Welcome back to reality. You are fresh from harassing your grandmother, grandfather and other ocha people with selfies, and you posted the evidence of your Narcissism on Facebook and Instagram. You got that annual excitement of seeing an animal die by the knife, and you posted the video everywhere. You harassed village bars with huge names like Hennessey and Baileys, and now they hate you. But here we are. The Next holiday is on April 14, 3 months from now, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You are broke to the bone, and pay day is 30 days away. You have already written down the date as 2/1/2016 and you had to delete the 6 and replace it with a 7. Welcome to January.
The holiday season that runs from 20th December to 3rd January is a pretty messed up time for me. Everybody shows up expecting to have the time of their life, and nobody wants to disappoint their friends and family by not having the time of their life, so everyone behaves as though they’re absolutely having the time of their life. Then comes that one morning, where in a space of an hour or a few minutes, someone decides that in another 365 days, he will change his entire being and do something he or she has totally not done in his life. I am not a fan. Everybody on my Facebook page is happily making strong resolutions. I didn’t. Why? Last year, I said I would learn a foreign language. Two days later, I deleted the Duo lingo app from my phone in an attempt to kill that “Storage Almost Full” message which kept popping up. The only hope I had was that I watched Narcos and figured why Spanish men are good to look at but trash to listen to (Why would the letter ‘J’ for example magically turn to letter ‘H’ in pronunciation. It’s John. Not Hon… Julio, Hulio. Trash). And I decided to never try French after finding out that Chicken in Wine Sauce is called ‘Coq au Vin’ (I sure hope you get this joke.) I settled on the most successful pickup line for my endeavors, “Hello, My name is Irvin and I have a lot of money. Can I sit with you?” My best holiday activity is sitting on my couch, and streaming movies morning to evening on my proper internet connection. That’s what I’ve been doing and that’s why I didn’t write through December. I had a lot to say but everyone was doing happy shit with the families, and I didn’t want to be the party pooper.
But I found something that riled me so bad… It pulled me off my comfort. I have a friend, we went through High School together. For his safety and anonymity, we shall call him Kirimi, though that is not far from his name. Let’s call him John, which is closer to my name but is not a name I recognize. If you call me John, your father better be a top level government official who can bribe me with a proper job, good money and a Government plated car. In High School, Kirimi would go forty days and forty nights without stepping into a shower. Bathing was one of those things he could do without. Bathing was a luxury. You see the way you watch the news and it gets to the weather segment and you decide you could as well turn to National Geographic Wild and see videos of Cats licking their feet? That was bathing to John. And he had no apologies. John didn’t smell. That was his smell and we knew no other smell. If you walk into a petrol station, there is this smell of petrol that confuses me. I always knew I was a petrol smell addict (Yes there is something like that). I still am. It smells good for a while then it turns nauseating. John had the exact same smell. Like a petrol station. Which I found very humorous. I considered John a walking ecosystem: There is no human way possible you can stay that long without bathing and live alone. Some animals move in and live around you.
I have said it severally that I am not athletic. When I run, I look like a fat crippled cow. I finished all my races (Last year’s edition of Nairobi Marathon counts as all races in my life) in dead last, and the only reason I didn’t quit in the middle of them was so I could get pictures of me raising my arms in victory while the crowd gave me the pity clap. When I finished the race, there was no crowd. The only reason I try to avoid massive weight gain mainly so I don’t have to buy new clothes, a fate worse than death. But I have no worries whatsoever, Soon, my legs will become just as obsolete as my appendix, wallet and my conscience. It’s a fact from evolution theories and pictures that people in the future will be fat and legless, with super-strong thumbs for hands (Because typing on phone screens). I suppose we could avoid this fate by exercising and preserving the forgotten art of typing. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s the thought of helping people in the future. They’ve never done anything for me. So let’s evolve on.
