Geoffrey with a touch of gas…

Posted on January 5, 2007


I would possibly prefer to spend my days here shopping, eating and sleeping, but feel like I owe it to my youth and to my friends to go out and see them. Yesterday, this involved doing exactly what I did last Christmas. I went out with Blues Boy; he and everyone else we met talked about how much they wanted to get out of Kuwait. Truth be told – and feel free to smack me upside the cyberhead – the Gulf is starting to seem a wee bit attractive to me, coming off six months of living in Egypt. I suppose this is mainly because I aspire to nothing more than being able to buy every pair of shoes I lust after.
I met a beetle-browed (I love thick eyebrows) guy who I warmed to immediately because he waxed lyrical about Cairo and its many charms, rhapsodizing – as I must once have – about the charm of living in a culture where a vast number of persons are high on hash, and where one can purchase and read an English periodical featuring massive humans rights abuses. As opposed to Kuwait – I wouldn’t wish the Arab Times on any multi-cellular organism. Anyway, he turned out to be the brother of a guy I was vaguely friends with in high school. We shouldn’t have been friends at all. This guy – we’ll call him Manson Fan – was the polar opposite of everything I was at the age of 15. He was a rebel and outcast and a Goth, worshipped Marilyn Manson and did drugs. I was a typically prim Egyptian girl who got good grades and actually wore her tie to school (OK, I brought it – I didn’t wear it). Basically, he was far too cool to recognize my existence, and I viewed his depravity with a sort of intimidated pity. We were thrust upon each other through the malediction of A/S English Literature. This was, obviously, precisely the sort of class people expected me to take, book nerd and prize-winner than I was; but no one had any idea why, or indeed how, Manson Fan came to enrol in this class. Perhaps he fancied himself as some sort of dark intellectual.
The only other person taking this class was this textbook-nerdy Pakistani guy with bad posture and a heavy accent. We both felt we were higher up than he was in the cool hierarchy, while he despised us for not getting early acceptance to an Ivy League school. Thus, we were left with no one but each other to consult with on essays and collude with on handing stuff in late to our pink-cheeked teachers. We even spoke on the phone – I was continually surprised that outlaws did anything as mundane as picking up a phone.
We had this class for 2.5 hours every other day. With only three people in the class, the teacher’s beady eye was on us all the time and we had to maintain constant alertness and participation. It was motherfucking torture, even when the blushing teacher painstakingly explained that pudenda and quim were Latin for vagina, and we actually received credit for discoursing at length on those, and other, instances of filthiness in Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. Halfway through we’d take breaks, and MF and I would go lean up against the lockers while the Pakistani guy went to watch his ilk play cricket in the playground or something. MF would extract a can of butane from his locker and take an urgent snort. I would point out that butane killed brain cells irreversibly, and he would beseech me to consider the brutality of our position (although not that elegantly). I would then subside in agreement.
I mention this as some sort of context for how he apparently turned out. The brother told me that after getting kicked out of various reputable schools around the world, he married a stripper from Vancouver and brought her back to Kuwait, where it all went predictably south. He was always the romantic sort, despite the eyeliner. This tale amused me to no end. Marilyn Manson appears to be a romantic sort too, it’s true – MF made me read his autobiography and I was favourably impressed all around. Well, I sent my greetings. In the light of later years I’m grateful to MF for being one of the few interesting people I knew at school.
Posted in: friends, Kuwait