Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Layer upon layer of absurdity

Life is absurd. But my life seems extra absurd these days.

Last week, a BBC radio producer in Ecuador emailed me out of the blue. She said she had read my blog post about my recent pilgrimage to Obama, Japan, and wanted to interview me about my visit.

I wrote back and said I would be happy to talk about it. We arranged a mutually convenient time for a simple interview. Or for what I thought was going to be a simple interview.

When the producer called at the designated time, she asked me to hold the line for a few minutes before she patched me through to a live talk show. A live talk show? Now? I started to panic.

She explained that I was going to be on a South American-wide evening talk show and that the hosts would ask me questions in Spanish. She reassured me that the questions would be translated into English, and my answers would be translated into Spanish. So there was nothing to worry about.

And just like that, with no advance warning, I was thrown into the middle of a live BBC talk show. In Ecuador. From Kyoto. On Obama. In Spanish. Absurd doesn't even begin to describe the experience.

The hosts (a very lively duo, whose names I forget) asked me lots of questions about Obama. What was it like? What kind of town is it? What do the people of Obama the town think about Obama the man?

My favourite part of the show was when they asked me if I had heard the song "Obama is Beautiful World," which was recorded and produced by the "Obama for Obama Support Group." I told them that not only had I heard the song, but that I was lucky enough to have had a private listening of the CD with none other than the president of the Obama Support Group himself.

They asked me to recite a few of the lyrics, if I could. I told them this was tricky. The song is written in Engrish so the lyrics don't make a lot of sense. It's better to listen to the meaning behind the words. So I talked about how the song meant that the world would be a better place with Barack Obama in power. Or something like that.

It was at this point in the interview when the absurdity of the situation hit me. Here I was, sitting in my apartment in Kyoto pontificating about a Japanese town that accidentally shares its name with the next president of America on a live BBC radio show out of Ecuador when I should have been in class studying Japanese, which is something I am actually getting paid to do.

My life at that moment seemed buried under layer upon layer of absurdity. But that's exactly the way I like it.

The more absurd things get, the happier I am.

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