As we approach Nairobi, the flight tracker information continues to display Local Time as Amsterdam. Local Time at Destination remains stubbornly blank. We are heading to the land time forgot.
Falling out of time.
This falling is mirrored by those who keep saying that they are going to Africa.
Africa? A book one thumbs
Listlessly, till slumber comes.—Countee Cullen, “Heritage”
We arrive anchored in another time and another place. A stark reminder that we do not own our calendars. Our homes are rarely ours.
As of this writing—time is impossible to grasp—we are a little more than 500 miles to our Destination. A still unnamed land that has no time. It can only be known by the time it is not. Local time not Amsterdam time. A simple way to think.
Yet, as Sara Ahmed has taught us, orientations are never simple things. They direct our bodies this way and not that, incline our futures and desires this way and not that. Negate troublesome genealogies.
Our ancestors were Gauls, Césaire recited. They had blond hair and blue eyes.
Africa: still being discovered.
From the un-time of an African destination anchored by Amsterdam time we approach the multiple times of Washington D.C.
Time of Destination Now
Time of Arrival at Destination
Time at Present Location (over the Atlantic)
We enter into Euro-temporal modernity: precise, calculated, imprecise, estimated. We become timely.
Discipline attends this temporal imposition—I prepare to arrive at a clock.
I keep Kenyan hours.
In winter I settle into the U.S., nestle in hypo-allergenic blankets, breathe dry air, wake up to blood-stained sheets.
My first year, I had not yet learned to store winter fat. I burned precious Nairobi reserves. Kimbo, Blueband, Elianto, no match for winter snow, black ice.
My bones learned the shiver variations.
PS: On facebook, I write it is good to be back home.