I still don’t have Speedy, my fabulous new computer, up and running. Its a delightful combo of a defective machine, improperly installed OS meets inherent Vista problems meets a notebook shop that is as unhelpful as anywhere here in Germany. Let’s just say, if I hear the phrase “Use your recovery disc again” one more time, I will toss this laptop through the bulletproof window of said computer shop.
Who is Habib? Habib is a carved stone elephant brought to me by a Mystery Friend(MF(r)) who had visited Thailand. And what he, Habib, represents to me, I think, is lost in most souvenir experiences.
MF(r) had a fabu time in Southeast Asia. I won’t go into details about his trip except to say that the first two words he used to describe it was “soul cleansing.” His trip, his story.
We met soon after he came back and he told me all about it. He gave me colorful descriptions that carried me to these locales as he spoke. He’s something of a word smith and his details were vivid – so vivid, I can still feel the heat of the day, the weight of the water and the lightness of his spirit. Then when our conversation about his trip was coming to an end, he handed me Habib.
I was touched. Not only because I got a really cool little elephant, but because this little trinket symbolized this great trip of his and in someway he thoughtfully shared this experience with me via an item.
I think its this idea that gets lost, at times, with the materialistic nature Americans (I can only speak for my culture) have cultivated.
Every time I look at Habib, I think about the trip and what it meant to him. Last Friday, on the phone with Sony for the fourth time that day after faxing in my proof of purchase, losing my patience and pulling out my hair, I saw Habib sitting there, a peaceful little elephant. I took what he represented and calmed down. A little reminder to change my perspective.
I think of water fights and rivers and underground caves and well behaved children. I’ve never been to these places, but I can travel there via his stories.
Now Habib tells me he was bought in bulk, but this doesn’t matter. This token is like a letter. Once that letter is written and handed off to either the postman or to a friend, it is no longer yours to decide its meaning. It is given with a specific idea in mind, but it is up to the recipient to decide what to do with it. It is no longer in the giver’s domain; it is given away hopefully to a compatible home, but <i>given away</i> in any case.
(This is where things could actually take a turn in the “I won’t be ignored, Dan!” way. Be careful to whom you give your words.)
So now Habib sits as a symbol of peace on my desk waiting for his ironically named friend. Until then, the cat has decided to befriend him and I’m not quite sure Habib is excited about that.
However, what matters is that he is now sitting on my desk, a symbol of an exhilarating trip and good friendship.