San Francisco: Walking about in an Art Exhibition.

I’m at an Art exhibition in San Francisco.

It’s an interesting room. There are photographs, sculptures, fabric, Interesting stuff.

It was an impromptu thing. I didn’t plan to be here. I was probably skateboarding my way to some cafe to do some work. And as I whizzed by on the sidewalk this exhibition caught my eye.

It is an interesting room.

The glow of the room is mostly yellowish – warm lighting from overhead bulbs.

There’s punch being passed around. I get myself a cup. It’s purple – like some sort of blackcurrant flavour. There’s some fluffy jelly-ey stuff at the bottom of the drink. Chewy. I have no idea what it is. I didn’t know people put chewy stuff inside punch. But it feels like an interesting addition to the drink.

To the right of the entrance there are photographs on the wall. One of them looks like a picture of a subterraneous church in a desert. Like, a literal underground church. Like they dug a hole in the dry brown desert ground, and built a church in the hole.

I don’t get the idea behind the church, but it looks like a really interesting picture. If I had some spare money I would probably buy it.

I’ve been buying a few things here and there.

I bought this really cool ball at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art one random evening. I was walking behind the AMC Matreon building, thinking of cool dark spots to stop and steal some kisses while out on a date.

And then I saw the SF MOMA space. They were moving to a new location, and they had this Discount Sale thing going on. I spent over an hour just going through the very exciting things they had on sale. And at the end I bought the ball. It wasn’t too large to constitute any logistical headache. I also felt it was very financially accessible, for something that interesting.

It’s a small transparent ball you can hold in your hand, but inside it there are like twenty tiny coloured beads that float around in the viscous liquid the transparent ball is infused with. I think it looks super interesting.

I bought two other balls at the Exploratorium. Two smaller squishy balls. One pinkish and the other light light-green.

You know, now I’m not sure which balls I bought where. Did I buy the two squishy balls at SF MOMA? Hm, now I’m not quite sure.

I put the three balls in a wine glass I place on the work desk in my dorm room. It’s really interesting seeing the sunlight hit the glass and the balls, and having that complement the view of the San Francisco Bay I have from the desk. Cool stuff.

I really like my room.

I’ll be changing cities soon as part of the school program. I’ll need to think about how to move around with these things I set up.

I’m not taking any wine glasses along on international flights, that’s for sure.

I’m walking around the room, taking in the art and conversing with people.

I’m talking with the lady pouring the punch.

I think she’s very pretty. She says she’s from Senegal.

She’s very light skinned. I think that’s unusual for someone from Senegal. Usually I would think Senegalese people were very dark. Her pupils look greenish somehow. I don’t know if they’re contact lenses, but either way I think they’re super hot.

I think she flies around with the other lady – a dark-skinned one standing not too far off – she looks like the manager of the operation or something.

We talk for a bit. I entertain thoughts about collecting say a phone number, keeping in touch, possibly planning something. She’s friendly, and she looks like she might be open to it.

I don’t know. These days I have a good number of interesting people I’m unable to follow-up with. My life these days is school assignments and pre-planned travel itineraries mapped out by the school administration. So much is outside my control.


I get some more punch as we keep talking.

Their lives must be so cool though, travelling around and trading art halfway around the world from where they were purchased.

Seems like a really interesting sort of life. Mmm.

I’m talking with the dark-skinned woman a few feet away. The one who has an air of being “the boss of the operation”.

I mention that I find what they’re doing extremely interesting. They’ve got really colourful fabric that reminds me of traditional attire from Nigeria.

We talk about the artwork.

There’s this class I’m taking in college – Multimodal Communications.

Recently we’ve been studying art. Studying Picasso’s artwork and analysing the subliminal messages and undertones in the different pieces. Stuff like that. The classes have been making me feel especially sophisticated.

Like, Professor I definitely agree with Shajara on that. This particular campaign poster was really tapping into the anti-colonial sentiment at the time. And if we take a look at the generous use of the colour red, it was really intended as an allusion to the overbearing presence of the Spanish occupiers...

Please give me second while I take a sip of my 1923 Sauvignon ..

Aha, as I was saying….


I’m talking with the manager, drawing on some of the concepts I’ve been learning in Multimodal Communications class.

She doesn’t seem to share my enthusiasm.

She gives me a very matter-of-factly stare and emphasises that she’s running a business.

In that second I get a sense of the anxiety that comes with such an entrepreneurial situation. She probably rented out this space for the exhibition. She’s most likely thinking about the wages of the people working with her, how many art pieces have been sold, and how all of this will result in a profitable venture at the end of the day. Those are probably the calculations running through her mind. Not the entrancing use of vibrant colours on West African traditional fabric.

Hahaha. Good to know.

I keep walking around the room, taking in the interesting pieces on display. There’s a couple not far off. An interracial couple. They look like they’re in their mid-thirties. They both have relatively pronounced statures. The man looks like a Black-American, a bit on the fleshy side- just a bit, and his partner is a thick white woman with blond hair.

They look through the art, exchanging smiles and light kisses every now and then.

I watch them with a level of admiration.

They look very comfortable and established in life. I can tell that just from looking at them.

Like mm look at us, we have absolutely no problems in life. Lets go peruse some artwork and enjoy each other’s company on this random Wednesday morning. Mwah mwah. Mwah mwah mwah.

Mm, babe this one is three thousand dollars, how would you like that for the kitchen?

Oh you think it’ll be better along the staircase?

Hm you know, I think I agree with you. It really complements the rug.

Let’s get it. Mwah mwah.


I’m in a different corner of the room.

I’m in conversation with a guy. He kinda looks like Harold Perineau. Like a Harold Perineau in his late twenties/early thirties with a pronounced crew cut.

