I don't know squat about Bahrain.
I realized this while sitting in the Kuwait Airport Starbucks, sipping whatever was cheapest while I use the free airport wi-fi. (Do you suppose anyone ever uses the pay Starbucks wi-fi here?) I'm surrounded by smokers—took a quick look around and everyone in the whole place was smoking. Choke and bear it. It's all part of the extremely discreet charm of Kuwait City.
My pal The Professor lives there. He's teaches and deans at New York Institute of Technology, Bahrain Campus. I didn't know there was an NYIT anywhere outside New York. He used to do something involving statistics or questionnaire results in Abu Dhabi. Before that, it was something similar in New York, while he earned something like 17 Master's degrees at Columbia. I'm exaggerating, but he has a few of them. I can't remember if he ever got that elusive PhD or not. So many people don't. Even the hyper-educated eSwede—who sometimes writes me emails that I know are in English but I couldn't tell you what they mean--didn't get around to it.
I met the Professor in either the late 80s or early 90s. Those years are a blur of staying out until four seeing indie bands at Maxwell's, Knitting Factory, or CBGB's, then having the energy to still do a good job making the doughnuts (Marvel Comics) the next morning. He was a friend of a guy I was seeing (a supposed filmmaker—so many are—but one that actually turned out to be more than supposed and actually made a film and still makes plenty these days, even making money at it). I can't remember if we met in Austin or Jersey City, but The Professor came up to stay with me and the Other Marie (we were housemates) one summer. He became a recurring character in the Marie and Marie Show, kind of our older academic brother, then finally moved to NYC permanently sometime after I'd repositioned myself in Manhattan, the Other Marie installed two stories above in her own Avenue B condo.
Daniel Johnston introduced me to the filmmaker, and I met Daniel Johnston through a combination of the McDonald's he worked in and the parking lot of the Austin Chronicle, but that is another story.
I'm going to see The Professor because we have a three-day weekend and Jazeera Airways is so cheap. I'll be back tomorrow night. I'm not quite sure what we're going to do in Bahrain. I assumed there is not a hell of a lot to do. Sometimes The Professor tells me I'm crazy. I hate when he does that. No, Jared, that is not an invitation to pick on me in the Comments.
Let's review our pooled knowledge of Bahrain. Here's what I know.
-Michael Jackson lives there and at least once tried to go out while covered up like a woman (I have no idea how anyone figured it out. That's a good disguise. It might have been the fact that his kids had their heads swathed in black cloth.)
-It's on an island.
-Alcohol is legal there.
-There's a really long bridge to Saudi Arabia from Bahrain.
-I'm guessing there's some drunk driving that happens on that long bridge.
-The population of Bahrain is way, way smaller than that of Kuwait.
What do you know about Bahrain?