Footprints in the sand

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I lost my virginity in a strawberry scented room with a Barak Obama poster on the wall to the sweet mellow night time music of KBC English Service. It was cold and the blankets seemed to weigh down heavily on my skinny frame as I wrestled with my then girlfriend; an equally scrawny bird with a great big ass (or so I thought then came Nicki Minaj). I was confused to say the least and I desperately nursed a semi seeing as how The Backstreet Boys were playing their hit song ‘Drowning’. I remember the anti-climax of never quite managing what we had set out to achieve that night and sitting there dick in hand (literally) wondering what the fuss around sex was all about. Many years have passed since that night but unfortunately that memory remains as vivid as they come. I shelve these things in different parts of my brain in the hope that I never have to revisit them yet the slightest provocation triggers them. People seem to have one-night-stands ever so often or entire relationships and forget them entirely. I am physically incapable of doing this.

I kept a journal in my teen years and sometime into my early twenties. I read it today as I cleaned out my room and ended up taking a two hour plunge into my pubescent mind. It was awesome, my outlook of the world and the way I believed in absolutes. In a way, I’m still idyllic in some ways but the core of my being never quite changed. I retained my cynicism and an untainted love affair with words since clearly this is how best I express myself. I also avoid getting too involved with people because the end of any relationship however trivial leaves me feeling like I did that night I lost my virginity.  This took me to some shit I have been dealing with lately.

I lost a cousin in the recent past; he was as close as they come. His death was untimely, the details to which I shall choose not to share out of respect for him if no one else. I have memories about him taking me to the mechanic’s to fix my bike on a hot Saturday. He had on those half-coats and a tucked shirt, black leather boots with the laces undid and round rimmed shades to match. I remember him showing me how to sharpen a knife and how to do a proper push-up. He loved reggae music and was himself an artist to some degree before his demise. Last night I found myself thinking of him as I played my reggae playlist. It is surreal to think that he is no more let alone sad. The problem with people is that God produces one of each despite there being seven billion of us.

There is all this residue information about him in my mind. Like the way he used to smile when he blushed, the Scooby Doo branded tie that he gave me in 2011. I remember his flawless round chapatis, his graceful ways and open mind. The tragedy is I cannot recreate his presence even with all this information floating in my mind, and that’s what gets us all in the end…

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Three Kings

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First of all, I want to admit that none of this is cold hard fact. No scientific methods of research were employed in the compilation of these findings; better yet you are not obligated to like contents of this here post. Capiche?

Now that we have ousted the elephant in the room, let us take a jab at the issue. There are only three men in any woman’s life. This as I have come to establish is not subject to the place this woman comes from. It stands unaffected by her race, hair colour, number of sexual partners or the colour of her eyes when she has too much to drink. These men are namely, Father, Husband and The One that got away. Let us look at each one.

Father

In every woman’s life there is a father. It matters not whether she knew him or not. Either way this man sets the tempo upon which all men in the said woman’s life are expected to dance. Most women have a father they adore or utterly despise and/or hate. There is no middle ground with the poor men that have been placed on this podium. The father figure cannot alleviate his image if he is despised and little can be done to lower the lofty position that fathers who are adored enjoy. In truth, every woman has such a man in their life. Some visit theirs occasionally, some hardly ever think of theirs and some marry the man (read Celine Dion). The beauty about having this title is that you are enough- absolute in every way.

The One That Got away

There is the guy that every woman thinks about when you talk about heartbreak. He was your whole galaxy but to him you were just a single star. You occasionally have erotic dreams about the two of  you together and you regret even having liked, heck, loved this man. The guy she thinks about during roof top dances, forehead kisses and beach bonfires at the movies. This is the guy that inadvertently taught the woman the difference between somebody who loves them and somebody who would do anything to keep them. She learnt that she could miss someone with every fibre of her being but not want them back. Any woman reading this has someone in mind…and I did not even have to say his name!

Husband

A woman’s heart is a chamber of secrets, throw Harry Porter and his magic wand. One of these secrets is the fact that she is hung up on someone. However, we all are and thus this evens out at some point. The husband’s sole purpose is to fill in the time; the stuff that life is made of; between Mr wrong and the present. This is of course because women never really forget The One that Got Away but they certainly release him. They stop allowing their history to have any meaning for them in the present.

