In Nairobi this summer, I met a friend of a friend. He is a long-time expat, doing good deeds in East Africa. We’ll call him the Dude, since that is precisely who he reminded me of. The Dude spends every weekend he can surfing near Mombasa. He grows his own potent marijuana behind the guarded gates of the compound where he and other expatriates live in the Nairobi hills. He has a fat aging black Labrador Retriever and an even older, nearly blind Rhodesian Ridgeback.
One night, my friends and I went out to dinner with the Dude at an Ethiopian restaurant near the American embassy. Several Tusker Malts in, we arrived on the subject of my career meanderings. I’m a lawyer, but I quit my job because I didn’t feel like myself in my work. Or more specifically, because going to my lawyer job every day typically started with tears of dread on the subway train. Tears of sheer bewilderment as to how I ended up in a profession wherein none of the skills I like to use are particularly valued. I wanted to do something more creative, but I couldn’t figure out what. The Dude, after contemplating my predicament in silence, asked, “Do you play any instruments?” I replied sadly, “No.” More silence; more contemplation; a sip of Tusker Malt. He asked, “Do you paint or draw?” I replied, “Yes.” He answered, “Well, there you go.” Well, there I go, indeed.
Yesterday when I was walking home from a friend’s apartment, lyrics from a Peter Bjorn & John song resonated: “I laugh more often now, I cry more often now, I am more me.” It’s the truth! This blog is about documenting my projects in the course of becoming more me.