Wednesday, March 15, 2017

This Chic: Three types of Males you will meet as you grow




In adolescence: the bully

In 1996, after much begging, crying, fasting and throwing a big tantrum, my grandmother and mother gave up and agreed to move me into a different school. My best friend had moved the term before and I could not handle life anymore. I had to repeat classes in the new school, so my friend was a class ahead but she came to stand with me in parade on the first day of school.

After parade I got into the dusty classroom, new faces all about me with no locker or chair and in a few minutes the Kiswahili teacher came in. So what to do? I looked around and three other kids were sitting on a bench so I went over and asked them to squeeze themselves. The boy obliged. Nice friendly boy. Fat boys are rarely mean. 

After the lesson, another boy came over right away and started to laugh so loudly it caught everyone’s attention. He was saying:
-Wa,wa,wa did you see her? She put her butt right next to Peter(let’s call the fat boy Peter). ati please squeeze for me....- And everybody thought it was very funny, the girls especially.
My adolescence pride had been hurt but I was in a new school and didn’t want to cause trouble, so with my butt still on the bench I got out a storybook to read.

Lunchtime came and when I got back, I found my bag on the floor, dusty on both sides and someone volunteered the information that (James, let's call him that) the boy that was laughing at me earlier had thrown it on the floor. I confronted him, asked him to wipe the dust off. He glared at me, I glared back so he beat the dust out with his hand.

Our relationship did not get better, I got a desk later but my keys would go missing until I ran out of spares. All the way up to Standard eight. One time I found them in the flower bed behind the classroom. People said it was James that stole them but I had no proof. In class seven the dislike flared so much I called him KIHII on his face. And to call a KIKUYU boy KIHII is like calling a black person a nigga.
This is a James no doubt

This is how it happened; our class teacher would arrange the class in such away that regardless of which number you held in the exams, no one could tell by the class order. He mixed us up boy girl boy girl boy girl. If he had used the class numbers style, James and I would have been desk mates eternally.

That did not stop him from bringing his chair over to carry out a conversation around me. His conversations were mainly about sex. I would not laugh or look at him. I just buried my head in a novel which only made him speak louder, until the day I erupted and told him he was a stupid KIHII.

When I thought about it, I realised I might  have feared the boy. All that sex talk and meanness. In the former school, there was a boy of similar manners. His meanness was not directed to me only but to all the girls. He used dirty language and one time on the way home, he jumped on my back but the scream I let out made him flee quicker than any police siren would have.  
So James, if this was not a boarding school, I suppose  might have tried to jump on my back or something gross like that.  

The guy you didn’t marry in your 20’s

You are a late bloomer you know. So when he talked of children and his mother and financial security your head got confused. You suddenly realised you still didn’t even know how to look after yourself. How would you be expected to look after three or four children and polish shoes with kiwi everyday for your hard working husband?
So you ran. Not because he was a bad guy but he was a good guy that came at an inconvenient time. A good guy with a stable career and good morals. You still needed to figure things out. At 22, your dreams were so big you could not imagine them contained in a one bedroom apartment in Kahawa Sukari, Umoja 2 or South B.

You wanted to go places, Asia, Jamaica, South America. You wanted to finish writing the three novels, you wanted to make peace with family members that  ‘left’. So you let him go.

Or maybe it was him that let you go, when he talked of goals and ambitions and not seeing himself married in the next five years but still wanted to go out for tea and samosa and the big game with a bottle of Smirnoff  Ice for you, and a Tusker for him. 

Yet, you were ready; you were ready to give up your own dreams, you were ready to take his name even though it didn’t really rhyme with yours. You were ready to clean his boxers and go to the market with his mother. Heck, you were even ready to give birth to the three children he wanted, you know they wouldn’t be very good looking, but they would be healthy, coz you now had a recipe book and an oven and a good job that would cover the deficits.
 

But he started to slip, he wanted to know how much you would cost- like really? So you smiled and told him that he had to consider that your family gave you an education. Your heart was numb, you didn’t tell him that your family didn’t care about such nonsense. You smiled, because your family would never meet this fool. Then you relocated and bought an Orange line.

Middle Age: What Beyonce discovered before you did.

That Jay Z is actually a very good looking man. If you look at the overall picture.
I remember watching the music video for the song Jay Z sang with Pharrell Williams, Excuse Miss. All I saw was Pharrell.
But in middle age you learn you got to see the whole picture; when you meet the decent boy that was a caterpillar then but has now metamorphosed. Yea, just like plants and other things that are living souls. No wait, plants aren’t souls. I mean baby rabbits that are born without fur but later become fluffy balls.