The main perk of being husband is that the bar is set incredibly low by the asshole that preceded you. You are allowed to grow fat and unattractive; you even get the right to bore the woman in question. All you need to be is reliable. Mr Husband should be available for family outings, fund baby showers for friends who she admits are not really friends and many of the trite activities that married life consists of.

All in all, the wisest woman of all agrees that men are just whom they are and this is life. You are best taking them as they are and better yet accepting them for the form in which they exist

Blank Pages

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I like living, probably because I have never been dead. This is all I know, but I love it with every fiber of my being. I love waking up to a headache from a night of partying. I enjoy sipping my tea in a dingy restaurant with blue collar men doused in their football banter. I savour the time spent in grossly overpriced restaurants that put raisins in their salads. Places where ladies with bottomless underwear compare the size of their engagement rings over double lattes and no-cream muffins. I love my dad and his sarcastic jokes and my mother with her absent sense of humour. I love my duo core Lenovo that I christened ‘Florentina’, she is a sturdy and reliable partner from where these words are weaved. Yes, I like living because even though I have never experienced anything else. Living is sensational.

My mother, as all good mothers are, worries about me. I bet my dad does too but he does a better job at hiding it. In this regard, she loves to repeat one piece of advice that I bet will serve me for the rest of my life.

“Do what you have to do,” she always says each time we part ways

My mother is a radical realist. She is the kind of person who absorbs the reality of any situation with an impartial eye. She is all brain, with some heart. It begs the notion that that is where this philosophy was coined. I like to think that my mother appreciates the fact that I am a man. That in more occasions than one I may be required to do something that sits outside my comfort zone in order to champion my interests.

These words have been the ethos I have live by for most of my adult life. They have been the beacon of light in the dreary and dark trenches that encapsulate petty wars. This has inadvertently become my philosophy as well; I do what I have to do. That varies from severing unproductive relationships to toxic hobbies or improving my posture. I always ask myself the important question of whether I have to do whatever it is that I am doing. The magic in these words is that they teach you to impose your will upon life which in turn makes it more productive. The scorecard always shows you as a winner and even when life manages to throw you a low blow, you manage to walk with your nose in the air.

The knowledge to accept that which you cannot change becomes more profound because you accurately established it as a fact. My actions are deliberate and less tainted by the pussy-foot brought about by having multiple mind-sets. I cannot help but think myself lucky, because of having had such great advice to live by. I have learned to walk the tight rope, with a bulletproof mind and a smile on my face. My life is going to be spent jumping off cliffs and learning to fly on the way down…

College

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Going to college in many countries guarantees you a decent job or at least a decent shot at a good job. In my country, going to college is not a straight shot at anything. In my experience all you take away is bragging rights that you enjoyed the confines of a lecture hall and last I checked this does not pay the bills. It goes a long way to improving ones language skills and introduces you to English words like paradigm that you can flaunt at job interviews if you are lucky enough to be short-listed for any. It is no secret that light skin, fair features and good English are mistaken for intelligence in the Kenyan job market. Having a senior civil servant like a parastatal board member or a corporate monster in a reputable business firm as a godfather is even better. That means that getting a job that pays you at least 400USD per month makes you someone worth envying. Yet a third of said earnings are lost to taxation.

That means it is not unusual to board an Uber taxi cab that is being driven by Master Degree holder. A chauffeur who successfully uses words like prerogative in everyday speech, effortlessly maps out the shortest routes and weaves through Nairobi’s hellish traffic with impeccable ease. I think I was a tad bit describing myself in that last statement. It is especially demeaning when the fleet manager shouts at you over the radio in the presence of a customer. Once I had this sweet lady probably in her early fifties who witnessed one such act and went on to tip me heavily.

“Trust yourself she said, you seem to have survived a lot and you’ll survive whatever is coming…”

I have been chewing over those words in my brain every morning as I punch in to work. My supervisor, a stout Indian man in his early thirties is barely five feet tall. He hardly commands a lot of respect given that nature saw it fit to equip him with a high pitched voice that is spectacularly annoying over the radio. However, I put up with this because I am highly passionate about having a fridge full of groceries and some electricity to run it.

I have had bosses who paid me less than their dry cleaning bills and yet they are the ones who demanded the most output. Every so often I have been faced with the question as to what was more important between a fridge load of groceries and my personal dignity. I keep asking myself is this how I want to spend my life? Apologizing? Moonlighting as a blogger to lick my wounds from a job I hardly cherish? Questioning? Hating on my rich peers? I think I need to be ballsy. I need to take risks. Do that which makes me feel good because I only really have this one life. I need to make myself proud!

