I’m Painfully Learning to Say ‘No’

I’ve not written anything here for a while. I love writing… You should know that. You’d think a love of the written word would drive me to create new articles consistently, but that’s the opposite of how I operate. Like any good Anglican, I’m motivated mostly by guilt. I get to write a new article when I start to feel bad about how long it’s been since I wrote the last one. As I grow older and slowly die inside, it takes much, much longer for feelings of remorse to reach the petrified cardiac tissue that was once my heart. The only reason I’m writing now is someone called me a ‘Wank Stain’ which is one of those insults that take a lot of time to sink in, a lot of time being three days, and by the time I digested what had happened I was so fired up… I took a packet of Krackles perfectly Salted Crisps and stared right into my laptop screen hoping I’d insult the bugger in 870 words. That was last week. Sadly, the insult ‘You wank stain’ started sounding funny in my brain and I called him to tell him he’s so funny… Until this weekend when a friend of mine, Alex, invited me to his place because he was doing a friend’s lunch with his girlfriend, her friends and his friends.

First, kill the idea that I have friends. Yes it sounds cool to be part of a lunch date involving two sets of friends, but kill the idea. I was here for quorum purposes. I was a night journalist because all of our good reporters covered stories during the day. In the journalism hierarchy, the better you are the more sunlight you’re allowed to see. So I have very few friends, and I always let them know that had they died without meeting me, their lives would have been a failure.

Secondly, let me describe Alex. He is a roguish rich kid making a name for himself on the professional bodybuilding circuit. He is the reason I believe that the biggest mistakes make for the best stories: He dropped out of medical school, where he was a parallel student to pursue Body Building Never mind the fact that at 55, all our bodies will have the same potato physique. And life went on, his father told him to pursue his dream. If I dropped out of anything my dad has paid for, I don’t know. I might punch myself in the throat just at the thought of what he might do to me. Alex is the last born child, an only son, in a rich family of five kids. He is as bougie as they come. Once in a while he will call you for juice at Radisson, or burgers at Arbor place, which are totally not my places. His mother pays his rent, and pays a whole years rent for that matter, in Woodley.

In my mind, I knew all too well that Alex cannot cook for his life. Alex is a danger to himself and others when preparing food. I only kept quiet because my culinary skills are not much better. As a 24 year old, I almost burned down the apartment when making rice. Unlike Alex, I don’t run around inviting the world to see me screw up food. If you find anything in my fridge which I have cooked, I sagely sit back and waited for you to notice that it tastes like feet and when you do I’ll casually tell you that thing is rotten and I was to throw it. So I had my serious doubts beforehand. And I texted him, asking if he had ordered food or if he had cooked the food himself. I don’t think he got the joke, because he replied so emphatically like it’s something I really wanted to know…

“Bro I’ve cooked man. We’ll have Sauce Hollandaise, cheesy chicken Alfredo Stew and home blended Cucumber-Basil Lemonade with Lemongrass.”

Guys I should have cancelled my attendance at ‘Sauce Hollandaise’. I’m an Ugali-apoth-kuku, Chapati ndengu, Rice beef, Ngege-Kuon bel type of guy. When I get into a restaurant, I ask for passion juice not because it’s my favourite. No. I ask for it because it’s the simplest, and it’s what I know. I don’t’ even understand why people look at menu’s in a hotel, disturbing waitresses with “Hii Poulet de Provencal has well done or medium done chicken…” when all I know about chicken is wet fry, dry fry and stew. I get into a hotel knowing exactly what I’m going to order and I do not look at the menu, because that jargon will confuse a decision I made the previous day before sleeping. And when I get too fancy, I wait for the ‘Cantaloupe juice’ people to order whatever they are having before I say ‘Nipee kama yake’. That’s as bougie as it gets for me. So I know I should have cancelled, because what is ‘Cucumber-Basil Lemonade with Lemongrass’, and why does Basil have to be hyphenated to a cucumber for a juice name to be complete? It was too much my people. But there was drama, and I hadn’t posted anything on this blog for a while… So I was on a content sourcing mission, in my defense.

Saturday, I got to his place first. There was no smell, meaning he either cooked the previous day, or things had gone well, the latter being the least likely. Two other friends I know nothing about walked in an hour later (I told you I was here for quorum). I know I should have secretly tasted everything from the fridge, but I didn’t really want to spoil the curiosity in me. So I shut up. Four ladies walked in together at 3:27pm (Lunch was to be at 1 but what’s a Nairobi fancy woman without walking in late, confidently smiling and hugging everyone without a hint of an apology, and throwing in random stories about traffic on Ngong’ road). They also had fancy names: Shishi, Mimi, Mimo and Tiffy (Why y’all do dat d’ough? You won’t find guys coming up with such tomfoolery like Jiji, Bebe, Didi… It’s either Ben, Jay, Felo etc… And if as a man you have such Jiji, Wawa, Nini names you either have a serious medical condition or a vagina. Adulthood is going to be tough for you, unless you really are a woman in which case you can probably just wear a low-cut dress and everything will work itself out).

Let’s not talk about the small-talk which I didn’t participate in because I sank my face into my two phones deliberately, so nothing important there… 4:22pm Alex brings glasses with some brown liquid. That looked like the Basil thing he’d texted me, and also looked like the kind of liquid that would create the kind of carpet stains that can only be removed by fire (I had to think ahead because ladies spit out anything that tastes worse than toothpaste).

