Like diner food, a hot turkey sandwich, shoestring fries on the side, a cup of coffee in a thick porcelain mug, a corner booth with a view out the window to the cars, trucks and rvs in the parking lot…
Like a can of beer, feet up on a log, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine, waiting just a little longer before starting the barbecue…
Like a t-shirt with Graceland stencilled across the front, a reminder of a couple of weeks in the Smokey Mountains, Kentucky and Tennessee, a lot of duck-hunting clothing on that trip.
More that thirty years ago, I walked out of Bangladesh, after waiting at a hut with a straw roof and a red flag standing out of it, waiting for the guard who got there eventually from up the hill, still chewing on his morning meal. I was walking out of the country along where there were once railway tracks. Those had actually been torn up either during or after the war with India in 1972. I don’t know. I wasn’t there.
The border guard wished to have inspected my belongings which were meagre, just two t-shirts, one novel (The Diceman, with the cover torn off), a tooth brush, a pair of dice… not much else. On a scale of tourist to homelessness, I was approaching homelessness, living a lost wandering monk type of existence.
The border guard wished to have my belongings undergo a full inventory and quickly discovered about $30 worth of well used Indian Rupees. Through opportunity or reflexive instinct he bobbed his head and requested backsheesh, the word dropping out of the air like a bird dying mid-flight, hitting the ground with a dull thud.
I politely suggested to the border guard that the total sum of the well soiled currency was required as I as a long way from home and wouldn’t be able to get home without it.
He thought better of his backsheesh request. He had asked in haste without considering the whole picture. He nodded his head and stamped my passport with the required departure stamp. I quickly gathered up my belongings and I strolled along the berm and into India.
There was much head bobbling and nodding as I departed. Some of it was mine.