She Knows…

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Every so often, mostly after weeks of low inspiration, as a last result, I like to engage in what would often be described as stimulating conversations with close female friends. These conversations allow me a sneak preview into the world of estrogen, tears, rainbows and butterflies. For my male reader please pay attention, I am handing you pearls here. I have made a list of 10 of the most interesting things that women have told me in the last few conversations; initials have been used to protect the identities of my sources.

1.“I love it because all week long I will be feeling that something is not quite normal, down there…” -A.N.

This was a discussion about why the lady in question was adamant that she needs a man with a large member.

2. “Women only cry after proposals because of being overwhelmed by emotion and the inability to vent these feelings…thus it is best if a proposal is made in a bedroom setting…” -M.G.

This was the most sincere explanation I ever got to justify the waterworks that precede and sum up the modern day marriage proposal.

3. ” A doting boyfriend who spends his money lavishly on his significant other is only comparable to a man with two d*cks..” -C.K.

Ms. C.K. here was describing a weekend birthday party that she attended for one of her girl friends where there was an open bar and a buffet table.

4. “Second chances are not the same as forgiveness…” -J.N.

J.N. was trying to describe why she and her boyfriend had got back together after a break up that was generously documented on social media

5. “Ice cream was invented to console those women who are broken by life” -C.T.

In all fairness, my friend C.T. loves food, but she definitely worships ice cream. If any of her aspiring boyfriends bought me a drink, I’d give them valid pointers.

6. “I would never fight a woman over a man. If children were fighting over a toy, I would get rid of the toy. So I’d annihilate the man not the competition.” -M.G.

There is a certain people in Kenya known for their overloaded  pickup driving skills, lack of a sense of humour and combat knife skills. M.G. hails from that region thus it would behoove me to believe she was dead serious.

7.” There’s no such thing as a whore. Women are made for men and vice versa. Its just that some women are compatible with more than just one man…” -J.N.

J.N. has had a lot of dudes in her life, she doesn’t regret it because she is a feminist who believes that men’s only privilege is their ability to pee while standing.  She is undoubtedly my favourite argument partner because it often gets low down and dirty…

8.” There’s a long queue of men waiting to disappoint you, provided you expect absolute financial support and orgasms.” -H.M.

You see everybody has a H.M. in their lives. They are gorgeous looking, social climbing bimbos, riddled with daddy issues who would do anything and/or anyone for money except a fat, rich bloke twice her age.

9.”In the same fashion a victim of brain cancer does not cut his head off so should a woman never give up on love.” -V.K.

V.K. could very well be my mother’s age. She is funny, witty and sharp. She embodies that title adorned on women who pay their own bills in today’s society. She has never been married and I think she pretty much knows what she means by that.

10. “A single woman needs a big car, preferably a large four by four. A Range Rover or a Landcruiser Prado to accommodate herself and all her feelings.” -M.G.

As sexist as the above quote may sound, my friend G.M. made my week and 40 subsequent ones. I now engage in the activity of trying to identify single women in SUVs from the bus with their truckloads of “feelings”

ASK A WOMAN TODAY!

 

 

Yours Faithfully

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Ask any man, their mother is the most important human female they will ever know. It matters not whether she is as sophisticated as Michelle Obama or as simple as your local mama mboga. Mothers remain men’s most treasured emotional assets and I would run at a paucity of words if I plunged into these details. This here is one such story of the relationship between a mother and her son. It is not in my best interests to be sharing this with the world especially because it involves my landlady and her son. I already owe her a month’s rent and i have defaulted on my garbage collection fees for a year now. It goes without saying that our relationship is that much strained as it is. However I do this for lack of a better idea, because the story aches to be shared and having a roof over my head is far outweighed by my need to share my gossip, but that’s none of your business.

My landlady, let’s call her Oga Madam,hails from Nyeri county. I know this because she sports a serious speech impediment when certain consonants are combined, as in ‘CH’, ‘SH’…you get the drift. She is in a mid-fifties at least and probably a widow by my observations. She lives in the lofty apartment at the top of the two storey building. I use the word lofty with much confidence citing the fact that she has her own designated water tank complete with an electric pump.

