I am listening to Europe’s anthem, ‘The Final Countdown’. One of those semi apocalyptic sounding songs that people like to play loudly at certain parties, while punching the air with their fists. I am not sure why it is appealing to me, except that I remember it as a song that used to get played here, in Afghanistan, in the clandestine parties we used to have during Taliban years. In those days, the curfew was at 8pm, so parties would start at 6. There was no alcohol, except for the occasional vodka the Red Cross used to bring in, so we’d sit around drinking Sprite and Mirinda. Then, at 7.45 we farewell each other, and trundle home in the cold, dark of a Northern Taliban winter, in time for the 8pm radio check. One night, a team member failed to answer his radio call, and so at 9pm, in the pitch black I had to go rouse a taxi and cross town, going through several check points and having too many guns shoved in my face, to ensure he and his wife were ok.
Here, now, winter is coming on. It is dark by 6pm and the nights are cold. The kids complain at their nightly wash time, as I squirt them with the chill water. There is so little electricity that the water in the boiler is warmed only every few days, and none of us seem to use the shower at the right time to get any of it.
If I seem subdued, it is the combination of the still worsening security and the nearing winter. Time to draw a deep breath.
Ice seller in the street near the Lion’s Gate mountain. There will be more ice before long.