CB Two

March 12th 2008

Two of my three cowboys have proved themselves quite tough when it comes to matters of the red spot. I can’t speak for the rest of male blogosphere. So unless you can handle mwaura as well as KK clearly can, then stop reading right now. You have been warned.

I got my title from a Grafitti poster in my inbox this morning. Once I was done rotfloring, I thought up a few more good questions. It seems to be the season for it, since both Archer and Xs finally gave their much enjoyed exposes…I have to say Archer, this serious side of your mind is a very scary place…keep it light dear, that’s easier to digest.

Incidentally, I can’t even remember how to play non-virtual solitaire…I think it had something to do with spades and a clockface…

Back to my questions. I was visiting some relas over the weekend, and Poopy [hey, I didn’t pick the name] was having a clear case of PMS. Poopy is generally quirky. She doesn’t like strangers, and her owners are constantly surprised at how well she took to me. This time however she was moody enough to bite me – and not playfully.

She was all smiles when she discovered that I had ice-cream though, and even fed from my cup, at which point her friendliness became a bug – I don’t easily share my ice-cream, unless I’m in love. So if I ever voluntarily buy you an ice-cream, take it as a very loud hint.

Poopy by the way, is a dog. Tiny, cuddly puppy who likes to stick her head out of the window when we drive, and once jumped off the zanzibar ferry, to the distarction of her owners.

Anyway, Poopy’s PMS made her pals with my ice-cream and enemies with Princess. So most of the visit was spent taking sides, scolding one or the other as they screamed at each other and battled for my attention. Jealous toddlers and jealous puppies clearly don’t mesh.

By evening, Poopy’s mood swings had me annoyed, Princess terrified and Poopy’s owners upset. Apparently, Princess has inherited my dog-phobia, and I can’t quite remember how I cured mine, so I just have to keep scolding Poopy out of ‘playing’ with Princess.

Also, we realised that Poopy might be…er…a little…sick. Blood is a distressing sign in any loved one, and blood from a dog that only eats cooked meat, is quite distressing, especially in the location where we spotted it.

Poopy was dutifully rushed to the Vet and lavished with attention as we bundled into the seven-a-side. Poopy’s owners were frantic as they explained to the vet that Poppy was super-usually [as in more than usual – yes, it’s a word] moody, and she was bleeding. She must have sat on a thorn, or cut herself.

The veteran veterenarian just stared at us with this bland expression that said ‘idiots’, and if we didn’t know her so well, we might have added ‘foolish africans’ to our [mis]interpretation.

Finally she spoke up. “Poopy is a girl, yes?”

“Yes”

“Are there any cute dogs in your neighbourhood?”

Excuse me?”

“Coz you might want to keep her away from them.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Well, I can’t put it politely, and I doubt you’ll believe me, so I suggest you lock the doors and google it.”

We did, amid much protest, and found the following result.

Do animals menstruate?

Only humans, apes and some monkeys menstruate. Other mammals like dogs and cats sometimes will bleed a little when they are in heat, which is when they ovulate and mate, but they do not have menstrual cycles. Having a menstrual cycle means you do not go into heat. Because of this, humans can mate whenever they want, and have babies at any time of the year.

Well !!

And I thought I was being clever by designating PMS and calling her a b***h.

The search provided a few other interesting titbits:

Do girls really get their periods together?

Yes, research has proven what women have always known: that women who live together often get their periods within a few days of each other. What’s interesting is that it seems that friendship matters more than how near they are to each other. In college dorms where they did the experiments, all of the women lived close to each other, but it was friends whose periods synchronized (matched up). This is called menstrual synchronization.

Are you listening KK? As long as your boss and her boss don’t like each other, you’re safe. But if they’re buddy-buddy, next time they do their monthly rounds, run for the hills. As for the players out there, if you must date roomates simultaneously, it would greatly help your timetable if they are not friends.

And finally,

Why does PMS make you a bitch?

It doesn’t necessarily. One of the symptoms of PMS is mood swings or irritability. But PMS might just make your face break out, or make you cry at Hallmark commercials.

There goes that excuse. But this does help me out. Next time somebody laughs at me for crying at a movie, I can growl and blame mwaura. If that doesn’t send them running for the red hills, get me some space, or added remote-rights, at least it’ll get me some free suck-up chocolate…;)

PS : Two-day-old baby girls ‘menstruate’ too. Something about passing out the mother-hormones they’ve been swimming in for 9 months. They also sometimes produce milk. Don’t look at me like that, ask google! I’m trying to save you that bland ‘idiot’ look that I got from my midwife five years ago…

March 11th 2008

I love my documentaries, even though they often make me cry. I’m a softie like that. The other day I was watching one about this boarding school in China, where they give kids scholarships. They take these teeny weeny baies from shagsville and give them a good education, but the kids are like 5 to 10 years old, and boarding school is still boarding school.

So at the end of the term , one girl gets ready really early and waits for her grandad to come get her. She’s an orphan, and hasn’t seen her grandparents in two months. She’s the smartest girl in class and the headmistress just bought her a skipping rope.

But there’s a bus strike, and by evening, her grandad still hasn’t arrived, and everyone else’s parents have come, and she’s all alone, and she starts crying, and I start crying too. I know, I’m hopeless. A few hours later I was crying at another docky. This one was about kids in gaza trying to get an education amid Israeli strikes. At one point the Israeli army comes into town, and some boys start to throw stones at the tank, and a teenage girl looks out of the window and sees her brothers with stones.

She runs out amid the teargas and shells and bullets and begs her brothers to go home before they get killed. The boys are angry because one of their classmates was killed, and their headmaster has asked them to make a wreath and a flag for their martyred classmate. The girl is safely inside the locked gates of her school, her teachesr won’t let her out and she’s pleading with her brothers to drop the stones and go home. I kept thinking these are just babies caught in a grown up war. It’s not fair!

After all that drama I felt I needed a little breathing space, so the next docki I watched was about Alpha girls, 21st century feminists in Germany. That one was funny. They said “we want it all, and we don’t think that’s too much to ask.” They explained how initial feminists were radical and man-bashing, but that feminists are now more reasonable, and have challenges of their own, like running a house, family and career while keeping your weight down and still looking glamourous 24-7.

I’m not a feminist. I appreciate that I have access to education, and that I can wear jeans, and drive, and ride a harley, but I think they took a good thing too far. I mean what’s the big deal about toilet seats? As one guy said, men need it up, we need it down, but you don’t hear them whining about it.

Women are nurturers, biologically. We have the equipment and temperament to be mothers. Men are providers and protectors. Gender equality means we can help each other out, but the programming remains. So while a woman can be very effective in the office, posibbly more effective than a man, it doesn’t mean something inside her doesn’t crack everytime she hears a child cry. And just because a man is terrified of his control freak boss and her power suit doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel a little pang when he sees some idiot harassing or cat-calling her on the street.

But then, as women, can we really have it both ways? The glass ceiling says that women can’t run the show because at the back of their minds, family concerns nestle. You can be the greatest mum and have the greatest nanny, but if your child suddenly falls sick and you get a call from her school teacher, what will you do?

Say you both get the call, you and Baba Jimmy. Baba Jimmy, though he loves his child, will very likely make sure the teacher knows he will pay the bill, and authorize the teacher to take Jimmy to Nairobi hospital. You, on the other hand, will very likely rush to the school.

The women who have had the luxury to make it to the very top have often done so at the expense of their families. They are not bad mothers. Thier children are not dysfunctional in any way. But those children likely get less TLC from their mothers than they could. They probably go to the best schools, have the greatest opportunities, get the funkiest stuff  and have the best mboches, but they just don’t have much of their moms. And lots of hotshot women end up having no kids at all because therir careers never gave them a chance to.

Before I landed my first job, I was married and in love, and I stayed at home for three years. It was fulfilling, but difficult, and I longed to be in the workplace, using my skills. I never once stopped sending out applications. It wasn’t a conscious choice really, I just took that long to get gainfully employed. I’m not very domestic, but I saved a few bob by doing my own plumbing, gardening, light bulb fixing, and some writing. Those are things I’m good at.  And at least I never killed anyone with my ‘cooking’.

But I look at Princess now and I see a difference. We’re happy, we work around each other, we make it work, but she thrived better when she had me to herself 24-7. There’s no denying that. She misses coming home after school and finding me there with her four o’clock tea, and telling me about Tiger, that boy who has many hair [she’s a hair person too], and having my undivided attention.

These days when I get home, I still get stories about Fadila and Abdul karim, but she has to compete with BBC world briefing, my hunger pangs, my giving instructions to Nelly, and my general exhaustion after a day at the office. It’s just not the same.

Not many women can afford to stay home with their babies. We have to work to keep them healthy, schooled and fed. And lots of us working women look down on housewives. Lots of modern women laugh at those who try to balance family and career. Lots of women feel cheated for having to balance at all. But lots of us envy the woman who has the gift of being with her babies all the time. It’s challenging, and sometimes maddening, but it’s a beautiful treasure that is not given the credit it deserves.

Lots of people think religion shackles a woman to be barefoot and pregnant. It does. But faith doesn’t. Proverbs 31 [from verse 10] talks of the ideal wife. It doesn’t mention anything about cooking and cleaning [phew!!] but instead talks about taking care of her home, being trusted by her husband, running businesses, working with her hands to make fabric which she will sell [or clearing clogged drains], farming commercially, waking up early to provide food for her family and assign chores for her maid [YAY!!!], bringing food from far like merchant ship [which could mean going out to work and bringing back cookies and cake?] being kind to the poor, speaking wisdom not idling in gossip, clothing her family but also making herself pretty with fine clothes of her own, making her husband and children proud. Sounds like a busy 21st century girl to me.

But keep in mind, she can’t do all this without having a good maid, a woman who is willing to attend to her chores and change the nappies and feed the toddler while the wife goes out and does what she does. Or without a good man who will let her shine and not go snakeing aroung with the ‘governess.’  And that maid will one day grow to have a home of her own, and do what she does while her own maid handles the home front.

