There seems to be no respect for time here in Madagascar. The meetings will start forty minutes late. The church services will last five hours. The taxi-bus will crawl lazily along for twenty-six hours. Dinner conversation will trudge on indefinitely. Or why even have dinner conversation? We can just sit here for thirty minutes or so. They do not seem to have gotten the memo: I have things to do.
Why do I seem to be the only one who cares about the stuff that needs to be done?
And then it hit me one day. In order to have stuff that needs to be done, one needs stuff. Stuff, stuff, stuff. No wonder I’m always the one in a rush to get going. “I’m sorry, but could we hurry this along? There are computers that need to be typed on, books that need to be read, phones that need to be glanced at, and music that needs to be listened to. I have things, and those things need doing. Sigh…but you don’t have the things, so you just don’t understand. All you seem to want to do is be together.
“But for now please, excuse me from this conversation. I prefer watching the rerun on TV to hearing the rerun of your life. And please, excuse me from the dinner table. I prefer the fascinating silence of my book to the awkward silences of…you. Oh and also, please, excuse me from paying attention to you. I have to make sure that…Yes! I do still have a phone in my pocket! Really it’s been great, but I’ve just got to run!—to check my email.”
Unfortunately for them, the Malagasy haven’t quite caught on to the fact that stuff can save us from each other.