American but from back east. Moved out west and got an ugly divorce. His family moved around somewhere and his friends are either people he ran into or he used to know!!

George is an ace in what’s going on in both Las Vegas and Reno (apparently it is another gambling place) He knows all the hotels names and their proprietors! His face lit up when he expounded, for half an hour, his endeavors in those two cities. And to be frank I lost him there.

George loved ‘this good stuff’ – Kubat Hamudh, which reminded him of some Turkish food he tried long ago; and when I explained to him that some of our cuisines are derived from Turkish origins he said ‘really, I’ll be damned’!!

When the Iraqi tea was served I began to sympathize with George. It must be hard living like that, and I honestly was looking for ways to make him talk about some nice things that he has done in his life. And when I asked him what does he do when he wants to relax he said he would ‘get away from it all’ and leaves his wife at home and ‘travels up north’ with his dog to fish in a lake by the name of Tahoe. And when I asked him why go there all alone he said so he could have a piece of mind! Which it turned out to be even sadder and it felt so creepy.

When George left I thought what if the Iraqis would lead a life similar to that of George with no families, relatives or friends in Iraq? and I said no way. And then I suddenly realized that we have in fact commenced to live just like George! And I laughed bitterly and I said in English ‘I’ll be damned’!

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