Come on, come on, turn the radio on. It’s Friday night and it won’t be long.
When leaving the Hub most days, I know that it won’t just take me the five perceived minutes that it should for me to make it back to my flat. In fact, most days, I count on experiencing a couple of detours. There are too many people on the streets from the Hub to my home that I can run into, and almost all of them want at least a few minutes of conversation. This can be tiring, but mostly, it’s just amazing.
Gotta do my hair, put my make-up on. It’s Friday night and it won’t be long till I hit the dance floor.
On one particular evening in July, I was flagged down just down the street from the Hub by one of our neighbors, a sweet man from Palestine who was living with his young children and family in special housing outside of the refugee camp. He called out to me from in front of his house urgently. “Matt, Matt, Matt, I need your help!”
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight!
I shuffled over to him, immediately being asked if I was interested in having any tea. I declined, having to follow a specific Code of Conduct implemented by my employer. He brought me over to a table in front of his house and sat my down in front of a notebook. “I’ve been trying to figure this out for weeks,” he says hurriedly, “and then my daughter said, ‘ASK MATT’ so I need your help.”
I don’t need no money.
He positions the notebook and a pen in front of me on the table and then takes out his phone. “I’ve been trying to figure out what the words are in this song for so long. It’s just so beautiful and I have to know!” He begins to play a song on his phone. It’s “Cheap Thrills” by Sia, a song released three years ago about…going dancing. I can’t help but crack a huge smile as the words of this familiar pop song ring out around us. He thinks this song is beautiful. He wants to know more about it, to understand it. Without wasting another moment, I go to work, writing each of the words down as I go.
La, la, la, la, la, la, la (I love cheap thrills)
I’m not sure if my companion was aware that I had, indeed, heard this particular song before, but I didn’t care either way. Watching him grin from ear to ear as I carved out each word onto the paper made the whole situation worth it. And I got such a laugh later on when I stopped to think about the situation: Sitting in front of refugee housing, trying to write out Sia lyrics to sound more poetic than they actual are.
Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that can bring everyone a little bit of joy, all in different ways.