There’s a difference between a mboch and a housewife. A mboch follows your instruction and frees you to be a wife a la Proverbs 31. A housewife-homemaker-stay at home mom-does verything the upwardly mobile wife does. Except that her office is within her own home. She balances the house accounts, she budgets family expenditure, she makes sure uniforms are clean, pressed and ready, she nurses bruises and cuddles against bullies. She does everything a career woman does, just on a narrower scale. Narrower, not smaller.

Wome are our own worst enemies, and the reason we stay down in life is not because of men, it’s because we don’t give ourselves the respect we deserve. Perhaps feminist campaigns need to start targetting our own insensitivities as women instead of just bashing the men. So do yourself a favour and give a fellow woman a break today; you just might need one tomorrow.

March 11th, 2008: What shall we do with these beautiful men?

There’s this advert on BBC India That I absolutely love. It’s got these two guys and a car, and some snow, and a petrol station. I have no idea what they’re advertising, but it’s called Speed, and I would totally buy it.

The two guys have hair. And not just any hair. BEAUTIFUL hair. [Yes, I’m a hair person] One is short and spiky, like Archie, my avatar. The other is long and flowing, the kind I want to run my hands through. Both have killer smiles and amazing eyes. One has that boyish, pretty-boy look, the other has the rugged biker look, but with neatly trimmed stubble and a wicked grin. I can never decide which is more yummy! But I’d definitely buy speed.

And then there’s James Dagwell, BBC’s latest news anchor. I can’ tell what colour his eyes are, but DAMN!! And there’s that guy from Diary of a Mad Black Woman, I forget his name…oh yeah, Shemar Moore. Don’t forget Will Smith and Denzel.

But here’s my question. Men are visual creatures, they are gratified just by looking. They can get their kicks and highs without ever actually meeting the girl in question, even though they’d love to do a lot more than that.

But what about us? Granted, with feminism and women in the workplace and all, we’re starting to think like men, and some of those ridiculous research projects have shown that while the average woman has certain kinds of dreams, [as in at night, when she’s sleeping], the career woman is starting to have dreams similar to men’s. For example, women allegedly have domestic dreams with barriers. As in a woman would dream about having an affair with a taboo subject, someone she can’t have, and would be inhibited even in the dream, or would see her child while out on her ‘dream date. Guys dream of having the keys to the playboy mansion.

And lately, apparently, career women dream of Shemar and co. giving personal strip tease gigs. Women are catching onto the chips beba train, just like the guys, and are pretty much doing everthing just like the guys.

But deep down we’re still female, and we still respond more to voice and touch than to visuals. So then, what exactly do we do with all these beautiful men? I mean we look at them, we drool over them, we fantasize about them, but do we actually want to marry them? It’s all very well to have the attention of a gorgeous man for a night or two, but are you going to do nothing but stare at his gorgeous face [or body] 24 hours a day for the rest of your life?

And don’t forget, you’ll pick up a lot of scratches and worse from jealous rivals. You’ll have sleepless nights over real and imagined ‘competition’. It’s no fun being married to Adonis, just ask Yoko Ono. And I for one have been [wo]manhandled for my dates [usually my brothers] more than once.

So I will drool over Dagwell and Co. with the rest of you. But I’d prefer my Adam to be ordinary looking, with a huge lovely heart and a beautiful soul. But it would help if he had lovely hair that I could run my hands through, if he wasn’t too vain to let me, and if his beautiful hair did not need more bathroom time than mine. ;)

March 10th, 2008: This is why I don’t cook

Kei calls it antidisestablishmentarianism and finds it extremely unfeminine. He finds it equally unfeminine that I am incapable of multitasking. Well, I do have a lot of unfeminine traits, including an aversion to the colour pink, soap operas, flowery scents and housework, but I do melt over chocolate, James Dagwell and Thierry Henri, so that must count for something.

I have a sweet tooth. And I like to bake. Cookies, cakes, brownies, anything with lots of sugar and a little milk. But the first time I tried to bake cupcakes, I blew up the kitchen. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, since the oven door was closed, and the only thing that exploded was the cupcakes…too much milk. I spent an afternoon scruubbing the inside of that oven and was warned to stay out of that particular kitchen – except to wash dishes.

That was soon remedied when my mum left for the day with a list of chores to be done in her absence. The mboch had gone AWOL. My mum left me at the sink when she left, and found me at the sink when she got back. The rest of the kitchen was now a swimming pool, and my clothes were a make-shift bathing suit. Well !

Still, being the only daughter, they gave me one more chance. Dad came home, and on opening the door, he was received by a big left hook of the smoking Joe variety. Once the fog lifted, he looked down and saw a swathe of black leading to the kitchen. He followed the [formerly yellow but now] black terazzo path right up to the kitchen door, where the smitten masaai watchman was shaking his head in love-bugs. Dad had just one question. “Is Crystal cooking again?”

I tried to defend myself. I mean what happened was I was lighting the jiko, and then I spilt some parrafin, and then I tried to wipe it up, but then the charcoal got mixed with the paraffin and spread all over the floor and…okay okay okay, yes, Crystal was cooking again.

My next misadventure was more recent. Wolfie was on a diet, doctor’s orders. No fat, no salt, no sugar, no red meat, no beer, no coconut…nothing but bland boiled food. Which meant he spent all his time at the gym, or drinking water while his boys shot pool. So in an attempt to get some quality time, I offered to cook for him.

Yes, I was that smitten.

I wanted to make spaghetti and tomato sauce, since this is the one meal I’m good at. I just put the tomatoes in the blender then put them on the fire. Easy. But then the kiosk was out of spags, so I decided to make fillet instead. 2 kilos of saltless, flavourless, fat-less fish. It looked delicious.

But, as always, Wolfie stood me up, and since the fish tasted totally flat, Princess and her governess would not help me eat it. And since I hate to waste good food…needless to say I never want to see steamed fish or Wolfie ever again. I haven’t been near the kitchen since, and for good measure, I rented a place without one.

I was feeling a little adventurous yesterday though, and Princess wanted rice and scrambled eggs for supper. Princess is poor eater, and the only way to get her to eat is to serve what she wants when she wants it. So I did what i do. I made rice and scrambled egss.

Now in my defense, as Kei knows, I can’t multitask to save my life. And IAAF was on telly. BTW, is it just me or are guys aging prematurely these days? I was looking at all these 20 something athletes with no hair…I think global warming is causing receding hairlines along with everything else. And has anyone seen Prince William lately? His good hair days are clearly running out…

So anyway, my rice survived. A lot soggy and closer to ugali, but edible. My scrambled egss – well. I got the tomatoes and the onions and the oil right, and was just pouring the scrambles into the pan…and the next thing I knew I was sitting in a puddle of egg with an upturned sufuria. I’ve always known I have lousy aim but yenyewe…

Princess has to eat so I grab a few more eggs and start over. This time I got everything in the sufuria, but, eh, how long does it take to scramble an egg, coz after 30 minutes I was still korogaing the mixture… [am i sure I lit that stove?]

Well, Princess got her egss and rice, and ate it without comment until she finished and checked the dustbin which was full of eggshells, looked at me strangely, then went to the fridge and opened it, counted the eggs in the eggtray, and looked at me even more strangely. “Mummy, are you crazy? What did you do with all those eggs?”

March 7th, 2008: Pulling a shaggy

My eyes flew open with so much force that my eyelids hurt. I’m pretty sure I strained an eyelash, if that’s possible. My heartbeat drummed out all sound, and for  a few seconds, I couldn’t breathe. I was terrified, and I had no idea why. I could see nothing but darkness, and hear nothing but that annoying buzz buzz buzz sound. I tried to focus, to find where the sound was coming from. Then I saw a pale green flashing light and felt some movement under my pillow.

”Dammit!!”

I am a very heavy sleeper. I can – and have – slept through gunfights, a fire, and a rave. And I just looooooove my sleep. So if I have to get to work, I have to shock myself awake. By putting my nokia alarm cellie under my pillow. We all know the power of a vibrating Nokia.

Except this time it’s too early for the alarm. I know, because the lights in Plot 8 are still off. We like to wake up early, for morning prayers and daily tantrums. So if it’s not my alarm, it must be a phone call. What idiot calls me at 3.00 a.m?

Answer – an idiot who knows me well. The best time to get info out of me is when i’m half asleep. If I answer that phone in that semi-conscious state, i’ll tell you anything from my deepest fantasy to my middle name. Of course, if you know me well enough, or if you’re a fan of CB, then you don’t need to harass my sleep for that. As my three cowboys know, I don’t need much urging.

“Hello?”

“Hello darling.”

“Who is this?”

“You know who it is Sexy, and by the way…i love the way you sound at 3…i always did”

The fog in my head is starting to fade a little.

“Who is this?”

“It’s me sweetheart…the only person who knows what you sound like at 3 a.m.”

Now, I know several people who know what I sound like at 3 a.m. Most of them live near my mother, and none of them sounds like this. I take the phone off my ear for a second and glance at the caller’s name. Oh, you. Yes, you would know what I sound like at 3 a.m.

“Sweetheart, whatever it is, it can wait till the office. Good night.”

“Aw come on sweetheart, you’re not going to leave me hanging like this?”

“Hanging like what. It’s the middle of the night, I can’t play with you right now.”

“Ohhh but i just looove it when you play with me. You do it sooooo well.”

“James, I’m tired. My mind is half alseep. I do not flirt effectively at 3 a.m. so you can get your target practice tomorrow, ok?”

“Aiiii mami, si you know what your voice does to me.”

Ati? Am I hearing things? At this point, I can’t speak, and it takes a few seconds for those thoughts to complete themselves.

Excuse me?”

“Kwani you’re surprised? You know what you do to me, it’s painfully obvious…”

“Er – what are you talking about?”

“Aw come on – each time you walk by, you think I don’t notice? I’m human you know, I’m just following your cues…you’ve wanted me to do this to you for a long time…”

“EXCUSE ME??!!!”

