Moments when you know you’re on your own:
The show was called Le chibani – a word meaning The Old Man or The Ancient One. A tale of an Algerian worker in France, told with a fine sense of irony. Most of the audience was of Algerian origin, and laughed at absurdities they recognized. Laughed at some of the Arabic asides. Clapped along to the music. Well and good.
At the end of the performance, the actor took questions from the audience. His childhood in Marseille, his father’s life, etc.
He’s winding up, about to leave the stage. A woman says: “I didn’t understand everything because you spoke in Arabic at times.”
Duh, the performer doesn’t say. Tries to answer without calling the woman a dummy. She insists. She missed a whole lot of the show because he spoke Arabic.
Round-eyed, I look at the woman sitting next to me. “She’s right,” she says. If I had come with my children, they would have complained.”
The woman who was sitting next to me teaches in a Lycée. She’s an active participant in social and environmental events.
There are levels of obtuseness I fail to understand. My one consolation: despite every other aggravation, the life choices I’ve made spare me much worse comments at the table of some fine exemplars of racism and bigotry as ingrown as a toenail. If their tongues were loose with venom a few years ago, I can well imagine the vileness served up along with the good food and fine wines now.
Bread pudding. People filled with doubts. People willing to let go of the shoreline. Long stretches of alone time. The only constant: nothing ever plays out as expected, and humor isn’t for the fainthearted.