The Senegalese Surprise

Last May, I took a trip to Dakar, Senegal for an office launch my company had there. I felt like a bit of an ass, as my camera had to be setup in this cramped little corner surrounded by participant’s chairs, and there I sat crouched like a goblin taking video and photos at the same time. With my little t-rex arms I raised and lowered the camera while trying to not knock over the tripod where the video camera was perched.

As I performed my acrobatic equipment maneuvers, I noticed another fellow camera person, peering through the glass wall at me. Let’s call him … Paoul. We ended up chatting after the event, and planned to meet for dinner the next night. He seemed interesting, and had done a lot of work and travel across West Africa, and I guessed him to be about 30 or so. He thought I was 17; a premonition of what was to come.

We met up the next night and we ended up hanging out until 5 AM, going from pool hall to pool hall in Dakar, drinking local beer, and meeting up with various people along the way. One such person, let us call him the Crazy One, joined us around midnight. He seemed fairly normal at first, until it was apparent his sole job all night was to take as many photos of me as possible. I finally lost my temper and yelled at him to stop, which put an end to that. To the photos, not the emerging mental disorder.

We ended up back at my hotel by the pool, about an hour before my flight left. The Crazy One milled around in the background watching me creepily. I ignored him. Here, Paoul initiated an age guessing game. For him, not me. I don’t particularly care who knows how old I am, but for some reason, people like to play age guessing games with me. I am bad at guessing ages. I offend people. I think five year olds are ten and sixty year olds are eighty. I do not like these guessing games.

After losing patience with the insipid game, I guessed 30. He then told me he was 19 years old. I had been hanging out with a 19 year old all night. At the bar. At the pool hall. Drinking beer. All. Night. Long.

The end.

PS. The Crazy One found me on facebook. Here is sampling of recent messages:

12/28 kiss kiss kiss for u

1/5 hello my darling

1/29 dani i love u

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