“You know I counted once. Seven times. You walked by me seven times twirling your fingers like that, and smiling just so…I’m only answering your prayers sweetie.”

Okay, I’m wide awake now. I pinch myself just to be sure I’m not dreaming. WTF?

“Come on now, tell me,  just tell me, you know you want to…what – are – you -”

“What are you doing?”

The voice is in the background, but the person must be pretty angry, coz I can hear every word.

“Nothing, I was just-”

“Who are you talking to?”

I hear a bit of a scuffle, and then a string of curses, followed by an awkward silence. Then a different voice comes on the line. A more familiar voice.

“Hello?”

I can’t answer. I can’t think what to say.

“CB, are you there?”

My hands are shaking now. I want to scream. I want to throw my phone against a wall and smash it. Or flush it down the loo. But I’m grateful too. Grateful that I was too sleepy to say anything. Too sleepy to admit that that voice was right, too sleepy to acknowledge that I like James, oh that would have been soooooo stupid. Especially since he sounded so different, so intimate, so – dare I think it? He didn’t sound at all like himself. But then again, how many times had I heard his voice at 3.00 a.m? Once during Chem and once more for Bio. Overtime doesn’t bring out the best in people.

“CB, say something would you?”

I’d better say something. I could just hang up, but I’ll see him at work tomorrow. Or worse, he’ll come over here. But wait a minute. Why am I nervous? I’m the good guy here. He’s the one who called me at 3.00 a.m. Woke me up, killed that delicious dream, who does he think he is?

“James ************** what the hell are you thinking calling me at 3.00 a.m? And flirting with me like that? What %$#@$$$^ was that about? You think it’s funny to play with my head  like that?”

I can hear James trying to get a few words in, but I’m on a roll, and I’m not going to shut up till I’m done. How DARE he play with my hormones like that?

“Mummy…stop shouting?”

Aw damn, I woke Princess.

“Go back to sleep sweetie. It’s okay.”

“Muuuummmyyy…..”

I hang up to attend to Princess, I rock her a little and whisper a song. As usual, she starts to sing along – lullabies are pointless with this one. But luckily, she sings herself to sleep.

I can’t go back to sleep now. I’m too alert. I wander into the sitting room and put on Pulse TV. Damn, it’s DW time, German version. So much for that. I start to rummage in the fridge for something, anything to help me sleep. Some maaza perhaps?

Then I hear it again, that unmistakable shaking. This time I check the name first. You again. I don’t want to talk to you. Leave me alone. I let the phone ring itself into silence. I pour some Maaza and sit to sip it. The vibration resumes. I watch. It rings. It quietens. A few seconds of silence. Then the ringing starts again.

Oh for crying out loud!! I pick it.

“What!”

“It wasn’t me.”

“Right.”

“I swear, it wasn’t me. Whatever he said I’m sorry, you know I wouldn’t call you at 3.00 a.m.”

I can’t answer. My mind is blank.

“You think I’d risk your temper at this hour? You’re bad enough at 7 !”

I can’t help smiling, but I’m still pissed off. My breathing must be calmer, coz James continues talking.

“I left my phone on the charger, and this idiot decided to make crank calls. Thank God he didn’t phone my mother.”

I sigh. So close. So very close…

“It’s fine. I’m going back to bed.”

“CB…”

There’s something in his voice, a hesitance, almost… a fear?

“Yeah?”

He hesitates. “…nothing. I’m really sorry about this. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Gnite.”

Double sigh. I’m very much awake now, no point going back to bed. And i’m mad. But more than that, I’m sad. You see, ever since that conversation , James has been looking progressively attractive. I’ve never actually looked at him like that since nurso days when I adored him and he preferred that brainless pointy chick. Apparently braces were out, and Twila’s [magnifying] glasses and curly hair were all the rage. That and she turned red when she got angry, literally. As long as Twila was in our class, us blue-black types never had a chance.

But twenty years, several dentists and a few coke bottles later, James and I have grown into meaningless flirting and deep conversations about what is wrong with whomever we are dating. It has never occured to us that we might actually date each other, seeing as we have everything in common and both like night-shade purple [don’t look at me like that. Just coz i can’t tell you what it is doesn’t mean i don’t like it]

Ever since I discovered his depth, he has began to look quite tasty. But as we all know, I’m done telling, and I’m really not his type anyway. So I keep my growing like for him buried waaaaaaaay down there until and unless he wises up and decides to notice me. Till then I will not swing, will not sway, will not giggle, and will not stop flirting coz according to him, that will mean I like him.

This is why my heart almost stopped when ‘he’ called me at 3.00 a.m and flirted with my sleepy self in a much heavier, more direct and more intense way than what I’m used to. This is why I started to tremble when I thought that maybe, just maybe, he might actually be thinking about me, seriously thinking about me, in that way. This is why I swore myself blue and woke Princess when I realised – moments before I confessed my crush – that his voice was not, after all, his voice.

And this is why I spent three hours watching German TV, sipping Maaza, and wishing that by some unearthly miracle, that boy would just ask me out. Preferably in a nice, gentle, non-kinky way, and preferably not at 3.00 a.m.

Cyberl…

Phew, that was fast. I got over my shocker quite speedily, thanks to cowboys et al, my three usual suspects plus Archer, BF, Int and Bomseh, I am eternally grateful. Cyber roses and cyberchocs are on the way.

Speaking of which, Bomseh is in love again – good for you. Archer is wondering what with [which i think says a lot about Archer – i for one have been known to fall for all manner of things from chocolate to v-dubs]…but I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. I told you, love is addictive.

In fact, I think the key to a lasting marriage is to find that one person who you can fall in love with over and over and over again, with your re-loves not being abridged by ‘falling out’. And yes Boms, i am still contradicting myself…look up my comment to your comment to my comment to your comm…never mind. [and sorry, i have this nasty habit of shortening all but the shortest names…in fact the only name I’m incapable of shortening is K…and that’s a problem, coz that means if I chat with him, I have to type O K in full, groan…]

I once had a crush on my penpal. Ok, I lie. I had crushes on several penpals. They had the coolest handwritings…and the vibe wasn’t bad either. But then I was in high scool at the time, and mail was the highlight of my dreary boarding existence.

So I’m hardly surprised at the regularity of my e-crushes. I already vouched for that severally. And when you think about it, it could be a pretty good cure for AIDS, seeing as there’s very little liquid online, unless you can afford a plasma screen – do they have that on comps yet? Aegeus? now this is why you should have stuck around. Can you help Int?

So good luck to you Boms, I salute you in your quest, and wish you widthy broadband and traffic free widgets – or something like that. Hey, i’m allowed to be a little crazy[er than usual], it’s Friday. Great weekend all !

March 5th 2008

In an attempt to drown my sorrows, I had a chat session and finally convinced KK to take on Mwaura [very nicely done my dear!] and snooped around a certain forward posted by Ydee and Gish on separate occasions. The said post ignited a post that has been on my mind for a while. Why bother to get married?

I saw two news items about marriage. One was about a quickie wedding in Gaza on the day the gazans tore down the Egyptian border. Apparently the engaged couple had been unable to marry for ages because they lived on separate sides of the border, so hours after the bombing and bulldozing, they had their wedding. They clung to one another’s fingers to the point of crushing, knowing they only had a little time before the groom went back to the Egypt side, and the bride remained waiting for his next ‘visit’. The bride was dressed kininja but the love was there in her eyes. It was painfully obvious.

I recognised the look because I’ve worn it, and seen it another bride’s eyes, a good friend, at her send off party. But this time the groom’s eyes didn’t reflect hers. She was clearly smitten, he had a ‘business as usual’ look. It’s likely he married her for duty, conformity, in-laws, or simply for her child-bearing proportions. I pray my friend will be happy, since from where I stand, her love looks lop-sided.

The second news item was during the Chinese new year. It was family re-union after the struggle with snow, trains, possible riots. The man was a migrant worker who comes home once a year. He was ecstatic to see his son, less moved to see his wife. Even the journalist noted that their re-union was muted, and suggested they were shy because of the camera. The journalist, a westerner and apparently a romantic, questioned the wife. She flatly answered “It’s ok. I’m used to being without my husband.” I couldn’t help thinking that wasn’t a couple, it was a pair of co-parents.

Then of course there’s the divorce fair and the endles anti-marriage stats. People marry, cheat, hurt, abuse, divorce. And they do it routinely. So why do people still bother to tie the knot? Why accept the ‘ball and chains’?

I agree that it doesn’t take a man too long to decide if a woman is marriage material. It took Adam less than a second. So yenyewe a dude who is dating you for years to decide if he wants to marry you has already decided not to. But my question is, why does marriage come into it at all?

If so many unmarried couples are happy, and saying ‘I do’ changes everything, then why bother? Why not just live your lives as a loving, sizzling couple and save the drama and expense of a wedding?

Let me clarify; life partners – people who live together, share their life  and have children together – are married. Marriage is about the union, not the paper. The actual ceremony is just for gifts, citizenship and divorce lawyers. So the couples who are married but refuse to get papers because they ‘fear the marriage tag’ are kidding themselves. You’re man and wife people, that’s why you put up with your ‘unofficial’ in-laws. So when i say loving, sizzling couple, i mean that you each have your own house and sometimes share slumber parties.

Let’s be honest here. We all know the disadvantages of marriage, but what are its benefits? In the past it was about legitimate sex and children. Nowadays people have sex when and how they want – legitimacy is not an issue. As for children, there are sperm banks, surrogates and sperm donors – willing and otherwise. Single mums and dads abound, both by choice and circumstance. Legality is always an issue, but nobody ever thinks about that until divorce time, so that’s not really an advantage.

Marriage for love is a clone. And clones rarely reproduce. It didn’t exist in indigenous societies where people married for status and societal reasons, and most marriages were arranged. Divorce was rare since the marriage was a communal agreement. Love-marriage itself is a unicorn at best and a dead horse at worst. Quit flogging it.