I think he’s an interesting guy. He speaks with a very soft and calm voice.

We’re talking about random stuff. At some point we talk about music.

He says something about analog music and how it represents the highest-fidelity form of audio. He says digital technology chops up the sound into a discrete form amenable to computer processing. And that there could come a time in the evolution of music where the world would revert to audio for its uncompromised fidelity. So it would be a strange trend – Usually transitioning from analog to digital is seen as the very hallmark of technological progression. But at some point it could be the other way around.

Hmm. Wow.

I think that is an extremely brilliant argument. Wow. Just wow.

We keep talking.

At this point I’ve probably read somewhere about the Nyquist-Shannon theorem. I’m probably just not familiar enough with its implications to understand how it relates to his perspective. The theorem says something about the relationship between the information capacity of corresponding digital and analog signals – something like that.

We keep talking.

At some point I realise that he’s a photographer. He was actually the one who took the super-interesting pictures of the underground church. Woah.

He says he took the pictures on a recent trip to Africa. Somewhere in Ethiopia. Or Eritrea, something like that.

We keep talking.

At some point he introduces me to his sister. They live together somewhere in San Francisco. We talk.

Every now and then I bring up something about the super cool college programme I’m enrolled in, and all of the immensely interesting stuff we’re learning. It something I’m extremely excited about, and usually it just comes up at some point whenever I’m in conversation with people.

Haha. All of this stuff I’m so excited about right now, will make my life unthinkably complicated and difficult in about a year.


I don’t know any of that now though. I don’t know any of that now.

We keep talking.

At some point the super interesting photographer guy gives me his card.

He says I’m going to be an extremely successful scientific person. I thank him for the massive compliment and say Haha I hope.

His sister wishes me the best of luck with my endeavours.

He says I don’t need luck.

Hahahahahaha. Tell that to me this time next year. I’ m going to need all the freaking luck I can get Bro.


I think he’s such a cool guy.

I keep walking around the room.

Image: Random rainy day in Downtown San Francisco.

4pm at Ramadan.

It is 4pm.

I have been waiting for 4pm for the entire day. There generally exists a number of different markers people calibrate their day with— Sunrise and sunset, breakfast lunch and dinner, time to go to work and time to get back from work, and so on.

All of my days for the past week have been bisected into two principal divisions: Before and after 4pm.

As the digital clock on my computer makes me aware of this significant temporal transition, my physical body switches into autopilot and my limbs begin to execute instructions that have been painstakingly rehearsed throughout the entire day.

I find myself getting dressed- putting on my blue buba1 and my purple shorts – shorts which used to be the top-half of the trousers of a two-piece suit. I have found the shorts to be much more useful, versatile and pragmatic than the trousers they used to be. I frequently do a lot of climbing and walking and general jumping about. I find shorts are much better suited to the task.


I watch Mayowa engage in all of these actions, from his destination. I- his consciousness, am already there.

I am already seated on one of the logs of wood that surround the fire. I can already smell the invigorating Cafe Touba2 brewing atop the flickering flames. I can already taste the bread and very interesting Senegalese bean sauce waiting patiently for consumption. I can hear my companions with their flowing gowns and baggy trousers and thick beaded necklaces and unbelievable fat dreadlocks conversing enthusiastically in Wolof3.

I am already here. Floating amidst the bodies and the gowns and the conversation and the calming smell of Cafe Touba. All that is left is for my physical body to catch up.

I see him- Mayowa, mechanically getting dressed. Putting on his white rubber slippers that have been through multiple rounds of cobbling. He was reading about quantum physics earlier today, that guy. Something about matrices as a tool to represent quantum states. Something like that.

Me? I’ve been here all day. Watching the blackened pot of bubbling coffee sit above the fire, entirely immune to any further blackening effects of its position. A phantasm revelling in a hypothetical gathering.

The strike of 4pm transforms this figmental assembly into a physical one, and now a number of corporeal entities are on their way here.

I watch Mayowa leave his studio apartment. He briefly glances at the remarkable beach a few metres from his door, but has little attention to spare. The entrancing blue waves crashing against the shimmering sand fail to significantly grip his interest. He is hungry for something else right now.

He is hungry. Literally hungry.

Feet drift through the desert sand, trusting memory, experience and a sense of navigation to successfully arrive at the intended destination.

Oh so much procedure. His dusty feet have to venture forward, one after the other– one after the other, and slowly his entire body edges closer and closer to the party where I wait.

So much procedure. So many rules. So much anatomical bureaucracy. Ugh.

Now it makes sense, all of the interest in matrices and quantum states- it could simply all be a being attempting to understand the invisible principles that impose constraining loci on his physical existence.

I can sense his anticipation. For the coffee. For the bread. For the effervescent sound of voices in Wolof3 vibrating in the evening air. For the emotive pulsing of native Senegalese drums and Baye Fall4 chants that he relates to, not as communication with the supernatural, but simply (although not any less significantly) as enchanting mesmerising music.

Me? Anticipation does not apply to me. I am already feasting. I have been feasting since the the time before this meeting even came together. I have been feasting since this gathering was just a plan. I have been eating this bread since it was still just flour and ingredients. I have been eating the beans since it was still on the farm. I have been…

He is almost here. Mayowa is almost here.

I see him in the distance. With his white slippers and blue buba and red hair.

He is almost here.

4pm at Ramadan5.




  1. Buba – Top half of a traditional Yoruba attire.
  2. Cafe Touba – Popular Senegalese coffee drink.
  3. Wolof – The lingua franca of the Senegalese people.
  4. Baye Fall – Senegalese Islamic sect.
  5. Ramadan – Annual Islamic religious observance.


Image Credits:



I was listening to  “Poye” by Issa Bagayogo while writing this.