On passing up my chance to eat with Derek Walcott

OK, so if you’ve been following my other social networks, you’ll have heard somewhere, somehow, that Derek Walcott’s in town. (If you’re not sure where “town” is, it’s Nassau, Bahamas, where I am too). He’s got here through the actions of two groups, one of which happens to be the School of English Studies at the College of The Bahamas, where I also am. I used to be in the School of English, but now I’m where I figure I actually belong according to my terminal degrees, in the School of Social Sciences. But the School of English still treats me like I’m with them, and I don’t mind. I pinch-hit some of the courses on that side every now and then and still enjoy myself.

So yesterday I got a phonecall from the Chair to invite me to dinner with Walcott. I’d already been invited to lunch today, which I can’t attend because I have a class to teach (not an English class, or else I could actually slip out, legitimately, but a Sociology class. Long story.) The Chair called yesterday to say that Walcott wanted to go to the Fish Fry, a local waterfront line of restaurants that serve what we call “native food” at very reasonable prices.

I thought about it. I thought about going for quite a while, but didn’t in the end. Maybe I should’ve; the occasion was informal, the company was going to be excellent, and the food was going to be good too. But I didn’t go. Why?

Well, probably because of that Nobel.

The more I think about it, the more I know that had it been almost any other Caribbean writer, I’d’ve been there. With bells on. But it isn’t; it’s Walcott, and he’s got that Nobel.

More on this later. Off to ponder this revelation. Cheers.

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