Here's a story of a crazy Saturday when all I wanted was a burger.
I've discovered a great little eatery masquerading as a normal pizza joint. The food has been great every time I have gone and the burgers are JUICY!
Having not seen a particular friend in several weeks, we thought it would be agreeable to take her there for lunch and have an hour or two catching up.
Our friend arrived in a car with a guy and we got in, did a dramatic u-turn away from where we wanted to eat and sped off up the road, cutting corners and burning red lights.
The driver hands me his phone saying someone wants to speak to me. The man on the 'phone says; ' You will come to our school. We celebrate poetry. You are very welcome.' No burger then, I think.
We arrive at a swish building full of people dressed to the 9's. We are in jeans and I haven't washed my hair since travelling the week before because I got home to find the water heater was dead.
We sit round a cramped table. I try to make conversation in Arabic with the lady next to me; 'Are you all teachers here?' 'No.' End of conversation.
We finish the salad and along comes the whole goat. I'm not good at eating flesh off animals that still have eyes that can glare at me in an accusatory manner. Its teeth clunk on my glass as it is placed on the table. We eat. I attempt conversation; 'Are you from this town?' 'No.'
We are put in another car with two guys we don't know and our friend. She says we are going somewhere else now. To my mind this is unnecessary clarification. What I want to ask is what on earth is going on. I resist, as conversing has not worked too well for me so far today.
We arrive at an event to celebrate poetry. We sit for 40 minutes after its programmed start time waiting for...who knows, really? We politely enjoy two hours of poetry, song and dance in an Arabic we do not understand.
Attempt to leave #1:
A poet is signing books and people are milling around so we decide to slip out. Our friend begs us to stay ten minutes until refreshments are served, 'just for me?'
Attempt to leave #2:
After half an hour, at least, we gather our things but our escape route is blocked as someone comes and asks me to recite a poem. There are a good 250 people there. Well, it's not a burger but of course I want to read poetry. They get some TS Eliot.
Attempt to leave #3:
After I've sat down and people have mostly stopped staring at me, we stand and edge towards the door. Our exit is arrested by a gentleman who says we cannot go now because 'we have a song we want to dedicate to you'.
We give up on making our own choices, any prospect of a burger and end the day shaking our heads, laughing and wondering what just happened to us.
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