So what does that leave? My buddy gave me a pretty good reason to marry. “If the couple shares certain dreams, and they want to work together to fulfil those dreams, then marriage provides the best environment for that.” No love, no romance, no fairy tales or happily ever after, just plain common sense. So then the cheating and the hurting and the messing each other up is…a side effect they have to live with? And are there ANY marriages that don’t have that? I don’t expect anyone to refute me [coz part of marriage is maintaining the appearance of ‘everything is fine’, and to break this facade would be to offend your spouse/in-laws/children et al]. But I can’t believe anyone who says ‘Yes, mine.’ So I ask again, why do we bother?

Because we need to. It’s a biological urge. We’re programmed for it. We fight, we nag, we get cynical, we live feminist, we savour the BT, we ignore our biological clocks, but in the end, sooner or later, we all want to get married. For conformity, or for peer pressure, or to silence the calls for grandchildren or for companionship, or to make sure we don’t grow old alone – whatever you want to call it, at some point, for some reason, we all want to get married. And marriages, ultimately, hurt like hell.

So what can we do? Well, have at least two children, and take then both to law school. They’re guaranteed of a lucrative career as divorce lawyers, you’ll have a fool-proof retirement plan, and when they move out and you realise you and Baba Jimmy have nothing in common anymore [or if your mid-life crisis gets you first], you’ll have the most dedicated [and least expensive] attorney in the world.

February 29th 2008: Leaping the year away

It’s 1.00 p.m. on Friday, 29th February, 2008, as good a time as any to do something crazy. After all, you only leap once every four years, and it is Friday. So my crazy deed for the day is to meet my stalker.

I pick lunchtime for the date, because if things get thick, I can claim that I need to get back to work. I pick Hot Box aka Morocco burgers, because they make the best burgers in town, are very pocket friendly, and have no seats, so we’ll have to perch on the pavement, which makes for a quicker date. Also, Morocco is an open, busy bus stop, with lots of dala-dalas and even a cheap taxi base. Lots of places to run to, and assurance of a big crowd if I need to scream.

Perhaps I should define stalker. The boy in question – at least I think he’s a boy, is a big fan of this blog. He reads it everyday and always leaves cryptic comments that I end up deleting because, to be honest, they’re not very user friendly.

After deleting the first five or so, the boy started depositing comments straight into my inbox. I deleted them there too – Princess can read and knows all my passwords. Next he followed my breadcrumb trail on the net and got some very intimate details. I’m not quite as security conscious as some bloggers.

He seemed…intriguing, and quite eager for a hook-up, so I agreed to meet him – on a bright day, in the open, near a cop station – just in case. The boy refused to tell me his name, or even what he looked like, since he was sure he could recognsie me, and would ‘take it from there’.

By 1.15, there’s still no sign of the boy, so I grab myself a burger and Maaza and start my meal.

I’m not a very social type – I prefer to do my networking online. But I do like to watch people. So I sat there with my burger and my drink and watched. I noticed one guy hovering. He was – um – well, people in TZ aren’t generally very tall. I tend to stand out at most bus stops, even without the hair, and even though I don’t qualify for Face of Nokia/Africa/FORD/Ashleys or whatever, and it’s nothing to do with my [lack of] width.

So this hoverer was very – er – Tanzanian. He had these ridiculous sunglasses that swallowed up his face, and was dressed like Chris Brown on a bad hair day. He was also, very clearly, under 18.

The reason I noticed him was because he had this ridiculous walk – something between an eighties bounce, a Joti limp [Ze comedy show, EATV] and a Jeffersons swagger. And he kept moving himself into and out of my line of sight. His face was fused in my direction, and I was bit worried he might trip.

Eventually, bored, and a little cheeky, I stretched my foot just so. The ridiculous bundle tumbled unceremoniously at my feet. Hey, I swept him off his feet! I always wanted to say that. The sunglasses fell off and dismembered themselves, and for a while he was more concerned with reassembling them than with me.

After he was done, he got up and dusted himself.

“You’re darker than I thought.”

I almost choked on my Maaza. The boy’s voice was – well – let’s just say he makes Barry White sound like Michael Jackson. The word castrato kept springing to mind, ironically.

“Thank you. I happen to be very fond of my complexion.”

“I don’t like dark women,” he says. “In the picture you were lighter.”

“Camera tricks. I should caption it with a disclaimer.” [and i will too]

“Your voice is different too…I thought it would be…deeper.”

I am now casually enjoying my meal. At least the day wasn’t a total waste. I want to say I’m not too fond of short men, but my dating history denies it, and I’m usually very nice.

“A lot of people think that. I read somewhere that strong women have deep voices because they have more testosterone than average women. That’s what makes them so assertive.”

“Oh.”

“It’s ironic really. Men find those voices sexy, kina Patricia Amira and Nini Wacera and Angela Angwenyi and Laura Walubengo, those low sultry altos. Don’t get me wrong, I love their voices. But when you think about it, a deeper voice means more testosterone, more headstrongness, and by association, more masculinity. Which is really not very feminine, no pun intended. So then how does that translate into sexy?”

“I don’t know, I just like the way they sound. Especialy when you ************.”

I give him a withering look, suddenly thinking of soulja boys and idiot children.  “How old are you again?”

He pulls a diversion, or maybe picks on my lead. “Your face doesn’t match your writing. I thought you’d be…older.”

I don’t answer, because I have no idea what to say, and I don’t particularly feel like trying.

“You don’t sound like your picture either…you sound like your writing…your voice is like your writing, but then it’s not…”

This boy has some very good English for  a TZian, I’ll give him that. And for the record, my voice is the same age as my heart, six and a half. The child in me reins free when I dance to the music in my head.

“Well, if I write older than I am, and I sound younger than I look, then I must be ageless.”

“I don’t mean that. I mean…you write…your writing is not self-conscious. it’s open, and honest, and naive – like a child.”

“Like my voice.”

“But then you’re writing is also very mature – your outlook is so…wise”

“Okay, so my writing, and my voice, is like a six year old grandmother.”

“Exactly !” Soulja boy pauses, as if he’s confused himself. I can’t help laughing at his expression. How i wish my phone had a camera.

“You should see my handwriting, then you’d really be stumped.”

The boy stares at me for a looong time, the he says “I’ll be right back” and disappears into the noon-set.

Sigh. I don’t think i’ll be getting any more intriguing un-user friendly comments. But at least I got a burger and a post, and that’s good enough for me. Have a great weekend all.

February 28th 2008: Boys and girls time

I was chilling in Bomseh’s digs and saw his post on Friends’ girlfriends. It pissed me off so much that I did a very unguestly thing and ranted in comment!! Then I decided Crystal balls needs to set a few heads straight.

Why is it that what is plainly obvious to me defies the logic of average couples? [Perhaps because i am single?] Am I Plutonian?? I hear that’s no longer a planet, so that’s probably why.

Take an average family. You have a dad, a mum, a brother, and a sister (and you). It’s fairly reasonable that every family member has their role. The baby does not hang out at the local, the mummy is not in baby class, the daddy does not go shopping for trainer bras, and the brother does not host bridal showers.

You do not generally use a hammer to grind garlic or a rolling pin to open the [front part of your car where the engine lives] bonnet. Not generally. You do not put your battery water in the fridge, and you do not put your wet nylons on an active turbo. That’s what the microwave is for. Now people sometimes do all the above, but we all know that people can sometimes be very creative [read stupid].

So why in Einstein’s name would you mix your buddies with your significant other????

Love is blind and sometimes stupid. I admit that. But the reason many couples don’t last is because people just don’t think. Just because you marry or date someone doesn’t mean their life stops. They still have jobs, cars, megariders, families, and yes, friends.

Just because the boy went gaga over you doesn’t mean his boys cease to exist. That only worked for Adam, and only before his sons were born. Just because you got a jamaa doesn’t mean your girls are resigned to never-go-there-ville. Just because you married the hottest, fliest, craziest chick on the pavement doesn’t mean she suddenly becomes a house-mother who never raves or wears ‘those skirts’.

Being in a couple should not be a jail sentence. A couple may be one flesh, but they are still two minds, two hearts, two sets of TV preferences. And they still have friends.

Why in the name of all that is sane would you take your girl to the local on boys night? Or even to your boy’s digs to ‘chill’? Why would you, silly woman, insist on tagging along and then spend the night attacking that barmaid who was flirting with him, or start tantrumming in the middle of a chess game? Kwani what do you think he was doing on boys’ nights before you met him?

What would make a rational woman ban her jamaa from seeing his friends? Or worse, insist on going with him EVERYWHERE? And why would you, silly man, stop her wearing something that was her uniform when you met her?

A true friend will tolerate your girl/guy pushing them around, but a true friend won’t put their pals through that agony. And someone who truly loves you will not make you choose between him/her and your pals.

Now I know you don’t like that boy – yes, that one – coming to your house unannounced, landing on the sofa and drinking all the booze. You could fight your man and be miserable for days by making him choose. Coz if he chooses his pal, you lose him. And if he chooses you, you get to watch him being miserable without his oldest pal. Personally, my man’s happiness is more important to me than victory. It’s fun to be a b***h sometimes and call the shots, but if I love my man, he’s more important than the high of being bad.

Take a walk. Go do your hair. Call up a pal and do some girl stuff in the other room. Clean the bathroom tiles. Bake a cake. Fix your car. Do something – anything! But give the boys their space. As long as they don’t do it every day, it’s not the end of the world. And in return, Mister showing-up-without-calling-first, realize that your boy has a roomate now. His casa is no longer your casa, it’s hers. Use the phone. It’s easier than pretending to like that silly-woman-that-you-have-no-idea-why-your-off-his-rocker-boy is dating.

Guys, I know you hate it when just before that killer goal in that crucial game, her girl shows up and you have to put up with the squeals of hello, then they invade the sitting room and yammer yammer yammer as you try to watch the game!! Or goodness forbid, they grab the remote and switch to la muher de nyanyako.

