Last week, an excited yours truly showed up at the doors of a Manhattanite building, where an Awards Ceremony was taking place. I had already RSVPd to the Albanian half of the ceremony organizers, only to find that my name was not on the list and there was no visitors badge for poor lil’me. About 20 other people could not find their names in the big mess either. The other half of the organizers consisted of these wonderful old Jewish biddies that “rrrr-ed” and “shlepped” throughout the ceremony.
It was for a great event actually. The Jewish organization gave an award to an Albanian family that had hosted and hidden 26 Jewish people during the WWII. I felt mighty and proud, especially when it turned out that one of the family descendants had served under my father in the military. Practically cousins.
The real fun was seeing the parade of Who’s Who of the Albanian Community, decked out in all their finery. the Ex-congressman and wife, Ex-ambassador, Current ambassador, even a deputy mayor from Albania who insisted on addressing the audience on behalf of his boss the mayor lady who could not be there. I could see the audience sniggering at that.
I met old and made new friends within the audience who was the cream (I SAY CREAM, CAN AH GIT A HALLELLUJAH) of the Albanian community. I lurked near the refreshments desks, having a chewing contest with the Blondiest of Them All, while around us the room buzzed and bustled with more cameramen and journalists than the White House. Apparently everybody had left their security guard hats and waiter coattails at home and had decided to put on their journalistic vests. Unfortunately, they had also forgotten to bring their spelling bees and had given punctuation an indefinite holiday. If you do not believe me, just read the Albo Diaspora Media.
My old friends abhorred my new friends who in turn attacked the unsuspecting Jewish ladies, grazing by in dried fruit and ruggelah. But the enemy proved formidable and the little ladies held their own with praises and compliments and business card exchanges. Underlying currents of resumes also made their way into the environment, together with a flurry of hopeful phone numbers and furtive emails.
I sent my own little red and white ambassadors into the different worlds and then hightailed it out of there, with a dream of my own.
I have a dream that the Albanian Community will once come together to support each-other without phrenetic clapping and servile smiles.
I have a dream that Intellectual and Intellectual will also put on their superintendents’ hats and will proudly stand next to the actors/waiters and various insurance sales people without squabbling about who liberated Albania one hundred years ago.
I have a dream that sincere clerics and lobbyists will return phone calls that do not come from potential funding sources, and will replace National and Eagle speeches with Ambien handouts (they have the same effect on the audience).
I have a dream that Young Albanian Professionals will give each other a hand without expecting Messiah Hymns and Firstborn sacrifices in return, and without rubbing their cold and clammy hands together every two minutes.
Alas! Tis now bedtime and me doth thinks that second glass of wine went too soon.