As I sat blearily on the bed this morning trying to put on my socks, T-Bone suddenly burst out of the bathroom. "Guess what, mami?!" he cried, brandishing his toothbrush at me.
"What?" I asked cautiously.
"Guess what happened at my tribal meeting?!"
Weekends are always busy in the Cameroonian diaspora, but this Saturday was enough to make the most steadfast warrior tremble. A woman in Bowie was having a baby shower; there was a wedding in Laurel; the set-in-stone monthly meeting of T-Bone's tribe, the Banyangi, would be held in Columbia; and to top it all off, a bus full of lawyers and political activists had tumbled off a cliff in southwestern Cameroon and needed to be mourned. Their friends and relatives here in the States had to get home as soon as possible so a "sitting," the exile's version of a viewing - minus the bodies - was hastily scheduled for that night. Respects would be paid and financial gifts collected to help pay for plane tickets.
T-Bone being the moderate man that he is decided to attend all of these events in moderation. His strategy for hitting every occasion? He purposely wore shoes that are too small so that he wouldn't linger too long at any one event, thereby offending another host by depriving them of equal "T-time."
The logic is astounding.
Well, somehow he made it through his whirlwind tour and back home safely to me - yes, call me a bad wife but I declined to attend. So back to this morning, with T-Bone spraying toothpaste and me struggling to find two matching trouser socks.
"What happened at your tribal meeting?" I asked.
"They want me to be chief!" he crowed.
I blinked. "Chief of what?"
"Chief of the tribe!"
"Like chief chief?"
"Like chief chief!"
I considered this. Would T-Bone become T-Bone-Through-The-Nose?
And what sartorial options would open to me as Chieftess?
Happy Holidays from Megan and Tabe!
(Apparently the Universal Code of Dissatisfied Looking Fashion Models with Weird Hair is truly universal.)
"Does that mean that people can't approach you at parties?" I asked, recalling one such event where a particularly eager white guy in a daishiki rushed a platform of traditional tribal leaders, hugging and grasping hands with alarming urgency.
"No, no," he assured me. "You are thinking of the fons. Those are more like figureheads."
"Oh, and the chief is like the political leader?"
"Exactly." He laughed. "Can you imagine me, a chief?" He shook his head. "No way!"
I could, actually, but we both laughed.
I finished getting dressed and moved to the kitchen. I was shoving a banana peel into our overflowing trash can when T-Bone reappeared, ready to head out to work.
"Call me Chief T-Bone," he murmured as he kissed me goodbye.
"Chief T-Bone," I purred indulgently against his lips, "Will you take the trash out?"