Take the TV to your bedroom. Or go watch the game at the local. Or even better, get friendly with her man. If she’s over here hogging your sofa, chances are her man is home alone with a free TV and fridge…

And girls, have mercy. The Premier league/Serie A/Rugby World Cup etc are not as spontaneous as the female psyche. By January first the DSTV guide gives a full list of who is playing what where when and why for the next one year (or at least till Saturday). Just by your man’s moods (and incomprehensible c[m]on[o]versation[logue]s about wembley and Ashes) you can tell when a big game is coming up, and where he wants to watch it.

And being girls, you know everything about your best friend’s bofyfie including his favourite team. Don’t pick game night to invade their digs. Call her up for coffee instead. The in-house soap-loving girl should plan her moods to be away from the couch at that time. There must be a free TV somewhere.

There are seven days in a week. Before you hooked up, you probably spent all seven with your buddies. Now that you are hooked up, you need to tone down, say maybe 3 for the GF/BF and four for the pals, or vice versa, depending on how love-stoned you are. Plan your time. Please.

And you, new-love-of-his/her-life, give some space bwana. Constant togetherness breeds boredom. That’s why a lot of people hate marriage. You were head over brains in love with this impossibly fly creature that you could only see for a few hours a day, or a few days a week. So of course those few moments were absolute sizzle. Suddenly you can see and taste whenever you like, and the magic is gone. Surprise!! Si you give each other some room to be missed? It keeps the sizzle alive. Especially the gymnastic one.

[And that’s a hint for the bored Mr and Mrs – i read it in *** magazine. Try consensually and mutually [as in sit together and sign an agreement] banning each other’s horizontal (and lateral and vertical) permits for one week and you’d be surprised how appealing that gym session suddenly seems. Humans are silly. We only want what we can’t have. So once in a while, lock the engine keys away – it’s safer, cheaper and more effective than switching gyms]

When you want to be with the boys, be with the boys. If your drama queen doesn’t get that, she’s less of a queen than you think. If you want to be with the girls, be with the girls. Any man who stops you, even by implication, will put his hands on you sooner than you think.

But remember moderation. A boyfriend who spends all his time with his boys doesn’t want you, he wants a urinal. Dump him. If he cares for you, he’ll make time for you. Not all his time, but still, he’ll make time. A girl who insists on forcing on your boys’ time is a slave-driver. Find a girl with less body and more brain. Yes, they exist. And some even look like Amy Holmes.

A dude who won’t let you be with your friends, or decides what you can and can’t wear, is a prison warden. Grab the get-out-of-jail-free card while you still can.

But above all, people, let your man have his friends. Let your woman have her girls – or in Bry’s case, boys. Have some me-time even if you’re stupidly in love. When he’s with his boys, hang out with your own pals, or family, or just take some time alone. Whe she’s out shopping, catch a pint or game with the boys.

Just don’t forget to pick her from the salon for brownie points. This will probably make the boys think you’re whipped, but that’s a rant for another day, and at least you’ll be saved the drama of having your white ball end up in her handbag just before you pot the winning shot.

February 20th 2008: Keep your desk tidy

I’m one of those people who thrives on messiness. As a teen, I was always being told to ‘make my room look like a girl lives in it’. My brothers’ room was always neater than mine, and they shared, so that’s three times the mess!

My house is a disaster area, and my desk…well, my boss once tried to find something during my lunch break, and got so frustrated that she called me and demanded I sort it! Of course once she told me what she was looking for, I located it instantly. My messes – like everything else about me – are very well organised.

A story in today’s World briefing got me thinking though. One messy desk has led to 11 violent crimes in UK between january 2007 and today. Here’s what happened. In january 2007, the Dutch Police Force sent a CD to the UK Police Force. The disk contained DNA information of 2000 dangerous criminals, including rapists and murderers. The 2000 crooks had slipped off the radar, so the Dutch police suspected some of them might have emigrated to UK.

The disk landed on somebody’s desk, and stayed there until a few days ago. Finally, it was viewed, and 15 matches were found from the UK’s DNA database. Out of the 15 matches, 11 had committed a crime in that one year period. These are just the ones that got caught.

It’s not clear how the disk got ignored for a whole year. The theory is that the desk-owner was on sick leave, and somebody else placed the disk on the vacant desk. That was a pretty long sick leave.

Lots of times I’ve placed a file, folder or document on somebody’s deask while they were out to lunch, or in the ladies/gents, or basically not at their desk. It’s scary to think that some of those documents were never received. And it’s telling that the nature of those 11 offences were not mentioned.

Organised messes are good, great in fact. I’m so fond of my messes that I’ll hang you if you tidy up for me. And if you dare, the first thing i’ll do is click ‘edit-undo’. Even on the [rare] occasions when I feel inspired to spring-clean, I’ll grab a book and toss it on the floor afterwards, or throw a cushion on the bed, or something, anything to ease my fear of order.

But from now on, it might be a good idea to deliver those documents, letters, or borrowed Cds in person, just to be on the safe side. It’s inconvenient to have to wait for someone to come back from wherever they are, but it could quite literally save a life.

February 18th 2008: Nightmares can come true

…and last night, one of my worst ones did.

I woke up to feel something crawling across my face. I didn’t really think about it, I just yanked it off and threw it on the floor. Reflex. Then some instinct kicked in, and I got up to turn on the light. On that floor was the hugest, ugliest cockroach I have ever seen! Eeeeew!

I must have been on some kind of autopilot, coz I’m almost phobic of cockroaches. I somehow managed to chase the demonic little monster around the room and squish it to death. And we all know how hard it is to squish a cockroach – they just don’t die!!

The reason I think I was in autopilot is because i did the whole massacre without waking my roomies. My usual approach to roach-killing is to get trigger happy with a spraycan and throw shoes at them while screaming like a mad siren. It is not a pretty sight. But last night I hunted the creepy thing down quietly, calmly, effectively. Finished off the job with a broom and dustpan, turned the lights off and went back to sleep. Well, not quite.

The second I was back in my sheets (Dar is too warm for blankets), my autopilot shut down and I started shivering. I felt the proverbial cold sweat. I began to wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t woken up, or if the thing had moved a little faster, or had come with its cronies.

I began to stare at my Princess, who shares my bed, and sometimes sleeps with her mouth open. I began to sniff my hands, which still reeked cockroach blood even after several washes, and to sniff my hair. It isn’t the first time a roach has jumped into my hair. On one trigger happy day, I zapped a roach which then flew off the floor and into my hair! My reaction was beyond words. Truly.  I had no idea olwendas could fly!! Geckos can fly too, but that’s another lived-out nightmare.

My hair, now, as then, smelt fine ; nice and clean with just a whiff of spritz. Apparently roaches in Dar like the scent of shampoo.

I spent the rest of the night shivering and listening for the pitter patter of tiny roach feet, just in case.

They say the best way to overcome your fears is to face up to them. I don’t know if my Rambo stunts overcame my fear of roaches. I guess I’ll know the next time I see one. I just hope the roach god doesn’t have access to the rest of my nightmares.

Having that nightmare come true got me thinking about other nightmares. I read this weekend about a new ‘extreme sport’ – getting kidnapped. Apparently women are paying lots to be kidnapped. It’s some kind of pseudo-maso-sado-fantasy.

Being abducted and tortured is the stuff of most people’s nightmares. So why anyone would pay for a simulation of that is beyond me. People are different I guess. One thing’s for sure, don’t believe everything you read. One girl’s simulation turned ugly when she was ‘tortured’ using one her phobias – needles. The ‘kidnappers’ noticed her genuine fear and stopped, drove her home and comforted her, but she was traumatised for days.

Ironically, I also read that when faced with a crisis, your brain forms a suspended reality to get you through it. It’s very own autopilot. Explains how I got through the roach. But after the fact, the reaction does kick in. So be careful before you go confronting your worst fear, it may not be the smartest thing to do.

NB : I would really like to apologise to Mende, unajijua. I know you were a bit of a pest, to all of us, but after this morning, I will think long and hard before calling anyone a cockroach.

February 15th 2008: Women are strange

I’m trying to figure something out today. I read an article in a Saturday Mag once. It described how women and men see things in a different light, the way us girls like to analyse every word and gesture and nuance, and how a ‘white elephant’ to a guy is a ‘thing’ to a girl.

How he didn’t try to ‘catch’ for three months coz he really liked her, how she thought he was a gentleman for the first three dates of chilling, then started to wonder if he was gay. How he finally asked for the next level. To him the next level was breakfast, in her kitchen. To her it was marriage. Long nasty story.

I’ve had my fair share of ‘lost in translation’ moments so I want to try and debunk a few myths. No offense to any of my IM buddies – ahem*ahem* – I quote in love, not mockery.

The imaginary conversation is between me (being CB), two 21st century girls, and a guy we all adore, in a totally platonic, used-to-have-a-crush-on him-back-in-the-day kind of way. I credit KK for the style – I knicked it off his Vals post. (hey Modo, my link thingie finally works! Hurray!! Thank you!!) NB : James’ italic statements are not meant to be heard by the rest of us.

CB : So I met this guy today.

Sue : Was he hot?

CB : Duh!!

Tina : Any good vibes?

CB : Plenty

James : oh boy

CB : He reads my blog

Tina : Point. Does he like it?

CB : He says I write delectably.

James : Groan

CB : What. You have a problem with my delectable writing?

James : Normal guys don’t say ‘delectable’. If he likes your blog, he’ll say it’s good, or cool. Or simply that you write well. ‘Delectable’ is a word you use in your CV. Or to score.

CB : Oh yeah? well he said delectable. In context. That means he’s smart.

James : No, that means he reads newspapers and owns a dictionary.

Tina : (sang in the tune of the wedding song) Here comes the jacket…

CB : (blushing) Maybe…probably…

Sue : You are so easy! So did you offer it?

CB : Yep

Tina : And he said…?

CB : That he has the uneasy feeling it would be a perfect fit.

Sue : Ooooooh that’s sooo romantic! Did he try it on?

James : I bet he changed the subject.

CB : Actually, he did change the subject…how did you know?

James : Coz he didn’t mean it.

