There is no radio, but that doesn’t really matter because Danielle leads us into a singing fest of top-of-charts sing alongs from the 80s, 90s, and the new millennium. I don’t think any of us have ingested a drop of alcohol yet, but we are as rowdy as a hunting party on horseback in the English olden days.
Tonight, Ian, Michelle, Risette, Katrien, Andreas, Megan, Andy, Hillary, Danielle, and I festoon our way to Ollie’s, the most gourmet digs around. The bosses split off and leave the big kids ’round a table all our lonesome, and feasting on pear and gorgonzola pasta, complete with a glass of rouge, oh my, I marvel at how amazing and validating it is to be surrounded by people from so many different places and walks of life with so much in common.
Never before–well, maybe with the exception of my Patycake–have I shared with a table of unknowns, essentially, my desire to eventually adopt children–yes, mom and dad, and have a biological one or two, too–and been met with a round of understanding nods for that is also their dream. That is just one example of many, for we also share very similar ideas regarding animals and the environment, hence, I imagine, our attraction to Daktari.
It’s refreshing, being surrounded by people who share my values and who, unlike some of my peers back home, find it perfectly normal to quit one’s job and travel the world. I found this support, this new social norm, prevalent throughout the circle of travelers and voyagers, and oh my god, does this validation feel good! Instead of running against the grain, I find myself encased in a cocoon of can do, will do, must do motivation to see the world, run naked under the sun, and generally speaking, dare to live life to the beat of my own personal drum, which admittedly, is nice to temper with a loving and grounding family, who I have the pleasure of getting news from that my dad passed his accounting exam and my brother is now gainfully employed again!
I think this is why it’s not quite so shocking, then, when Danielle announces that there’s a lot of rapeage in Africa as the local dog tries to mount her umpteenth glass of wine–Katrien karate chopped the other two–while we sit and listen to Carla’s–an ex-Daktwri volunteer–smooth, silky remixes of bygone Americana.
Nor is anyone really that befuddled when Michelle, our designated driver, tells the police officer conducting nightly controls in her delightful French accent–
“Good evening, officer. I haven’t killed anyone yet.”
Followed with, while handing a card to the cop–
“Is this my Driver’s License? I can’t see.”
Carry on, folks. All’s completely normal here.