There is a point to this, John was worse than me. He did everything so lazily, including blinking. Have you ever seen someone who blinks slow? He looks like a sloth. There is nothing more irritating, and I say this having watched a video on Youtube of how cockroaches mate. Years after High School, I randomly met John in May last year at a restaurant in town. He is athletic, with the poise of Harvey Specter and the build of Kevin Hart, and his face was beaming. He was lighter (He bathes) and he held a woman by his arm. I am a very unceremonious person. I remember when I met a childhood friend I had seen last in 1999. That was in 2015… And we only spoke for 7 minutes, because I was in a hurry to see Arsenal lose to West Brom. We didn’t even hug. So when I met John, it was nothing different. Just a handshake, exchanging numbers and he introduced his girlfriend. I told him he had changed a lot, and he said the woman changed him. She giggled wryly and I couldn’t agree less. The entire conversation lasted a record 13 minutes.
Seven months later in December, on 18th December, John called me. He said he wanted to meet me urgently. The next day was a Monday but since he said it was urgent, I skipped a few hours of work. I never miss work. I don’t do it out of dedication to my job. I just don’t have any marketable skills other than showing up. I always suspect the boss wants to replace me, but then there is this place he should not be visiting which I visit and saw him visit and our eyes locked to the extent I walked over to shake his hand and the lady he was with… That is what keeps me at my job. 10 am, John was dressed in a maroon three piece suit. I don’t understand fashion. To me, the purpose of clothing is to help me avoid arrest for violating public nudity laws if they exist. If I don’t end my day in jail, my outfit has done its job. Fashion exists solely for women to impress other women. Trying on clothes is a high-pressure affair for men because if you make more than one trip to your bedroom wardrobe, you instantly grow a vagina. So a maroon suit, obviously has my attention.
John starts talking. Lord, I hate small talk. I hate small talk especially because I know it is small talk. You have no interest whatsoever in how my brother is and what class he is in. I know you don’t. You do not want to know where I am nowadays, and no, you cannot ask me how my father is nowadays … Like you were pals or something. If the conversation is on me, I go direct to the point. That’s why Nairobi women love Nigerian men. They may be the cons of the century but they look at you straight in the eye and tell you your bum can fit into his lifestyle and that he wants you to sit in it. The woman blushes and he has her while you still talk about how an Uber driver took the wrong route. I muted. My ears only really turned on the volume when he said…
“So, my wedding will be in June next year, and I’d like you to be part of the committee. Committee members will each pay Sh.5000.”
“Yeah. The budget is 840k, but we will manage.”
“Go back to the part where committee members pay…”
He said that pointing to a paper that had all the calculation, and scientific conclusion that committee members would each pay, not contribute, 5k. I have a lot of bad decisions to cram into a finite time span, so I have been picking up the pace. And just when I thought I had seen enough for the year, comes this. I looked into his eyes, calmly. I am always calm. As I looked through, I wondered whether his is hereditary or acquired stupidity. I looked at his maroon suit (A maroon suit costs a fortune. Where will you get that material cheaply in town even? Which fundi will make you a three piece maroon suit cheaply? That colour already raises the cost) And here he was making me part of his nuptial payment so comfortably like we speak every morning and evening of every day for 365 days for the past 10 years.
I’ve made it through an impressive number of major life milestones with my immaturity intact. After graduation, I harbored secret hopes the world would reward my hard work with success. Another big one I pulled off as an unrepentant man-child, was fighting for hanging space on the cloth line with a 17 year old househelp in Embakasi, a victory I hold dear to date (I woke up at 3am on a rainy night to hang my clothes. The sun shone from 10am to 6pm when I came back, and then started raining at 7pm when I took my clothes off the line at 6:20pm. Victory is never given, it is taken my people). But even in all my immaturity, I never thought it would come to this. I stood up, without saying a word, sipped the orange juice I bought and walked away into Nairobi’s traffic. I’ve never picked his call. I have not written in a while because I was looking for words to say this… Marry. But if you have not spoken to me in 6 months, leave me out of the finances. I am not subscribing to your wife.
Happy new year everyone. Let us know what you think of the new design.