CB : And how would you know that?

James : Coz if he meant it, he wouldn’t talk about it, he’d just wear it. If a guy likes you, he’ll say so. He won’t leave you guessing.

CB : But he did say it. He said my jacket would be a perfect fit. That means he wants to wear it.

James : Crystal, if a man wants to wear your love jacket, he will simply take it, wear it, and swap with his, so that you don’t feel cold.

Silence as the girls discover James has depth.

James : What.

CB : Nothing. But you’re wrong. I know he likes me. He kept saying all these beautiful things to me…

James : That’s called flirting.

CB : But he wasn’t! I told him not to flirt with me. I told him I always take flirts more seriously than they meant to be taken.

Tina : What did he say to that?

CB : He said he would double the dosage in future.

James giggles. [do guys giggle?]

CB : WHAT.

James : Kwani what do you think he meant?

CB : Obvious! If I take flirts seriously, and he wants to double the dose, then it means he wants me to take him seriously.

James attempts suicide, in more ways than one, by laughing his head off. CB ignores him.

CB : It was in his voice. The way he said it. His voice was reaaaal soft, you know, almost whispering. It sounded sooo tender. And he was looking right into my eyes…sigh

James : booty call

CB : What was that?

James : Any dude who reads your blog knows how to push your buttons, you don’t exactly hide them.

Tina : He makes a good point.

CB : Shidwe. The lot of you. Sue, surely you can recognise the look. Besides, he gazes at me, then he smiles, this secret smile. You know the secret smile.

Sue : True, if a man looks at you like that and smiles, it means he likes you.

James : Or it means your dress is funny, or you have spinach in your teeth, or he’s thinking about the girl at the strip club last night…

Luckily for James, all the missiles in the room are stuffed with faux cotton, and they all head his way.

Sue : Did you ask him what he was thinking?

CB : Duh

James : (smothered by cushions) And he said?

CB : That he was thinking I’m beautiful.

James : smart man

Sue : He totally digs you.

James : Ladies, guys are not as complicated as you are. If a man likes you, he’ll tell you, and ask you out. If he doesn’t, he won’t. Sometimes a guy just flirts to flirt. It doesn’t have to lead anywhere, that’s why when you step up the flirts to more, he runs.

That silence again.

CB : Why would a guy do that?

James : I dunno. Coz he’s a guy. It’s an ego boost to flirt well. And it’s good target practice.

CB : Target practice? Do I look like  a dartboard?

James : Yes.

CB : Why you-

James : Si kwa ubaya. Look, a guy has to polish, so that when he finds a girl he likes, he has some back-up. You said it yourself, when a dude finds his Eve he goes ga-ga. The mind goes blank, the palms sweat, the tongue refuses. So it helps if he can call some lines from memory. (Sigh) Sadly when you really need those skills, they fail you.

CB : So assuming you’re right, then if a man flirts with me, he doesn’t want me, but if he doesn’t flirt with me, then he likes me.

Sue : That’s ridiculous. That means half the men on earth want to marry me.

James : That’s another thing. You girls see an interesting dude and you’re on wedding bells mode. A guy dates a girl to date a girl. Period. Marriage comes later. So if you push the ring too soon, he runs.

CB : Thrrr. Back to the point. So he got a call on his cell. And he was asked what he was doing.

James : Was he on speaker phone?

CB : No

James : Then how do you know what he was asked?

CB : Coz he said “I’m sitting at Tacos with this girl.” Then he was asked to describe me.

James : And you know this becauuuseeee…?

CB : Because he looked right at me and said “She’s beautiful”

Sue : Aaaaaaawww, you have all the luck.

James : all the luck of fly in a WC

CB : Well, James, nothing to say about that?

James : You wouldn’t believe me anyway, so why bother?

CB : Okay smart guy, since you have all the answers, he told me there’s this girl he really likes, but he doesn’t have the courage to pursue her. So I’m going to ask him out.

James : WHAT?? Why would you do that?

CB : He was obviously talking about me-

James : Right. He has the guts to say you’re beautiful – and those are REAL guts – but he doesn’t have the guts to ask you out?

CB : Well…but why would a guy be scared to ask a girl out?

James : Coz he’s crazy about her.

Tina laughs out loud.

James : It’s true. If a guy wants to score, it’s a 50-50 thing. Kama mbaya, mbaya. If he gets, good, if not, there’s plenty more fish. But if he really likes her, rejection would crush him, so he’s scared to try. He doesn’t want to get hurt.

CB : So what ** is a girl supposed to do?

James : She waits. If the guy really likes her, he’s got to be willing to risk getting hurt. Once he does that, it means he’s really sunk, and the girl will be treated like the queen she is.

CB : Ah huh. So I just sit and wait for the guy to find his guts. How fun.

James : It’ll save you getting hurt. Coz he won’t risk it until he’s really serious about you.

Silence.

James : Look at it this way. It’s the cookie jar. A guy likes to chase. So he chases the girl, takes  sample, gets bored, moves on. If she won’t give him a taste, he could try till he gets some, or he could move on. If she doesn’t give, she doesn’t get hurt.

CB : So then…how will I know he’s the one? How will I know he won’t get bored after I give?

James : By not giving, duh! See how far he’s willing to push. And for the record, if he genuinely likes you, it’ll take him a while to gather his guts. He won’t ruin it by pushing you into anything you’re not ready for. He’ll take a while to be ‘ready’ too. True love is scary bana.

Another thoughtful silence.

CB : I met him again later. I said hi and he started stammering.

Sue : Stammering? Oh, he likes you for sure. He’s speechless !

James : Or scared you’d seen him chatting up that girl around the corner.

More missiles . Poor James.

Tina : I got a question. There’s this guy who only calls me when he’s high. What’s with that?

CB : Simple. Dutch courage. Booze makes people do stuff they’re too scared to do while sober. Or too sensible. That’s why you can name-call your boss when you’re drunk. You always hate him, but when you’re sober, you know you’ll get fired. So you do it when you’re drunk.

Tina : Maybe…coz whenever he’s sober he avoids me.

James : Probably coz he’s embarassed about calling you at midnight. Doesn’t mean he likes you.

Sue : Aw c’mon. If a man calls me when he’s drunk and says he loves me, it must mean something.

James : Sure. It means he got drunk, picked his phone, called you, and said ‘I love you.’ Kwani?

CB : Fork jembe! It’s obvious that he adores her and is just too scared to say it!!

James : If a man loves you, he will love you when he’s drunk and when he’ sober. And if he really wants to be with you, he’ll take you seriously enough to say it when he’s sober. Several times, just to be sure you got the message.

CB : Sigh. I give up. Women and men will never understand each other.

James : You’re genius! Applause to the lady.

And the final missile flies.

James : I don’t know why you bother. You know you have lousy aim.

A few more missiles. These ones land right on target.

Tina : But we don’t!

Sue : Bull’s eye!!

So, in conclusion, four lessons:

1. Girls, if you want to know what a guy means, don’t ask your girls, ask him. Immediately. Before he forgets what he just said.

2. Guys, if you like a girl, tell her. It will save her hours of agony wondering whether that was a wink, a blink, or a drunk mosquito lost in your eye.

3. Girls, men call spades spades. They can’t tell a soup ladle from a dessert spoon. So take what they say at face value. Save yourself the drama, don’t analyse.

4. Guys, women will analyse everything you say, don’t say, do, or don’t do. We will start with the colour of your shirt and end with the direction you chose to tie your shoe. Don’t try to understand it, just accept it, live with it, and try to help us out by being less cryptic when you flirt.

This is why I hate Vals – coz love is way too complicated. I’m so glad it’s over!!

February 15th 2008: Hurray it’s over

Now life can get back to normal.

I was reading a copy of Adam yesterday, Oyunga Pala et al’s new magazine. There was an article there about how to select chocolate for a girl. And I quote “If she can see it in a supermarket and see how little you spent, you lose points. Select a chocolate that mimics her body – curvy and surprising. Get a flavour to match her every mood – minty, marzipan, bitter and dark.”

I don’t know about regular girls? But frankly, I prefer plain old dairy milk. Those fancy chocolates tend to taste like…well, like anything but chocolate. They have those gooey fillings and taste more like stale sweets. And generally, the prettier the package, the worse the taste. I’ve had those heart-shaped chocolates that appear every year…argh!! Awful!! Like extremely dilute cocoa (think cold power). But the sea-shell chocolates, the ones that look creepily real? Now those are just heavenly! But they look like snails!

And call me unsophisticate, but Dark chocolate tastes raw to me. Kind of like cooking chocolate. I’ll take a 40 bob dairy milk any day. Besides, for me dairy milk is a treat, seeing as my earliest memory of it was when it cost 7 bob, and I couldn’t afford it coz my daily break allowance was only three bob. I had to settle for Fudge. So Dairy Milk and Crunchie will always score points with me.

Now, I saw an interesting story on BBC yesterday. It was about escopetarra. Some musicians in Colombia are turning decomissioned AKs into electric guitars. Guns have the same shape as guitars, and are held the same way, so they’re easy to convert. Escopetarra is being used to as therapy for child soldiers. It takes their horrid memories from guns and turns them into beautiful music. And it’s making the owner a bundle I imagine, since some hotshot rock people have already placed orders, Kina Bob Geldoorf et al. Really pretty – and I don’t mean Bob Geldoorf.

A toast to creativity, AKs, Bob Geldoorf, and bundles of clean money.

Februray 8th 2008: To tell or not to tell

Some questions in life have no answers. Why do people cheat? If you want someone else, why not just dump the one you’re with? Why is there no anti-wank clause in the Bible? Why do fingers fit into nostrils? If a girl likes a guy, should she tell him?

The cookie jar theory shows that human beings only want something when they can’t have it. Also, men like to chase cats and dogs like to chase women. I think.

Most guys prefer to catch their own meat, and they hate it when meat appears at their doorsteps killed, cooked and flavoured. They might eat the meat, they might even enjoy it. But they generally prefer to find it on their own. It’s like eating ugali with a fork and knife – it just doesn’t taste the same.

