Archive for The Queen
Sri Lanka Part Eight
It was in the town of Hali-ela, where I thought I’d lost the car keys but had them in my pocket, where I had bought packets of spices that I really did lose and never cooked with, that we turned west, away from Badulla, up into hill country.
A sundried man gave driving directions: it would be two and a half hours, he said.
But the A5 — it’s an A-Class road.
“It is thirty-two miles,” he articulated, too much like a soothsayer reading a bad omen.
“Okay, fifty kilometers.”
“Yes. Thirty-two miles.”
“So… about fifty kilometers.”
“Yes. Thirty-two miles.”
Three and-a-half hours later, we were there. If you are ever in Hali-ela, you mustn’t argue with the man outside the appa stand.
Since time immemorial, men and boys have long relished hitting balls with sticks. Satisfaction and accomplishment have no exemplar more pure than the moment of contact between ball and stick. With his first alphabet, man drafted rulebooks to institutionalize stick ball-hitting in rites like Rounders, which left the Queen’s isles on a boat to make its fame in the New World as Baseball. But before all of this, there was Cricket.
With this in mind, I set out for my first ever cricket match, a benefit for the victims of the floods in Pakistan and contested between the struggling Pakistani national team and the physically much larger squad from South Africa. It was green against light green.
Somehow, in my years of curiosity about “the sport Baseball made more interesting,” I had never been able to learn the rules. But there at the pitch, tutored by a well-traveled American, I had it down in five minutes. And immediately, I knew what was wrong.
محمد و محمد و احمد Mohammed, Mohammed, And Ahmed — “او “لن تجتاج الى هذه هنا Or, “You Won’t Need These In Here”
Sunday morning and the start of a new work week found me taking old business cards, restaurant coupons, and pharmacy memberships out of my wallet like someone checking into prison. You won’t need these in here.
I put them in a desk drawer only to be reopened upon my departure, my return to a world where “Duane Reede” and “Amtrak” actually mean something, where “Queens” is just a word for a place, and where plurals are made just by adding an “s”.
And in this new world of office hustle and bustle, I can’t help but notice that adding an “s” to deadlines makes deadliness. Having too much to do is deadly — it says so right in the English language.