Archive for December, 2012

Ghana in Reverse (Three)

Posted in GFYS, Literary Masterpieces, Loves, Rants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2012 by ccartlidge

It’s late November, give or take. Everything seems to be coming full circle with the annoying, early morning atmospheric noise. (It’s a good thing I’ve compensated for this.) Three political parties in Ghana have been campaigning for a while and the elections happen on December 7th. Political campaigns in Ghana are less like the unconscionable American television advertisements and more like parades starting at 6 am, consisting of trucks with giant speakers blasting Hiplife and followed by excited supporters. On Sundays these are preceded by the Jesus Parades as well. I leave Ghana just a day before the election, which of course means that I will miss it. No matter, the incumbent always wins (even if the incumbent happens to have died in office).

Ghana is an extremely religious country, so religious in fact that to be gay is illegal. The organization maintains that it is secular, and this is one of the reasons I was comfortable taking the job. I’ve found that this is not strictly true. Every staff meeting starts and ends with a prayer. Every. Single. Damned. One. I shouldn’t have to state that this really pisses me off (this really pisses me off), but I decided a few months ago that I would not go out of my way to explain my opposition to the practice unless pressed, as I have enough problems without people chasing me with pitchforks machetes. A few times I was asked to lead one, which I deflected without incident. However, I did decide that it would be great fun to do the last prayer, at my last staff meeting, just for shits and giggles. Coincidentally, this is the only staff meeting that didn’t have even one. Well played.

There’s no nutritious food, no distractions, no box wine, and I still haven’t been lucky enough to go more than a day or two without crying. I’m drinking my dinner in the form of awful whiskey cut with a lot of water and eating Laughing Cow cheese with awful wheat crackers. (I hate that bejeweled bovine. She laughs at us, not with us. Hideous cow.) At least I’m eating wheat crackers and not those cheap Chinese butter crackers that occasionally have something foreign embedded in them. I daydream about Broccoli.

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Ghana in Reverse (Two)

Posted in GFYS, Literary Masterpieces, Loves, Note to Self, Rants with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2012 by ccartlidge

This last week has simultaneously been the worst and best. The shit finally hit the fan. I am relieved and looking forward to the day I stop torturing myself. I’ve been in my head for months, more than is habitual even for me, and it’s hard to tell what’s real and what isn’t. It’s horrifying. Any self-respecting overthinker is conscious of overthinking, and conscious of the high that results from the occasional desperate sprint through a labyrinth, but I’ve turned around so much as to have lost my bearings and I’m afraid that I’ve allowed myself to become ridiculously lost. High, but lost.

I like to think that I’m good at reading people. That may be true, but if it is, it is certainly also true that I’m a bit of a masochist. Ever since studio taught me how to see, I’ve seen that I am bored and frustrated by that which doesn’t at least acknowledge the sick beauty of dichotomy. Being absolutely sure is idiotic, which I realize is hypocritical coming from someone who enjoys having strong opinions, but I enjoy being an idiot because, after all, I’m smart enough to know that I am, in fact, an idiot but perhaps not quite smart enough to always be able to tell what is self-aware and what isn’t. I suppose it’s always been true that most things aren’t, including me. I’m disappointed and simultaneously smug.

I feel gross, and even grosser because I got exactly what I thought I wanted. At least now I know what I don’t want, which is a step forward unfortunately.

There are a few people I want to send a care package to when I get back to the States, but I’m not sure if they even print porn dirty enough to be worth it. Who buys porn anymore? No one. The internet killed the centerfold.

Ghana in Reverse (One)

Posted in GFYS, Literary Masterpieces, Loves, Rants with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2012 by ccartlidge

A little background: I’m planning on doing a whole series of posts about everything I’ve learned living in Ghana. Now I realize that this is going to be more time-consuming than I had originally imagined, as I’m still learning it, and more difficult, as I’m in a decent mood today and most of my creative energy comes from extremes. Unfortunately, I just happened to see a No Reservations about Ghana [I have a bone to pick with Anthony Bourdain, that man did not address exactly how he felt about the delicacy Fufu, which is a damned travesty. I do not like or even understand Fufu although it is kind of fascinating to watch it being made], so now I’m dedicated to writing another post. I have to start somewhere and don’t want to write anything that is entirely devoid of value. Twisty brain tells me that the solution to this is to write about my time there in reverse, and I’m going to start with the two days I didn’t sleep while travelling back from Ghana to the US.

It’s December 6th. It’s 5:30 AM in Ghana, but it’s 7:30 AM at the airport in Istanbul where I’m sitting, waiting for my plane back to the States. I didn’t sleep on the plane from Accra to Istanbul, because I never sleep on planes and there were so many movies in that silly box on the seat in front of me, so I had two glasses of red wine and watched Sherlock Holmes, The First Wives Club, and Beetlejuice instead. I’m now sitting at a bar, drinking light beer and waiting for a Turkish coffee (Turkish coffee might be the manliest coffee). Yes, I’m drinking coffee and beer. Fuck it, I’ve already had breakfast and since it seems like I’m still in the midst of a two-year, third-life crisis thing, I might as well go for it. The airport is practically the only fucking place you can drink without judgement at any time of day. It’s probably safe to say that no one sitting in this bar with me now feels like it’s 7:30 AM. We could be from anywhere. (On a side note, I just found a 20 Pesewa coin in my DVD drive, which I hope is the reason I couldn’t play DVDs). I’m tired.

Exposition Upon Death

Posted in GFYS, Literary Masterpieces, Loves, Note to Self, Rants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2012 by ccartlidge

It has only been a few days since I moved back from Ghana. In retrospect, time seems to have passed disturbingly quickly (which isn’t surprising, as they say that about practically everything).

It seems like a dream that manifests in the midst of the rising action, leaving me to fabricate the introduction, scramble to prepare for the climatic action, and then it ends so quickly that the conclusion seems not to exist at all and I still have no idea whether this dream was a comedy or a tragedy. Or nightmare, as it were. I suppose the truth is that it is both, because everything is, and it would seem so obvious as to be stupid, if it wasn’t also so complicated.

I may have learned more about human nature in the past year than I’ve learned in the previous 28 and I’ve certainly learned that the dramatic arc only exists, unadulterated, in a fabricated drama.

Endings are for the dead.