I’ve lucked out enough times to keep my shotgun, my bows and arrows and my lousy aim to myself. I no longer ‘help a brother out’ if he’s too shy to throw some darts. A dude who’s too shy to dart you will be mortified if you dart him, coz he feels even smaller. Not only can’t he gather his lines, but now he’s got a girl doing ot for him! Dada, you will not be thanked.

Gentlemen, feel free to contradict me, aaaaaaanytime now.

I don’t know why guys run when a girl confesses. But I accept it as a universal truth. I will stand and wait until my shy Adam and his [endless] sheep gathers the courage to come along and sweep me off my feet. Don’t worry Adam, I have a big pile of novels and a big cup of coffee – er tea. BYOBFC- Bring your own black forest cake.

And consolation for the unlucky in love. We sometimes have to kiss a lot of frogs before one turns into a prince. And that prince had to go through a lot of smelly feet before he found Cinderella. So be patient, keep hoping, and as Archer says, if you must eat, belt up before you feast.

PS : Do not, I repeat, do not, ANYONE, mention Vals to me. Ever. Period.

February 8th 2008: In love with love

…and addicted to worrying.

What can I say? It’s the price I pay for being immune to rave, booze or smokes. You have to have some vice. Oh, I’m also addicted to sleep and have a vicious temper… and am prone to tantrums. There’s a lot to be said for dreads flying in rage. I also like gymnastics more than is healthy, and I’m less flexible than a toad.

Draco says people usually hate what they’re addicted to. Makes sense. I hate worrying. But as soon as one worry is sorted, I find something else to worry about. Sometimes it’s a big worry, like how am I going to pay my internet bill. (hellooo? switch to prepaid!!) Or how to kill those zombie roaches that refuse to die. I hate roaches. And geckos. And rats.

Sometimes it’s a smaller worry, like how to keep my dreads neat without spending 20,000 Tsh on that shifty hairdresser whose hands keep straying. He has this weird head-massage thing when he washes my hair, he rubs my head, but I feel it… somewhere else. And it is NOT pleasant. In fact, it borders on s***l harassment! If I could prove it.

As for being in love with love, well, I first got that description in Bomb @ from a good friend (where are you Kate???). She thought I was in love with the idea of falling in love. Well, she also thought I was incapable of laughing, coz she had never seen me laugh. But that’s another story.

She was right of course – not on the laughing thing. I realise I have this love-jacket that I put on unsuspecting dudes every five minutes, on average. They get to wear it for anything between two seconds and three yeras, with record being sixteen. It’s a really nice jacket – white suede. But sadly, one size does NOT fit all. Luckily, the love-jacket is usually too big, so I haven’t had to fix any rips yet.

It’s hard to tell the difference between love and infatuation until after the fact. Infatuation is defined as  ‘very strong feelings of love or attraction for somebody or something, especially when these are unreasonable or shortlived.’

The concise dictionary says ‘Infatuate (be infatuated with) be inspired with intense but short-lived passion for’. So technically, you’ll only know it was infatuation two weeks after it starts – or five minutes after it dies. That’s when you realise it was ‘unreasonable’ to call constantly, shift your schedule at the drop of his hat, always have your dates broken, and not take the hint when he never called back.

My love-jacket has a hair trigger. It likes to be worn, and vibratess when it’s hungry. Anything can get it going. Humour (i.e if the dude understands the daily show), politeness – i just love those guys who say please and thank you like they mean it. One guy got me going coz he was nice to my runt of a brother – eh, we were six years old at the time. I still have a soft spot for that boy.

[And the runt is now over six foot tall, breaking hearts – and getting me manhandled by mamanzi wa nairobi who refuse to believe I’m his sister (and warding of unwanted Dar brazzameni who refuse to believe he’s my brother – yay!)]

The trouble with my crushes, and my suede jacket, is that I fall in love with images. I see a gorgoeus smile or amazing hair, have a good laugh or a pleasant conversation and out comes the jacket despite the scorching sun. I meet someone who uses the word lackadaisical in context, and I think ‘He’s agenius, I’m in love!’ I meet a guy who opens the door for me and i’m like ‘Ooooh, it’s so cold outside, need a jacket?’ I meet a dude who plays killer piano-and silimba-and saxophone-and flute and I go. ‘A musician, you must be deep. Will you marry me?’

I meet someone who can draw portraits to kill and I think ‘He must have a beautiful soul.’ I hear someone singing along to Three doors down and I’m like awesome! I meet someone who does something nice for me without looking at my chest and I’m sunk. I meet a dude who writes poetry and likes night shade purple and i’m throwing my jacket his way.

But then the image cracks. Mr Polite lights up a BH and I’m cured. The musician makes an idiotic remark about my dashboard and he’s history. The poet…well, the poet is still in my good books…but he’s not available, and crystal balls scared him off. As soon as the image breaks, the jacket expands and the tiny occupant shrinks to pint size.

But the sensation of falling in love is heavenly – and addictive. It’s like black forest cake, vanilla ice-cream (and bailey’s?) all rolled into a size 17.5 white suede jacket. And it’s worth it every single time.

February 7th 2008: Cheap is expensive

…and free means trouble. Isn’t it interesting how you can never find anything when you want it, and it’s in abundance when you don’t? You spend half your life hunting for Mr or Ms Right. Then on your wedding day, beautiful people appear all over the church. You struggle to lose weight and when you finally do, a long lost friend buys you designer jeans – in plus size! Ten thousand spoons when all you need is to cut a piece of nyamchom!!

So I got a call late yesterday. Yeah, this stuff always happens late. It was my [ex] landlord.

“Crystal, daaaaarling, how soon can you get over here?”

Suspicious. “Why? Did I break something?”

“No, no, of course not. It’s just…I need to see you, urgently.”

“Eh, I’ve been out of your house a while…did I forget something?”

“CRYSTAL, I NEED YOU…” Awkward pause. “…to come over here. I need to see you.”

“Uh…okay…gimee thirty minutes. [It’s more like ten, but I need to pass by the Chemist and get some pepper spray]”

“Thanks, you’re an angel.”

“Hey…slow down bana, whatever it is, I haven’t said yes yet!”

“Just get over here. Soon.”

So I get there. Pepper spray on the ready, and I’m very trigger happy. The sun is just setting, how romantic. I miss that about this house, the view. Lovely palm-tree-framed sunsets and moon-rises.

“Wsup.”

Clinking sound. He hands me something. “Here.”

“Huh?”

“Take.”

“Eh, okaaaaay, why are you giving me your house keys?”

“ Not my house keys, your house keys.”

Ate ke?”

”I want you to have this house.”

“You want me to…see ya!”

“Wait wait wait, where are you going?”

“Mathare. I’m hearing things. Or they’re missing a patient.”

“Funny. Listen. I want you to have my house.”

“You’re serious?”

“Deadly.”

“Okaaaay, why.”

“Becaaaauuuuse.” Pause. He’s thinking up a lie. “Because I like you. You’re the best tenant I’ve had. You deserve a break.”

“Ah-huh. So you’re giving me your house.”

“Sure. You always said you were happy here.”

“Eh, was that before or after my complaints?”

“Complaints?”

“You know, my four legged roomates, my six legged roomates, my yellow tailed roomates…”

“I’ll bring in an exterminator.”

“The floors have water and the taps don’t.”

“I’ll fix the plumbing.” Wink-wink-nudge-nudge.

“[Sure you will] Like you did while I was still living here. There’s a church next door. A regular church. A loud church.”

“I’ll kick them out.”

“They’re pentecostals, you can’t win. Besides, i don’t want a house. I’ve got a place to live.”

“Yeah, I hear you’re getting a new kitchen.”

“[Did you now?] Yep, so I really don’t need a house.”

“Ah, but that one is rental. This one will be all yours. You’ll have your own compound”

“Yep. And on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I’ll have my own choir. They speak in tongues you know, very loud tongues. All night long.”

“You have all this space, you can throw house parties.”

“I don’t do parties.”

“You can get drunk, you can come in anytime you like! I hear your current locks up at 10…”

“I don’t do booze – and I hit the sheets at 9.”

“Gimme a break ! I’m givng you a house. GIVING.”

“That, my dear, is the problem. WHY are you giving me a house? What’s the catch?”

Shifty eyes. “Nothing. No catch. I just want to get rid of it, that’s all.”

“Get rid of it…have you been watching TCM mafia again?”

“Okay okay look, TRA are after me, I have way too many properties. I need to offload a few. So what I need you to do is sign here and the house is yours-”

“Yeah, and TRA and land rates and utility bills and-”

“It’s less than your rent!”

“Not by much.”

“C’mon woman! Help a brother out! It’s for your own good you know.”

Hmm. Would you take it? Could you take it?

“Naaaah. But thanks anyway, I needed a good laugh.”

[I just KNOW I’m going to regret this.]

February 7th 2008: Child soldiers in Iraq…scary

Super Tuesday is done, so my BBC World Briefing is back. But today’s was just plain creepy. US soldiers apparently found a video during a raid, Well, okay, the footage they showed was edited and spliced together from several different videos, so it was more than a little Big Brother US Army – or are they marines…Draco, help!!

Anyway, the video showed this group of kids playing Al Qaeda. Except they weren’t playing. The kids were seen in terror gear complete with black facemasks and really big guns. They dragged some people out of a car at gunpoint, screaming at them in [Arabic?] and marched them into a building at gunpoint.

Then they stormed a house full of sleeping people yelling and screaming and held the occupants at gunpoint, pressing them on the floors, basically harassing them. They posed for a camera in those suicide note poses. Then they sat at a prayer mat, still with masks, still holding guns, and did a ritual prayer while an unmasked adult chunguliad them from a nearby door.

The Army says the video was used for propaganda, to psyche up new recruits, and that apparently, these kids are being trained as Al Qaeda operatives. From their voices and [lack of] height, these kids were between age six and ten. There were about 20 of them in the video.

Honestly, what are we doing to our kids?

