The adage ‘Life is a long lesson in humility’ has been used so often that I find it trite. I fail to understand the humility part because humility is a lesson only learnt by weak willed human beings who live on ivory towers. Mostly it is second generation middle-class Kenyans, who have been bred to believe that they are actually special because they had Weetabix for breakfast while growing up. Be that as it may, I think life is a long lesson on loss. Loss is the all-encompassing factor that we all share as human beings. We all lose things in the course of our lives, in the worst of times we lose people to death, social class and ultimately we all lose our lives.
I am not new to loss, last year somebody pinched my TV and I tend lose socks every other day much to the dismay of my partner but mostly it is because she moves things. I have lost entire nights that I would have spent in bed having luscious explicit dreams about hammering an Audi S3 sedan through the winding B-roads of Murang’a County. These nights were spent exploring the vast world of GTA V.
We are all dying, some slowly and gracefully thus society deems it fit to call it ageing. Some of us go about the business of dying rapidly; people call that ailing. It is a splendid thought however, that we are all bound by the same fate in this life. The facial features that you are so proud of will one day droop and your skin will attain the texture of an iguana’s and that is only if you are lucky to make it to old age. Nevertheless, there is no need to hasten this natural process.
One of my new year’s resolutions was absolute abstinence from alcohol. I followed keenly in amusement as Europeans marked the end of ‘dry January’ earlier this year which was a campaign (if I may say so) where people opt to abstain from alcohol for that month. The funny part to this is that Kenyans inadvertently joined in this campaign too seeing as how every New Year approaches with new and exciting ways to render them bankrupt. I am no exception, thus, and I am being thoroughly honest here, part of the reason I have been off alcohol is the fact that I am tinkering on the brink of vagrancy.
”I like to think it is my steely resolve and disciplined mind that have brought me this far..”
However, I like to think it is my steely resolve and disciplined mind that have brought me this far. I am fearful for the immediate future if my poverty status takes a wild turn and changes; will I keep up with abstinence or will I succumb? I know of a few lives that have almost been lost because of alcohol. I can name effortlessly close friends and acquaintances who are slowly dying from the indulgence of alcohol related recreational activities. It is a gradual death though and it is self-inflicted so nobody pays it any mind; not even the victims.
I hope that by the end of this year, having maintained an impeccable slate on abstinence from alcoholic beverages; I shall be in a teetotaler focus group preaching abstinence and how sobriety heals everything since sobriety is all there really is. Besides, there are far, better things ahead than those we leave behind. It is still a beautiful life.
I hope they do not call you Matt, in school at home or anywhere. I think it is silly and quite frankly it makes me think you are a bubble headed goon who goes around vomiting sunshine. I hope you developed my level of sarcasm and borrowed a pinch of your mother’s sense of humour. The fact that you are reading this means that something about our parenting was right and you can at least read one foreign language (English obviously, sarcasm is universal). I am also of the opinion that if you are reading it from a Mac Book Pro you should be thankful too. We your parents, had to do this from a crappy Chinese make that we had to share between us, the very machine I am typing from right now. However, it is not the lifestyle discrepancy that is important. What counts is the fact that you learn to appreciate what you have because, someone worked very hard to have it. It’s a curse or a vicious circle; one time you’ll go out on a limb to secure something for someone who will in turn take it for granted. It is a special kind of pain that; and I pray to God you do not have to experience that.
I was prompted to leave you these memoirs since a budding young man needs pointers if you may. Guidelines as to who you are, where you are from and then you can figure it out from there. I hardly think that I would require leaving you a manual on how to live your life. That would signify that you are a spineless human being and I a parenting failure. This is an insight into who I am and life through the lenses of my eyes. There is much from me you could learn, some of it bad, some of it good but all of it useful. In this world you will need a mentor, someone to shine a light on your path. For the better part of your life, that beacon of flight will have to be me, but there is only so much I can do. In some ways I am afraid I may come up short, this is not something I may not completely agree with but I have come to accept. In these here memoirs you shall find ways to identify one such mentor and in a timely fashion so that you may grow to be all you can be.
In this life Matthew, you can only be either one of two things; you can be real and loved or you can be shiny and admired. I hope you choose a little bit of both. Just you make sure to have the love of your family and the admiration of both friend and foe. This as you shall discover is the most sought after balance in this era of social media. Welcome to my life son, do not ape me, just take what may please you and give back what you can.
This is going to be my year. Nobody says that about the year they are going to die. I will not lie that I haven’t the vaguest idea where my life is headed let alone the meaning of it all. I grope in the dark like most people, fighting my demons and pretending to have a bearing. However, I enjoy this shit, the universe is generous such that there are things and people I have lost along the way that I may have thought were irreplaceable only for the void to be filled.
We all have high hopes at the wake of every year’s beginning. Which drove me to thinking what would happen if I died today. For starters I would owe in excess of 2000 USD in debt. Half of that debt would be a student loan that I would be glad that I made away with. In Part this is because I will have saved some poor youth from making it out of campus with a pointless degree and a mountain of debt like myself. The rest of the money I would owe to my siblings who lent it to me in the form of soft loans that I have been too poor to repay.
