Music is Happiness
We drive a ways then walk a ways in search of somewhere different to eat. Not different in the way of being special, like nothing else, one of a kind, unique. No, just somewhere different as in, not the same Egyptian noodle stand we have been eating at for the past five meals. Regardless of our intended hunt, we find ourselves in a restaurant more akin to this first interpretation.
Picture a small room; just big enough to sit the 10 of us around a long narrow table, and just small enough for our shop owner to squeeze past. It’s a bit dark with one florescent light, a red florescent light to b exact, with our view to the outside world nearly cut off by the counter toppled high in pita and roasting chickens. The walls, as if covered in tin foil, are actually decorated with the ‘best quality’, ‘most shiny’ wrapping paper. Each sheet with its slightly different pattern, were all clearly chosen to work perfectly with our psychedelic red florescent.
At this time I am looking to the front at our old man, dressed in long dull coloured garments, cooking up a storm on the grill, seemingly quite a quiet fellow, and I can’t help but ask myself “did he do all of this?” This is not the excitement on the other end however. The more exciting event, is the fact that there are 10 foreigners in this shop which, may very well have never had any foreigners before.
The level of activity quickly grows. One man out front is running to get us pepsi’s, plates of salada’s are running down the table, bowls of tahini and piles of pita are appearing quicker than we can eat them. We see they are cooking chicken and so order, “Chicken for all”. A couple more young men come in to see that we are happy. “you happy?” Yes, thumbs up, smiles, we are happy. The young men are running in and out of the back to get cutlery and be sure that everything is ok as “Chicken for all” comes out. One chicken for you, one chicken for you, one chicken for you, one whole roasted chicken for everyone! “You happy?” Yes, thumbs up, smiles, we are happy, only laughing maybe a little bit this time. Ok, now everyone is REALLY happy.
Now it is time. Our young man squeezes past to the sound system in the corner, plugs in his music player, and it’s on. The music blares. The ears are full, the mouth is useless, what is left but to continue to feast your eyes. Our young man excitedly hops from one Egyptian pop track to another, each one as loud as the previous. “You Happy? ” said like a question but the answer is obvious to them. Yes, of course we are happy. The music is blasting so loud now that everyone is now in their own little world, left to take in the furry ornaments hanging from the ceiling, the plastic wrapped wall hangings and the swirl of the disco ball lights humming past the front window with everyone’s faces clouded in a veil of the red fluorescent glow. Yes, I am happy.
— Adele Woodyard