Where is Jay-Z?

So, yesterday morning I was at the Ethiopian Embassy in Pretoria to apply for visitors’ visas. After I signed in at the security gate, I could tell that the security guard needed to wand me to check for weapons, priceless krugerrands, etc. Like most embassy guards, he was a black South African. Seeing me as a white person in Pretoria, he started speaking to me in Afrikaans.

“Oh, I don’t speak Afrikaans,” I said.

“Ah, English!” he replied.

“Yep. I’m an American,” I blurted, for some odd reason, as if that fact would somehow help me at the Ethiopian Embassy.

“You’re an American?!”


“You’re an American? Then where is Jay-Z?”

“Sorry?” I stammered, thinking he couldn’t have just asked me, a weird-looking white dude standing at the gates of the Ethiopian Embassy in South Africa, the whereabouts of Jay-Z.

“Where is Jay-Z?” he quizzed me again, smiling broadly.

“Uhhh…I guess he’s in Brooklyn?” I tried. And as soon as it came out of my mouth, it dawned on both of us that we were standing in Pretoria’s Brooklyn neighborhood, meaning that Jay-Z was, indeed, in Brooklyn and not in Brooklyn at the same time.

We had a laugh. I went inside.

If only my conversation inside had gone as well…