This is a far cry from the central tap located at the ground floor that 15 apartments share which chiefly means she gets to flush her toilets as I prioritize between doing the dishes and brushing my teeth. I have inadvertently become a master at recycling water; or resource conservation rather. I cannot help but imagine the late Professor Wangari Mathai smiling down on me from heaven.

Oga Madam’s son, whom I have nicknamedMr. Faithful, is the icing on the cake. He is a blossoming man in his mid-twenties. I heard once that a man is immortal at that age but judging from his appearance, this fellow fetched from the shallow end of the gene pool. He is trapped in a petite frame which awards him an average build of about 57kilos at five foot eight inches in height.

He is a mercurial man whose mood remains as enigmatic as the sea. My girlfriend says he makes her nervous and in a moment you’ll begin to see why. Mr. Faithful is a university student, that is to say it remains his primary profession. However, every morning he is his mother’s chauffeur, driving her to the work place in the wee hours of the morning probably so he can beat traffic and make it to his lectures. Oh, did I mention what makeof car it was? It is a milk white Toyota Probox. Yes, I know it is cliché in a fashion but in my landlady’s defense that car boasts about the utility of a Swiss army knife. I need not go into the details of how thrifty a kikuyu can be; that is the story of another day.

My girlfriend and I have very strong opinions as to what make of a car a woman of Oga Madam’s social class should drive.Yet as a rule of thumb we never talk about that car past 2100hrs. That’s primarilybecause we live on the first floor right below her pent house suite and we cannot vouch for the thickness of the walls. At 2100hrs the activities on the floor above us reduce and so do our jokes about the Swiss-army-knife-utility car. Every evening upon chauffeuring his mama home, Mr. Faithful parks the car outside the apartment complex and dutifully gets down to getting rid of the grime that may have collected in a day’s runabout. He does so in a somber mood wearing the history of his predicament like a make up on a socialite’s face. It is also a common sight to find Mr. Faithful wielding a broom in hand, cleaning the apartment’s common areas. If ever his mother was fond of him, that fact eludes me.

One thing that always intrigues me is his whistle. I am no music expert but I can tell you for free that this guy’s whistle emanates from the soul. It is asoulful melody, so profound that itseems to waft about the air around him as he performs his duties. I find it uncanny that it alludes to a Maya Angelou poem; ‘I know why the caged bird sings’… so I find my mind begging the question, do I?

The Couple Next door

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There is a couple that lives in the bed-sitter right next to mine. They are a regular couple in more ways than one and there would be no reason for me to notice them except the aromas that waft from their house always manage to find my nostrils. The cockroaches in my house have also acknowledged this through their exodus from my hospitality. This again would not be an issue except it not only shows that there is no treasure in my trash but also belittles my kindness to animals efforts given I am a trained environmentalist.

They are a young couple, which goes to say I am slightly older by half a decade or so. They remind me of my late teens when I was made of rubber and magic, when the validity of my dreams knew no bounds. The girl in the relationship is a tall girl of about 5’ 7’’ who wears a smile that tells you she has not yet had her heart broken. She is pleasant although the skimpy shorts she wears leave little to imagination. And imagination is good, for the male mind in the village I raised from. Her boyfriend however, is of a skinny frame. A matchstick man of sorts, the type that would need to carry weights in their pocket if they lived in tornado prone areas. This strikes me odd since from my standpoint I do not see what a girl like his would be doing with a guy like him. This is college though; my prejudices are a candle in the sun.

They always wake up a good hour before dawn to make love, just like I do…only I live alone. The rhythmic banging of their headboard against the wall is evidence to their youth and this also drives me insane. Quite frankly, I do not like this couple at all, despite the fact that they never seem to tire of my visits to borrow their mop. Yet this is not new, it is normal human nature. I realized we all hate on people who have what we cannot have. It dawned on me too why middle aged folks hate on 20 and 30 year olds. It gave me a first-hand experience on how easy it is for we the youth to be insensitive to the plight of middle aged folks.

For instance, it makes perfect sense why every motorist I overtake on the highway gives me that look when I zoom past them in my rented Toyota Probox. The salty looks I get from women my mother’s age when they see me add 200 shilling Durex condoms onto my shopping basket. It is a look borne of lost contours, added weight, problems associated with age generally. We deserve their wrath because we sleep less, look better and have more sex. Thus, it would behoove people of yore (like you and me) to treat older folks better for this is where we are headed.