My laundry basket would have at least two pairs of socks and a pair of light grey corduroys. My bed would be in what my mother calls a ‘sorry state’ which is to say it would not be made. My pillow case would have 2000KES that I stashed in there a couple months ago so I could ward off nightmares.
On the bright side I would die in clean underwear because I make sure I wear crisp fresh boxers every day, it is one of the few pleasures I allow myself. I would also die in pristine physical condition, with the ability to run three kilometres in 16 minutes flat and the kind of muscle to fat ratio that my beer drinking peers had when they were in their teens.
The only regret I will have will be having people talk about how pure my heart really was which will be a blatant lie. In truth, I have great big conflicts inside my soul as all human beings presumably do. They will not tell you about that or the fact that death didn’t really faze me; just the fact that I shall have all these unfulfilled fantasies and intricate vanities that I allow myself when I am daydreaming.
I really do hope that in heaven (which is where I pray my soul reports) there is nothing vaguely similar to Twitter. I cannot tweet for shit to date and quite frankly I do not know what it was for, I hear people have handles there. As far as I am concerned a ‘handle’ is a derogatory term that is used for belly fat that settles around the sides of well-fed human beings. I hope there are no taxes too and that there is an endless supply of motorcycles and roads to ride them in.
Seriously though; I hope that today is not that day.
The truth is, by and large, that 2017 has been a great year for me. I have grown in considerable ways and my status among certain individuals that I care deeply about has been elevated. Maybe that is why its demise has been something to mull over and accept slowly as in the death of a loved one. For instance I discovered that I have knack for hairdressing. I can cut, style and dye the crap out of hair to the scale of any decent professional and I am trying to be humble here because my skill has been tested on both genders. I never knew I could do these things and it meant a lot to me to learn that I could.
There are a few great souls in my life, people I look up to when I want to arrive to the proverbial home that Maya Angelou ever so often talked about. These people have also grown I leaps and bounds and our relationships have been modified irrevocably. Human relationships are strange, one day you are sitting with them eating and laughing with them and then it stops. I think this is one of the saddest things I have learnt about life this year; that without grand betrayal or death that two human beings who were very close can be reduced to strangers.
The highlight to this year was Valentine’s Day when I was fired from my last job. It was living proof that God indeed does have a sense of humour. I took at that situation with a sunny disposition because that is what that degree of irony demanded. Laughing; that is how I rid myself of the stench of daily living; and this year I had a few that I can remember. Like this time a belle seated next to me in the matatu sneezed and farted simultaneously; I laughed so hard I almost farted myself to the dismay of the girl who was probably having a really bad day both inside and out.
Folks, I believe that when words touch minds; that is how galaxies are made. Thus I try to give a dose of dopamine to every reader that makes it here after all you deserve good things and I try to be one of them. I have tried as much as I could to share everything I could without living out a single detail. However sometimes it was not enough and sometimes it was too much; either way you never stopped visiting, the Kenyan folk, the Norwegian folk (led by Normabob) and our illustrious brethren from the Republic Of South Africa. It has been a great big privilege to matter to you, especially seeing as how English is not my first language. God bless you abundantly this year and may you live long and prosper!
Fact: If you are Kenyan, a vast majority of laymen among the international community probably think you live in a Savannah surrounded by the perils of jungle life. This is further complimented by the fact that our precious Nairobi National Park sits so close to the Nation’s capital that you can see giraffes making love from the KICC rooftop. They probably think slay queens emerge from Manyattas to hit the spa for a detox session. Let us imagine Kim Kardashian looking for a holiday destination on her Mac Book air and suggesting Kenya to her chisel jawed husband.
“I was thinking you, me and the kids should go on a Safari to Kenya”, says Mrs. West
“Kenya? Isn’t that where Obama traced his dad?” Mr West retorts absent minded groping at his wife’s ass.
“I dunno, maybe…Obama was like the president right?” Mrs West is now getting confused, thinking seems to do that to her.
“No Baby, let’s go somewhere people actually wear clothes…” Mr West exits the room mid-haste probably to tweet a troll on Taylor Swift.
Now imagine an average English bloke sitting in front of his Telly somewhere in Birmingham, profession notwithstanding, watching that distasteful movie ‘Eye in the Sky’ that showcases a shanty wasteland in Nairobi called Eastleigh that even has Alshabaab controlled zones. He probably thinks Kenyans are either Maasai living in the vast grasslands or city dwellers that are downtrodden by terror groups.
In truth, I have never really been anywhere myself, I have lived the entirety of my life within the confines of Kenya’s borders. I may have crossed the border once at Busia into Uganda which is similar to saying I can speak Spanish; while the only things I know how to say is compliment a woman with a great rack. (And most Spaniard women do especially those in Spanish Soap Operas). However I do not judge America based on the Grand Theft Auto franchise which is an action-adventure video game that is loosely based on various cities within the USA. Otherwise I would be given to the bias that the society in the USA is white, paranoid and ready to shoot at anything that is different.
