Benjamin has been my friend for years. I met Benjamin after High school at a stage of our lives when tired looking jeans, torn somewhere by the knee, was fashionable. That rip off (because I could as well have taken one of my faded old jeans and used a razor blade to create fashion out of it is that’s the trend) was named ‘Unfinished Jeans’. Benjamin introduced me to unfinished jeans. We would walk through Nairobi to events like Sepetuka, and I would dump my Shagzmodo traits there like sucking a red lollypop while listening to Jua Kali taking too long to say nothing. (Waaaatu…. Mnajua Niaje blah blah).
Friendship is an alliance of convenience, a distant and pretentious association between men willing to split the cost of ugali-choma and help move furniture if stairs aren’t involved (I’m saying this because I’ve lived on sixth floor and nobody would help me carry a bucket other than my own brother Sheldon). Now that all of my friends are selfishly moving forward with their own lives rather than being an expedient diversion in mine, I find myself isolated. I should probably make new friends, but only if it’s not more practical to die alone. That’s where Benjamin comes in, we can tolerate each other.
But Benjamin has a girlfriend. Six years into their relationship, they can’t agree on whether the sky is blue, or the colour is ‘sky-blue’. They argue over literally anything, including whether Larry Madowo’s smile is real or genuine. Personally, I don’t care, but Benjamin is my friend and I have to stand by him. So we all agreed over a cup of coffee at Café Deli along Kenyatta Avenue (Fantastic Place) that anytime he is in a debate with his girlfriend that needs my intervention, I will agree with him. Most of the time, Benjamin is wrong, because Benjamin doesn’t think hard despite him going to college to study Communication. Since college works because of how long it holds you, not what it teaches, post-secondary education is the most expensive daycare on earth. And interacting with Benjamin got me thinking about what College education is all about even further; a useless pyramid scheme. Most courses outside the sciences don’t train students to do anything in fact. Benjamin for example can yada yada about intangible benefits like critical thinking skills or broadened horizons and then attach a very tangible price tag like Sh120,000 as his starting salary expectation; becoming a well-rounded person isn’t worth six figures of debt. Benjamin cannot stand 5 minutes of watching the news (He studied communication), so basically that’s his degree wasted. The only his degree proves so far is that his parents were not afraid to waste money.
Benjamin’s girlfriend, because of the reasons stated above, doesn’t really like me. She lost hope with me which doesn’t really bother me because even I lost hope in myself. And friendship is a privilege, not a right, and she would still abuse it at every available opportunity. The girl is only proactive when her behavior is destructive in some way. She shows up at Benjamin’s house and she controls everything including the TV remote. We would both be watching important shows like Spongebob or England being dumped out of every football tournament they play in, but the girl will switch us to her daddy problem fantasy world (There’s no better way to describe a girl who was born and raised in a two parent family in Kilimambogo, and she watches Kardashians in Nairobi). There must be an uncle who touched her inappropriately in some burial ceremony back when she discovered her growing adolescent body parts. Everytime I open my mouth to speak, she makes that “Somebody just removed their shoes and their feet smells like death” face. I’m used to it, but it makes me feel so insecure. I chew PK when I am around her (She still makes the face) and I never wear shoes… Only sandals.
So this little imagination of Cinderella (because that’s what she thinks she is. Her Facebook name is Cinderella and not the usual Prisca Nyondoche Awino Jesica) decided to engage me in adult talk this weekend. The only lesson for me from the book and movie ‘Cinderella’ was that the only way to escape work is to pretty yourself up and snag a rich, powerful man who is really into feet, hence why I can’t take this girl seriously. But she insisted, and she’s a bug that one. I have seen how she texts Benjamin, and if her conversations go that way, you’d rather just respond. She’s the type who texts like this:
“Why are you taking time to reply”
“Can we talk”
“Okay you’re ignoring me?”
“Ben can you get serious with me right now”…
All this in the space of one minute 37 seconds. And when Ben replies, she usually has nothing to say. Maybe something like “I just wanted to disturb you sweetheart”. I’ve never understood how that relationship works. So she asked me…
“What do you think about Benjamin’s hairstyle?”
Benjamin, a 26 year old, went to the barbershop on 23rd June 2016, and asked for a mohawk. I don’t know what this man watches on his TV. But when in this year and time you can walk into a kinyozi and have a line of unkempt unshaved hair standing boldly at the centre of a clean shaven head… the tax you pay should not have tax relief. And, I’ve always been great at long distance relationships. The further away I am, the easier I am to like. That’s why of all the ways I interact with people, Social media and texting is my best bet. There, my ideas are constrained to a few characters. So I am always very careful when I meet people in person. Here, Benjamin was a friend I could not lose. He pays for passion juice at Café Deli and also knows my number off head. So I was not going to give him up to my painful reality and a bad hairdo. I decided to act like a man…
“Well Jessica, fashion works like that. It’s his style…”
“I asked you what you think of it…”
“What do you think of it Jessica”
“Why are you avoiding my question? Ben I don’t like your friend”
I got so animated people, because of what she said, but also because I’ve been harbouring a lot of unspoken animosity against this girl since she said all Arsenal fans think like sloths.
So… friends, I may have said something in the heat of the moment after that sentence, that included her being a masochistic, extravagant tool that should be donated free to Uganda and Chad republic (I don’t know where that country is), and also something in the light of her food tasting like a mixture of clay, toothpaste, milk and baby sounds… that has got Benjamin not talking to me.
I also take this time to apologize to Benjamin for calling his girlfriend a shallow brained newt with the brain capacity of a sleeping raccoon… Someone had to tell her Benjamin, for you. But I apologize. We don’t need to be friends Ben, but I’d appreciate it if as a parting gift, you give me the password you use on that site you pirate movies and series from. In return, I will let you have my gaming pad, the yellow and red pair of stockings, and I’ll give you the name of the cologne I use.
You can all go back to having an awesome week.