I sipped it. All I had to do was politely sip the beverage without launching into a ten minute diatribe about how it tasted like urine from a crippled goat. This rant would have raised uncomfortable questions, namely why I know what urine from a crippled goat tastes like, and equally if urine from a normal goat would taste any better? And I did. But I could not stop laughing at the faces the Shishis and Tiffys of this world were making. It was absolutely hilarious. You could see stress on their faces… Especially on Mimo who was Alex’s supposed date, who was just plain embarrassed (But Alex has a lot of money to buy Hennessy, Black Label Gold and whatever else y’all drink at Kizza so she has to tolerate and we understand).

When he brought out the chicken whatever, it looked quite tasty… Keyword: looked. It had a lot of cream and cheese on top, and some perfectly placed green leaves that looked like décor on food, and some sauce on the side. But the hell that went on in my mouth at the first bite… I felt a stress casserole, angst and anxiety-inducing leviathan pissing in my tongue… And the feeling was mutual. One of the guys’ eyes kept widening with each bite, like seeing too many surprises, one bigger than the previous… The four ladies, after seven minutes of taking photos of whatever fuel was on their plate (always taste the food first before doing #LunchDate #Foodie Snaps and IG stories) could not go past the second bite. The food was salty, the cheese was insulting, the chicken was under-cooked and the juice was just impossible. The only thing that tasted great was the sauce on the side of the plate. I could go on eating donkey butt and pretending the world was rotating when we all know it had stopped.

So I stood up, and without any shame, went to Alex and asked him where the nearest shop was. He gave me a vivid description, “Down the building, first turn on the left, take the stairs down, see a green building ask for Mwarii..” I did exactly that, only I ordered and Uber home. I never came back.

I need to learn to say no. I may have lost a friend there.

Enjoy your week…


And to all Muslims who pass by here… Ramadhan Kareem. You’re doing something very few of us on the other side can. By the third day we’ll have so many “Mungu ataelewa” excuses and justifying the third day with how “Jesus rose after the third day” as we dig deeper into roast and wet fry… You’re my heroes this month, never mind the temptation this paragraph and entire post is putting you through. Read it after Iftar my people, after Iftar. Ramadhan Kareem.



  1. Teryl 30 May, 2017 at 09:39 Reply

    ‘tasted like urine from a crippled goat”????? .Irvin I would also love to know how it tastes like.It actually sounds like a requirement one of those ‘Mganga kutoka kitui’ will need to tell you why your business ain’t booming.
    Anyway,it was a good read as always.
    Keep writing .

  2. Paula 30 May, 2017 at 09:43 Reply

    Welcome back Irvin. This is hilarious. Kwanza how you left…epic! I literally pictured your face as you tasted the Basil thing drink.
    “One of the guys’ eyes kept widening with each bite, like seeing too many surprises, one bigger than the previous…” hahaha finished! You’ve made my day. Enjoy your week

  3. Rodgers 30 May, 2017 at 10:09 Reply

    It’s noble thing in life to know when and how to say ‘NO’ without going about. It’s a good read.

  4. Ronald 30 May, 2017 at 12:01 Reply

    I’m a new mono here.
    I like what I’ve read. Food is life and shouldn’t be left to be a ‘pata potea’ thing. Better the chapati maharagwe you know than the basil-lemongrass mathogothanio you ain’t yet gotten a hold of.
    Nice read. And yes, I’m subscribing to this blog.

    • MisterLeft 30 May, 2017 at 12:27 Reply

      Hahahaha… Ronald, welcome to this silly space. We’re crazy here, so you’ll have to catch up. And yeah, food, hakuna kubahatisha.
      Thank you for subscribing ?

  5. Kevin 30 May, 2017 at 13:06 Reply

    “Tasted like a urine of a crippled goat” Hahahah that lline did it for me thura haha…We should all learn to say No..Nice read Jals

  6. Warima 30 May, 2017 at 14:21 Reply

    Hehe, hilarious and fantastic as always Irvin!

    Ati atia????Cucumber-Basil Lemonade with Lemongrass’
    Please let’s stick what we know, hii kimbelembele ya kupika recipe za internet itatufanya tukule poison in the name of being sophisticated

  7. Angela 30 May, 2017 at 17:44 Reply

    ???????????????? my Lord that food must have killed your tummy, ??????????? dear Lord help u say no a few times

  8. MissK 30 May, 2017 at 17:57 Reply

    ????, shishis and Mimi’s, where do you come from where women wound like that? the fact that the would question how I knew how urine from a crippled goat tasted like, how by the way? ? best thing I’ve read this week.

  9. steve gidi 30 May, 2017 at 20:48 Reply

    irvin lakini unatutesa…imagine havin to wait for like a month b4 hearing again from u…. hiyo sii mateso?

  10. Sarah Muoki 31 May, 2017 at 18:56 Reply

    It’s my first time here, wow!

    Got tears of laughter rolling down my face.

    Subscribing right away.

  11. Eve Chamy 12 June, 2017 at 08:37 Reply

    This is so funny, i couldn’t stop laughing.
    I need this kind of read to lighten up dark days. And definitely subscribing to this…

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