Meanwhile back in Kenya we are busy fighting among ourselves. We are a divided lot on the basis of tribe and menial things like the presence of a foreskin or lack thereof. There is little love lost between the fanatic followers of concerned political blocks. Yet from a distance the rest of the world is oblivious of our differences and indifferent at best. It does not matter what political block you belong to or whether you are circumcised or not. It holds no meaning to them that we do not all speak the same language. They know nothing of the so called historical injustices that some politicians are so quick in pointing out at various forums. To the untrained, average and impartial eye of the rest of the world; we are simply black; nothing more and nothing less.
Thus it is imperative that as we work towards new and exciting ways to make our already shitty existence unbearable for each other, to remember in the immortal words of Jay-Z; “You still a nigger…”
My wife is a feminist, my mother too and her mother before that; I am attracted to feminists myself because they have no feeling of inferiority although Mother Nature gave them fairer features. Au contraire, they feel empowered as they actually know for certain that being a woman is very powerful business if conducted properly. Maya Angelou was my all-time favourite feminist and most of her work is stupendously insightful into the world of the feminist.
Popular belief has it that feminists are man-hating lynch mobs that are fuelled by the ideals to establish a matriarchal society. Yet this is very far from the truth, unless of course you hail from those misogynistic societies where women have as much rights as a dairy cows. Feminists are not even the opposite of male chauvinists, they are rather simply human beings who above all else think that the thing that is most wrong in our society is the injustices that their gender in specific is accorded. It is a just cause in any case but I question its legitimacy like Thomas did The Resurrection.
I met this 24 year old at a funeral recently who was in a desperate need for a husband, it was in the colour of her eyes the span of her hips and the length of her arms (Hehe see what I did there?). I pitied her a great deal because for starters she was too easy on the eyes to be in her predicament. She was a graduate of a local private varsity and she held a position of repute as a procurement officer in a firm. She hails from a well put together nuclear family which is to say she has the right blend of daddy issues. It puzzled me so because from my stand point a girl in her shoes should have a waiting list for dates as long as Kelly Rowland’s legs.
Last week I watched a girl with albinism get applauded after emerging best pupil in the National primary school examinations. It was a feat worth recognition by all means seeing as how she was from a medium income home which means the odds were stacked high against her since she was born. Somehow she seemed oblivious to what this meant for the girl children her age. What struck me fancy was the lack of conceit in her demeanour which feminists need a dose of.
However, I may have unwittingly stumbled upon a pearl of wisdom in my alcohol induced poetry. There is a better way to raise a girl. You show her that she is beautiful and intelligent and make mirrors of your eyes and pray that she believes it. It may take a lifetime and divine patience but success lies in the event that she believes you. Then the story she tells herself in her head will change and she will transform into the ideal feminist; a woman who is not only seen as beautiful and intelligent but intelligently seen by the present day patriarchal society.
When I was ten years old I wanted to be a Lawyer. I was seduced by their smooth and suave ways; they seemed like custodians of justice to me. I went to those primary schools in the mid 90’s where the teachers were underpaid, unappreciated and overworked. These were teachers that would cane you at the slightest whim, neo-Nazis if you may and this brewed my love affair with justice. They were a romantic lot in my ten year old mind (Lawyers of course, not the teachers) the fact that they eked out a living making sure justice was served. But that was before I had pubic hair and thus it does not count.
There is a silver tongued devil I know that hails from my hometown, consequently he is a pharmaceutical medical representative salesperson and he is damn good at his job. He began in the proverbial gutter, as a driver for the same company. All he had back then was a college diploma in procurement and his witty charm; but clearly that was more than he needed. Our friendship is based on the fact that he gives me free samples of supplements and whatnot.
The last time we met he was doing an eastern province run and we were in the same vicinity so we arranged a meet. He had his nine-year old son with him. Henry’s son is a miniature version of his father, a spitting image of the man that can sell anything from dirty iced water to bespoke medical equipment. He rides shotgun in his father’s Toyota Rumion where he fills out invoices for different orders. It is the epitome of a father son relationship; they look like Tom Hanks and his son from the motion picture ‘The Road to Perdition’. They do not split the earnings of course because the son is paid in edible treats like sneakers and Cardbury’s Lunch bars.
What fascinated me the most was the ease to which the ten year old could recite the benefits of their flagship products which were mainly diabetes drugs. He could tell the active ingredients of some drugs and the edge they had over other drugs of same kind. This boy even knew how to search for a drug in the pharmacopeia which is like a little dictionary where pharmacists look up different types of drugs and their generic types. At his age I had trouble arranging words in alphabetical order let alone look them up in the dictionary.
In many ways then Henry’s son is like a personal assistant, and many would argue that the son has a right to be a child. Indeed I agree he should, but he is usually very happy spending time with his father in this fashion. I actually pity his peers who are currently learning useless skills such as reciting the names of rivers in their county and how to tie a neck tie. At least he knows why he would want to be a pharmacist whom he does and he has the chance to find out why he would not fancy that career path. And this is more than I could say for his peers…