I’m not sure why the video shocked me so much. We have thousands of child soldiers in Africa, and their brainwashing and training is just as bad, if not worse. I guess it was the level of aggression those chidren displayed. I know one thing, I’d hate to be the guy that trained them come judgement day.

On a lighter but equally scary note, I got this forward in my mail. I’m too worried to share it. It’s titled ‘What Secereto teaches your kids.’ It’s a series of stills of a couple, a boy and a girl, maybe six years old, making out in a way that made me blush. Yaani straight out of the soap, the kneeling by the traffic lamp, pressing against the wall, and one photo looks suspiciously like a candy shop with a lollipop…creepy!

As I keep saying, the world is ending. Find a bunker…or a Bible. Seriously.

December 26th 2008

Men are hunters and women are gatherers…or so I thought. But yesterday, I got a curious insight on the garden of Eden [yes Modo, there is some weeden here, since I was insighting when I should have been sleeping…]

Most creation and origin myths agree – there was a deity, a couple, and later lots of babies. My creation story is God, Adam, Eve…trouble.

But let’s focus on the pre-trouble paradise, shall we? First, God created Adam. Then, Adam got lonely, so God created Eve. More on that in Battle of the Sexes. For today, my focus is this. Adam didn’t hunt, and Eve didn’t gather. God brought them together. So in a sense, Draco is right : you don’t find love, love finds you. Only in a more accurate sense – God ‘finds’ love for you.

God created Eve specifically for Adam. She was custom made to fulfill his need for company, love, friendship – the kind he couldn’t he couldn’t find in trees and animals.

Adam didn’t go looking for Eve, coz he wasn’t even aware of what she was, or that he needed her. All he knew was…animals and trees. He knew something was missing, but that something didn’t exist, so he really couldn’t define it. He didn’t know what it was. But when the something was presented to him, he recognized it instantly, and went poetic “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh ” etc.

As for Eve, she was created with one purpose, Adam. She opened her pretty eyes and God held her hand and led her to Adam.

The Bible doesn’t go into her perspective, so I have no idea what she thought, how she felt, what ran through her mind. But clearly, since Adam was the first man she saw – and she probably soon discovered, the only man around – her options were limited…

So what am I saying? That we’re all warped. The whole ‘looking for love’ is pointless. As a man, all you have to do is chill out till your instincts tell you something is missing, then God will create her and bring her to you. Your hunting days are – misconceived.

And as a woman, you just have to sit tight and wait for the man to miss you, then shut your eyes and let God lead you to the man He created you for.

It may take a while, your Adam might still be in the ‘naming animals’ stage, or maybe he’s in the deep sleep while God fishes out the rib and turns it into you; it could be that you are still being formed, and are not quite ready to meet him.

——————————————————————————————

Eve didn’t recognize Adam, Adam recognized Eve. Which means in God’s eyes, it’s not about a girl finding Mr Right, [or even about a  man finding Miss Right!] it’s about Miss Right being led to Adam. We don’t do the choosing. So send all those Santa lists to the trash bin. You may know what you want and what you like, but it’s not your call. It’s not about what you think you want, it’s about what God knows is right for you.

I once asked how to work magic – to get the guy to ask you out while thinking it was his idea. Well, here’s my answer. In God’s plan, it’s always the man’s idea.

God leads you to your Adam, Adam sees you, keels over, realizes you’re the One… then you can be a girl and get him to ask you out. You haven’t seduced him, conned him or convinced him, since in his soul, he already knows you’re the ony one for him. ;-)

But on the bright side, the guys don’t choose either, so all their hunting is zero work. When he sees you, he’ll be so knocked out and bowled over that all the Jezebels, Julias and Halle Berry’s will fade from memory as he discovers his missing rib.

——————————————————————————————

I can hear the question. What about the 3:1 ratio? What about “there are no celibate women in the Bible?” I can only say what I believe. Hizo ni shida za kujitafutia – we caused that. Between wars, abortions, alternative lifestyles and plain old sin, we shifted the balance. And the only way to restore that is to go back to the source, to trust God to fix our mess coz we can’t do it on our own, and God is cool like that. He forgives, and He restores, in His own way, in His own time.

And what if I don’t belive in God? Well, I can only pray for you and let Him work in you. Coz without that, well, in your mind, niothing I say makes sense.

——————————————————————————————

I know, I know, I’m a 21st century girl too. I’m proactive. The whole sitting around thing is overrated. But that God’s way. And the reason there are so many divorces and broken relationships is because we’re doing it our way. Us girls are chasing, and ending up with Seth instead of Adam. And the guys are hunting, catching Rachels and Rebeccas, discovering she’s not Eve, and continuing the hunt.

There is some good news for us strong women. After Adam acknowledged Eve as his soulmate, the ball was in her court. All women know we have immense power over men – and it’s not entirely gymnastic. Eve realized her power – and used it to feed Adam a bad apple. So the power was sanctioned, but it’s still there.

So once your Adam lets you in, you’re free to be a woman. You can ask him out, you can buy him dinner, you can be proactive. Just remember that all this freedom comes after he gives you the red light. If you have to force a man to notice you, chances are he’s the wrong man.

Keep sharp though girls, not all men are poets. The acknowledgement could simply be a smile, a drink spilt as he zoobs at you, a sudden loss of interest in the minis around him…and none of this counts if you’re dressed to oppress!

Conclusion, I’m starting the new year the Eden way. No more shock-tactic man-hunting. I’m sitting tight until God takes me on that beautiful walk through that beautiful garden to my Adam. And once I see that smitten smile, the he can hear this 21st centrury Eve roar.

December 23rd 2007: Do you believe in juju?

Dar and Coast (read Mombasa – I’m Nairobian!) have one thing in common. Well, they have many things in common, but today my focus is one : a belief in genies.

Not the Christina Aguilera kind, or the ones that come in bottles and wear belly dancing veils, I mean the kind that start out as goats and end up as scary murderous beauties.

I saw the strangest things this week. I was walking along the pavementless road. Um, yes, there are no pavements in my neighbourhood. So during traffic jams, drivers stray onto the extension of the road that people dare to walk on.

If you’re dumb enough to walk on the ‘road’, the driver will hoot at you and call you names until you get out of his / her way. The driver doesn’t care if you climb the wall, jump into the ditch or swim into the ocean – your only options. As long as you get off his ‘road’.

And if you respond to the hoot by turning, looking at the driver, smiling [or pulling a stone-face] and walking even more slowly on the ‘road’ (coz there is literally nowhere else to go!), then Wewe Mkenya, sio?

Back to the point, I was walking along the sand, when I saw a wheel fly off the road and land into a ditch. This mtaro, runs along the entire length of my neighbourhood, and borders two malls, two embassies, some schools, and Nyerere’s house. It has fish – and I’ve seen boys eat those fish…

Never mind that the water is mostly black, stagnant, and has enough greenery for a drunk (or a Kenyan) to try walking on it…

So the wheel flies into the ditch. I stand there watching, amazed. A few seconds later, a trailer drives past me – with one of its wheels missing.

The trailer drove about 50 metres before anyone noticed anything. Then they stopped, got out, fished out the wheel, placed it back on the lorry and drove away.

I don’t think I died laughing, coz I’m still here. And nobody else found it funny, or unusual. So I guess stuff like this happens everyday here. But among my other ‘crazy Dar’ questions, I have to add – why would a wheel fly off an eight wheel trailer in mid-drive and roll into a drainge ditch full of fish?

Then last night we were driving to Ubungo to get a passenger, and we saw a black-and-white cat sprinting across the highway. It was about 11.30 p.m. The guy at the wheel braked sharply. “Cats don’t cross the road like that.” I riled him and let it go.

On the way back, at that very same spot, a red sportscar is zooming in front of us. Suddenly something flies off the car and onto the road, with a loud clattering noise. The driver goes on for a bout 200 metres before he notices and stops.

Want to guess what flew off the car? Its bonnet.

All I could think to say was “Do you think he hit the cat?”

December 17th 2007: Battle of the sexes

It’s a general belief that the battle of the sexes started in the garden of Eden. Something about Eve getting Adam into trouble and getting cursed to be his eternal underling.

It’s also a general belief that at creation, men and women were equal, hence she was made from his rib, to spend her life at his side, as his helper.

This isn’t about equality, it’s about the anatomy of love as I see it. Today, I analyse the genesis of relationships, the crystal balls way.

If you don’t belive in creation as per Genesis, I won’t try to convince you. But flow with me for a few seconds. Catch a few lessons I pick from the garden. This is how I see God’s plan.

Number one. Adam was created before Eve, and was amused with a project – naming animals. Which took a while. Lesson one : Games can keep a man occupied – for a while.

Then Adam felt lonely, he felt something was missing. Lesson 2 : at some point in his life, a man will realise something is missing.

God saw that – He knew it all along, but He wanted Adam to see it too. He gave Him Eve to fill the gap. Not Steve, not a DIY guide to masturbation, not even Eve-and-Susan-and-Jackie-and…just one Eve. Lesson 3 : A man needs a woman in his life, and not his mother.

Lesson 4 : Eve was created for Adam. So a man can live without a woman – for a while, but eventually, he needs her.

Lesson 5 : A woman cannot live without a man. [Don’t crucify me, I didn’t write it!]

In the Bible, there are several celibate men – whom God SPECIFICALLY ordered not to marry, and gave them the grace to do so. e.g Isaiah, John the baptist, Jesus. However, there are no celibate women, only religious widows, e.g Anna. Lesson 6 : For religion, and only by God’s ordination, specific men can be CHOSEN to be celibate. But God intended women to be wives, and sometimes mothers.

In the beginning, there was Adam and Eve only, no parents, no siblings, no in-laws. That was paradise. Lesson 7 : people can live without parents, without brothers and sisters, without family, but people cannot live without marital love. God didn’t plan it that way.

People waste a lot of time, money – and life – by trying to do things their own way, when the way is clearly mapped in the Bible. Think about it, you could save yourself a lot of grief.

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