Meeting Amazing People in Vegas; The Pep Talks and Fufu Podcast; Lives of Quiet Desperation; Irony Caused by Homeland Security; Mohammed Coming to the Mountain; An Incredible Sense of Timing Involving Phi Beta Sigma Men; A Proposal on Bended Knee; Coincidence and Amaze Defined.

I have been meeting the most AMAZING people in Vegas, and what is interesting is that most of them are black. At this very moment I am listening to a pod cast recorded by a woman met here at Westgate. The pod cast is Pep Talks and Fufu – it is fascinating She has such an interesting name – Perpetual Hayfrom. You have to listen as the content sets one to thinking about so many things. It is a conversation between men and women and they definitely have differing opinions and it is joy to hear them clash and then sometimes agree. It is a format unfamiliar to me and riveting. The energy is so vibrant and compelling. I am extremely impressed.

This has been a week of extreme socialization but something happened this morning. It is noon and I am still in bed, not seen anyone. I talked to Grandson on the phone, got three emails from my dear friend and a long one from CPI so human contact has been around and about but not face to face contact that has so characterized my Vegas days. Many staff members tell me that this is my home and they are my family. Honest to goodness. Therefore the this pod cast is needed in many ways – there are real people talking. It is such fun. But am I ever special because as I write this blog I am conversing by text with Perpetual. I feel so privileged – I am so privileged, let us admit it. There are rewards to putting yourself out there and a fascinating aftermath is that I have grown sympathetic towards introverts and people closed off in familial relationships. There is such richness out in the world, they are missing out. I do love that phrase: living a life of quiet desperation. I just googled it: Who was the author? Henry David Thoreau. What would I do without Google? What would you do without me?

But how is this for irony? I hunger for emails from a certain guy. Human contact is difficult because he lives in Vancouver and I live in San Francisco. Well – I invited him to come and visit me in San Francisco but it ends up that he cannot enter the USA. He is not a criminal or anything bad like that but I am convinced he is telling the truth. But even if I knew that before I still would have left Vancouver and come back to live in San Francisco. If he wants to see me bad enough we can journey to another country. It is a good thing that two of the guys that have been actively pursuing me in Vegas live in the US, expressed an interest in visiting me and I guess will come and visit me. But as usual I was funny:

He: I cannot come to the USA at the present.

Me: Well the mountain must come to Mohammed I guess. But I am not coming to Vancouver, tI suppose there is Steveson, and Victoria and Kelowna (wherever that might be).

He visits Kelowna often and I always say Kelowna (wherever that might be). It is in British Columba – inland I think. I am showing remarkable little interest in the land of my birth recently. I would say I have become totally Americanized. Perhaps a trip to the Maritimes to see the fall colours at some point – but that is about it.

My sense of timing proved perfect because here at this hotel this week are thousands of men, well hundreds anyway. They are here for the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Convention and they are an amazing group pf men. Amazing is being used too frequently so its synonyms will be sought in order to bring sone variety. Amaze: astound, surprise, bewilder, stun, stagger, flabbergast, nonplus, shock, startle, shake, stop someone in their tracks, stupefy, leave open-mouthed, leave aghast, take someone’s breath away, dumbfound, daze, benumb, perplex, confound, dismay, disconcert, shatter, take aback, jolt, shake up; informal bowl over, knock for six, floor, blow someone’s mind, strike dumb.

These are men that will take your breath away and bowl you over. I think they are all black, not seen a white one that I can recall. There are exceptions but they have such bearing, such confidence. They exude self-assurance and are dedicated to one another. There is an overwhelming feeling of fellowship. They are active with their communities and serve as powerfully positive role models for young black men. The other day I lunched with three men who were from Kansas City, Missouri. That was a coincidence beyond all coincidences because that is Grandson’s city. The guy whose wedding I shall attend tomorrow. He, unlike them, is not a graduate of of a university but rather a graduate of the school of hard knocks. Another black man, S.D.P (San Diego Pierre) not a member of the fraternity wisely said that coincidence is a word that can mean a lot of things. Do let us see: chance, serendipity, fate, a twist of fate, destiny, fortuity, fortune, providence, freak, hazard; a piece of good fortune, (a bit of) luck, (a bit of) good luck, a fluke, a happy chance; North American happenstance.

So it was happenstance, a fluke and a twist of fate to be luncheon companions with men hailing from Kansas City, Missouri. But it does boggle the mind.

The presence of so many Phi Beta Sigma men has allowed my count to go to 70 accompanied by a proposal on bended knee. I should have taken his picture in that pose. He lives in Orange County and is 38. He says that age is just a number and the proximity means thus:

He: We are practically neighbours.

Me: Yes – it is a short plane ride or a long car ride. You can come and visit me.

I know all of this must sound unbelievable but it is all true and really happened. I met a fascinating couple from Maryland and our conversation will be featured tomorrow – I am getting so much material that it may be necessary to blog twice a day. Probably that would be overkill.

This is early morning, one photo is taken from the window of this hotel. The other photo is one sent from David in London of that wonderful tree. It arrived via email this morning.

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