Saturday, September 08, 2007

Family ( - Rhiis writes again)

The best way for me to explain myself would be in two similes, and they go like this:

Simile #1: THE WATKINS: The amazing track on the new NILE album is nearing its end. Double bass-pedals purr like cataclysmic thunder, wailing guitars crash into chaotic groans and shrieks and the Arabesque notes of epic battle music cry their forlorn dirges. The grinding guitars sustain as the double bass-pedals thunder to a halt, an one-two/one-two/crash. All instruments sustain and slowly fade away - one of the greatest endings to a death metal song yet. It's one of those endings where the song has left you with a feeling of profound comfort, and simultaneously a humming thread of energy. You want to play that song again. In the same way, my time with the amazing Watkins family now comes to a close. Not with a whisper or whimper, though, and not with some cheesy Kenny G song playing. We're talking the dramatic, ear-drum-blasting close to an epic Egyptian death metal song. That's right, we're talking a triumphant and exciting ending, something that both enthralls and leaves the listener wanting and needing more. As the last doom-grinding notes wind down on this great episode of life in which I've lived with the Watkins in Egypt, I know that there are more songs to come - not only more tracks, but compositions of epic proportion. So, it is not without some sadness that I must soon say momentary goodbyes to these hilarious people. However, the sadness is also balanced by a sense of anticipation, the knowing that this is just the end of one episode and the prelude to the next. So. Put on your headphones and keep paying attention. This album just isn't over yet.

Simile #2: EGYPT: Egypt and I have been together for years. Her blood is mine, and my blood is hers. The cycle of my time spent in Egypt strikes me as similar to the process of a relationship. When it all started out, it was shy first love and naivete. There was nothing without wonder and palpitating of the heart. All things filled me with a sense of awe and the mere hint of her sunlight filled me with unimaginable bliss. Yet, over time, as I learned to understand her language, got to know her modern family and settled into her embrace, I learned that we had irreconcilable differences. It wasn't that we had no love, it was that love just wasn't enough. Our love was a thing that had grown in the far, far past, glimmering in the eyes of Pharaonic death masks and hinted at in the subtle smiles of Hathor. Now, years into our turbulent relationship, the time has come for us to part. I intend on meeting up with the Watkins deeper in Africa, and I know she understands. I will not leave her for another - never! - it's just that our affection has grown stale and dusty as the hearth of colossal temples. Her ankh and ka will reside in me forever. I just can't do the same for her any longer. So, soon I say goodbye to you, my precious Egypt. It's has been sweet. But now, it is not. The time has come to go.

(Transcript of the spoken narrative in the video:)


According to Brandon's Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus, a family is a group of related plants, animals or things. Ammon would throw in a complicated something or two about genetics, Maggie would add that it's the group of nuts she has to deal with, Savannah instantly thinks of an army of beggars and Bre would say the word reminds her of a movie. But these names may mean nothing to you. Forgive me, I've not properly introduced the Watkins.

A is for Ammon, as in Amun, Amun-ra. Look up 'Ammon' in a thesaurus and the antonym would be 'wanker.' Ammon professes to be uncool because he's never cared about what others think, however this is one of many things that does make him cool. A genius scientist in his late 20s, already published in his field, Ammon is the Alice Cooper of the science community, Bill Nye with a head full of heavy metal, Mr. Wizard with a mohawk. In the creation of all videos, Ammon became an invaluable co-director and co-editor whom I could not have done without. It should go without saying - anyone who can argue both sides of an argument just for the fun of it belongs in my good books.

B is for Brandon, as in bombastic, a living antonym of 'banal.' In his early 50s, this is a man who actually does walk around with a dictionary in his back pocket - he who possesses "vernacular power!!" Every few days, Brandon introduces new, bizarre vocabulary into the lives of those around him. Look to Brandon for the self-deprecating, side-splitting humor. This is a man who can say and do absolutely anything with a straight face while the world rolls on the floor around him, and while Maggie rolls her eyes.

B is also for Breanna, sidekick of Brandon. If you've ever watched cartoons, you've seen a glimpse of Bre. She's the exaggerated, comical character whose head remains in the clouds. Someone who watches so many movies that her personality has become, over time, a conglomeration of scenes and characters. In her early 20s, Bre has lots of energy, doing flips and stretches with a smile plastered on her face. When I say that Bre belongs in one of those cheerleading movies, and then tell you that saying so makes her ecstatic, I think you get a taste for who she is.

M is for Maggie, the mom and mediator of this wild assortment. In her late 40s, Maggie seems to be the most normal of the bunch, though that still isn't saying much. Honest and genuine, with an inner flame that leaps out the moment someone tries to rip her off, Maggie wants the cheap price, the right price, and she wants it now! Down to earth and rational, Maggie's insistence to stop worrying and start living is inspiring. So far, it's brought the family this far and I have a feeling it will carry them all further.

S is for Savannah, strangest creature on this planet. In her late teens, Savannah defies all possible explanation. This the girl who, upon learning that the fruit she wanted to eat was rotten, just picked the worms out and ate those instead. Someone who has turned whining into a fine art. Savannah's victim, I mean boyfriend Grady seems to have an inlimited amount of patience with her antics. As Bre's younger sister, some of the typical sisterly 'love' is present. However, they tend to get along more than they get even.

After travelling around the world for over 2 years, touching down in over 35 countries, Egypt was where the lives of the Watkins crossed my own lifelines. Now that fate had brought us together I can only hope that fortune will keep it that way, for their presence in my life has been nothing but blessings. And who am I? Well. That's another story.


At 5:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a great write up Rhiis. Thanks for all you've done with my family. Hope I get to meet you sometime down the road.


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