Unexpecting the Expected
It’s 5 am in Beirut, Lebanon. The birds outside sound like slide whistles while my jetlagging mind is racing. After 40 hours of planes and airports, of which I probably spent 6 hours sleeping between the hard carpet of Washington D.C. airport and upright in a stiff seat intermittently interrupted by Germans pouring red wine, I arrived in Lebanon, ready to extinguish all kinds of stigmas my narrow United States of American upbringing has given me. I know by now expectations are always illusory but also that one never knows which unexpectations to expect. Just a few weeks ago Clowns Without Borders contacted me out of the blue asking if I was available to drop my life and travel halfway across the globe to a war torn country to work for free donning a red nose and huge pants in order to be laughed at in a different language just a bird’s view away from active heavy conflict. Of course I jumped at the chance. Jan Damm and I shared a flight from Frankfurt to Beirut. He is pronounced Yon Dom and that’s pretty much his real name. It’s more his real name than his name actually as he has changed his last name back to the name of his great great grandfathers. He’s the only other clown in this mission of four I had previously met, and then only barely. He’s a hardworking professional circus entertainer carving out a real living by balancing on buckets stacked on boards stacked on rolling cardboard tubes while tossing oddly shaped pieces of plastic in the air using a string between 2 sticks.