Friday, April 24, 2015


I don't know how many times I have seen kids who climb up a tree or rooftop, when it suddenly dawns on them that they can't get down. Self preservation steps in and they realize before making a fatal mistake that they can't really fly.
You would think that by the time I got to University I would have outgrown this phenomenon but that wasn't the case when a popular Congolese band (I believe it was Franco with his TP OK Jazz Band) brought a show to Makerere in the 80s. The Quadrangle at which the show was booked was full even before the warm-up artists had started to play. There was barely any standing room when we arrived so I followed a group of friends to a window and somehow managed to negotiate the climb to the roof. We had the best view in the house and the mood was fantastic as we watched, danced and sipped warm beers through a straw (Don't ask: It was a Kampala thing in the early 80s to drink warm beer out of a bottle with a straw.)
Everything went well until the the end of the show when people started clearing out and we realized we could not remain perched on top of the building for the rest of the night. After a festive night with plenty of warm beer, it simply did not seem possible to get down without breaking something. I stood up there with my friends, tipsy and panicking from an acute attack of vertigo. There was no help on the way as those below us seemed unaware or unconcerned about our plight.
To this day I don't quite remember how we finally negotiated our way back to the ground after what seemed like an eternity, but I was quite sure then that no artist, no matter how good, would have enticed me to climb up that rooftop again.

At 50 I know that sometimes we soar to high places where we enjoy a fantastic perspective on life but we should also prepare a safe path back to the where our perspective on life is average yet secure and closer to reality.
feeling safe.

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