On to quiet boys who always finished their homework, were a bit sensitive and not too good looking then. But you meet them 25 years later and you want to go for a 40 day hike in Chalbi desert just to repent your sins, coz you were mean to them at some point. In school, when they offered to help copy the Biology group notes you rolled your eyes, because you thought their hands would sweat all over your Kasuku Brand exercise book. 
 
sensitive lads
And you never looked at them once, unless it was to ignore them and remark how bushy their eye brows were.

But how could you pay them attention, when  you were into tall dark and handsome boys that wore bandanas on the flip side, like Snoop. 

Those boys still look like Snoop today.

And on value evaluation you know you are not that hot thing you were at 16. In your mind you are hearing lyrics like:


And you start to think seriously about life.
You regret watching too many American sitcoms, Australian TV series  and Westlife. Because they gave you a distorted view of  the kind of males you will meet as you grow.
Even though it was the geeks and nerds that intrigued you, had you been less flirtatious.
KIHII- An immature man that talks and does inappropriate things.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Why I shall build my retirement home in Kayole





Though I would very much prefer to build a small town house on Awendo street, Dandora phase 4. But my skin is too bright. You are wondering why I would want to spend my bonus years in a damp, if you have never been to Dandora. But I assure you Dandora is just the place to be a grandmother in and two of my favourite people live in Dandora.

 You can tell from the health of dogs you see walking around. Dandora has just about the fattest dogs in all of Nairobi and do you have an idea how hard it is for a mongrel breed to grow fat? So I will settle  for Kayole Kona.

Exuberance
I miss those days I would spend my Thursdays in Kayole. I would leave  late in the evening feeling so happy. You can tell the spirit of a place by the way the  people walk, how shopkeepers talk to you and how fast you get served in the supermarket.  The people of Kayole are busy, their cafes churn out hot meals by the hour, and in the markets, the traders sing and talk to each other and if you ask them  to bring the price down a little they are game. Haggling is a pastime.


chips mwitu,Kayole's finest

Kayole is the model town for the vivacity that is used to describe Africa. You can stand on one street and take a picture and you can sell it to National Geographic any month.
It’s not so with the town I currently live. Kinoo is a dead town. The men drink themselves into a stupor every hour. As they stagger out of the bar at 5.45 a.m, you want to pick up a few stones and throw in their direction. Not for malice, but in solidarity to the woman they are going home to. The woman who, at 11.45pm, realized she had dozed off by the fire,  so she hurriedly  put the food inside the black cupboard and went to bed. She didn’t lock the door. 

When she got married,  she had smiled at the thought of having a man in the house at night, a man who would lock the doors and get up to check what was making the chickens produce such a racket at 3.30 a.m.

In Kinoo, the traders have nothing to say to you unless  you are buying something. Don’t go in to ask for Orange network credit in the Safaricom shop. You have been warned. I don’t think it is love of money, we all love a bit of money. I would say maybe everyone around here is too eager to build another seven floored flat to pay attention to anybody else. Apart from the shoemaker, the rasta man that one is nice and the chemist where I buy my airtime, his wife has really cool dreadlocks. 

I remember one bakery in Kayole saba saba where we would buy cakes. The minute we got in the lady would be telling us some story or the other. And we hang around eating our cakes, suggesting to her to start selling tea. They would wrap our take away and whenever I thought of cake I would get into a No. 17 going to Kayole.

The markets in Kayole are cheap. The fresh food ranges from Tomatoes, peas and medium sized live chicken, 600bob each. True, the streets are noisy from the hooting cars to music shops, but once you get into your house, you can imagine you are living in Karen and go to sleep in peace.

It’s closer to town than we think

And I am not sure why you need to go to town if you live in Kayole. Do you need to bank something? You will find a bank or KCB mtaani agent. Do you need to dress up to go for a coffee. Dress up and walk to Shujaa Mall. You need to buy something from a supermarket? Naivas is right there.

It takes a 1960 matatu 25 minutes to get into town, traffic or no traffic. 1960 Forward Traveler matatus are able to drive highway style on a normal estate road. If you are inside, a seat belt won't help. Just hold tight to the seat in front of you and bend your head like you’re in a plane that is headed for a crush and fill your mind with happy thoughts.
But you needn’t ride in 1960 if your adrenaline doesn’t like to be disturbed. They’re options. Mwamba sacco, Double M or Pinpoint.


So here I am missing Kayole, Dandora, Saika, Mathare and all the places I used to walk like a local and the only consolation I have is, I like the ivy growing on my wall.

I think when the caretaker gets inspired to hack it down, I'll just move.