Tales of an Old Maid

Its been quite a long day. First, I made the grand discovery that I, am old. Ancient. Mummified. Soon to rise from the dead. 
I no longer identify with the ‘younglings’.

I sneer at their verbal t-shirts, and their colorful shoes. Their gigantic caps are beyond me! Fashion, you say? Pah, I reply with disgust.
This language they speak … English? Nay! Jamaican English.. what does that mean?! Don’t ask me; I’m old.

Apart from the chalk-on-blackboard kids, life is grand.

This is the part where I’m supposed to go off about my new beau or new crush, right? Well, not today, and not for a while, either.

Quirkyalone
I came about the word a short while back and oh, the joy! There is an actual word for it! I am a degree less weird because I can identify it with something that didn’t originate from my head.

It being, the state of being single and happy. I hear your collective groan but I ask you to just keep an open mind.

To some people, relationships come naturally. Like a dog to water, they paddle through it like they belong. For some reason, everyone is expected to take to the water, which is quite unfair, don’t you think?     

Some of us are cats; we might as well be allergic to water.  We’re just a match not meant to be.

That’s not to say I’m completely opposed to dating; it’s just best taken in measured doses. If at all.For everyone’s sake, of course. The one time I tried, I crashed the car into the first wall I saw so I guess that tells you something.

For now, I am blissfully single, enjoying the benefits of time for introspection and watching the game from the bench.

On behalf of fellow quirkyalones, I will say that yes, we are quirky. Mainly because we refuse to conform to this standard mould that is expected, and also because we are quirky in the very sense of the word. 

But lets face it, quirkies are like the best people ever! We’re kooky and are not afraid of making a fool of ourselves from time to time, so laughs ahead! 

So if you don’t mind, let me get back to playing bridge and knitting sweaters.

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Love Like the Movies

I was brought up on a diet of cinematic goodness. To say the least, movies have been, and still are, one of my most favorite things in the world. I love getting lost in a story line, a great character who, for two hours or so, makes you completely forget about… everything. Everything except the tale unfolding before your eyes.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, I guess that depends. I’ve been told that sometimes I seem to be in another world, completely apart from reality. I’m still figuring out if that’s good or bad.

Anyhu, we were hanging out with some friends one time and one of the guys literally swept his girlfriend off her feet. Literally.
It was really sweet but, I confess, a bit of a cultural shock to me because it seemed like one of those things Kenyans don’t usually do . (Not in front of me, anyway.)

I love movies but there’s  a degree of separation in my mind between what I see on screen and what I have known to be reality. In movies, the guy sweeps the girl off her feet, buys her flowers and jewelry, writes her name across the sky and that is a great ‘aww’ moment. In Kenya, hug a girl for more than 5 seconds and the whole street stares at you like you’re slime. Try kissing her and the whole street will gasp collectively and get a heart attack. 

I’m no realist (the blog name says it all) but I’ve got to ask; is the love in the movies for real?

That adorable act got a guy saying (after he gave a disclaimer that nothing he was about to say should be held against him in any way) that his ultimate romantic moment would be if while he is walking with a girl he fancies, romantic music begins to play; suddenly and completely unplanned. We roasted him thoroughly for that and even tried to make his dream come true (we were that group of people on Biashara street singing completely off key. That was fun. 🙂 ).

But it got me thinking ; how real is it? Is it just a marketing gimmick? Will I truly look into someone’s eyes one day and think ‘this is it’? Sweaty palms? shortened breath? Flirty giggling? Hair twirling? (Yes, my hair is twirlable) Lying on the road just to watch the traffic lights change color? Wait! Scratch that; that’s equivalent to suicide in Nairobi. Ok.. just sit on the beach and watch a big ball of fire disappear behind the glistening ocean? And not think about the scorpions while I’m at it? Or the mosquitoes?

Will I ever figure it out? Have you figured it out? Or is it just one of ‘those things’? You know; ‘those things’ no one ever elaborates on but says it with a knowing look and a nudge with the elbow?

Msichana wa Nairobi: the Chronicles

Today was a great day. I rarely  say this because somewhere in my twisted mind, I feel like I’m daring fate. If anything terrible was to happen it would probably happen now……… nope. Nothing *Thank you, God*….. still here :). #phew.

Back to compounding the awesomeness of the day, great things didn’t happen today but I would say the beauty was all in the details. The morning brought with it’s (now)usual weather mood swings but after the other day I think we all learnt our lesson ( when the clouds looked so ominous that everyone left home ready for the mother of all rainy days, only for a scorching hot afternoon) ( no one was laughing, fate. It wasn’t funny… ok, maybe a little ).
Got to school in time, had a productive group meeting. Is it me or does group work sometimes feel like a game with  the twist being that 90% of the task is actually working as a group and not the assignment? Anyhu, did the impossible .

At a point I found myself trying out the cool moves of ‘Wakwitu’,  in the best Faiba ( and in my opinion, Kenyan ) advertisement.  ( Pwani life and Daima,  take notes! Stop giving us mini-heartattacks in traffic with your billboards ). It’s so cool that he sounds authentically kao when he says, ‘ai, mboss wee’! #ilaugh

Going back home, there was a monster jam so I decided to ‘rest my eyes’. Next thing I know the lady beside me says ‘Someone has died up ahead’.
Somehow that slapped the last inkling of sleep from my person. I don’t know why I looked. But I did. I’m kind of a daredevil when it comes to crossing the road ( not really). More like a ‘nigonge uone ‘  confidence .

My first instinct was to completely ignore the scene but deep down I needed to see it so that it could register in my head how serious it all is.    

You know how they sometimes liken the human head to a watermelon? Its true. That’s all I’ll say.

Chivalry ain’t dead
A person I later on learnt was my neighbour helped me carry 10l of water up the stairs. And who said chivalry was dead?! Oh wait! I did…point taken, I guess. Its interesting how in this age we’re not very neighbourly with our neighbours, isn’t it?

Lastly, ( I know, I know, its really long but stay with me a moment ) its that time of the year again; BAKE AWARDS!!! This will be the second awards since its inception last year, where you get to appreciate the best Kenyan bloggers. Last year I cheekily nominated myself ..and fell flat on my face :). (No worries, I was rolling on the floor laughing. 😉 ). Coming up against the greats such as the Bikozulu?? As in, what was I thinking?!? Get the joke now?

You’re the guys who’ve suffered through this post and many others like it so, what do you think? Should I do it? Or should I just end this post already and with it my hopes?    

Hospital Blues

I’m sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for my blood test results. They have the AC cranked up so high, I’m wondering why I didn’t carry a sweater. Oh yeah! Maybe its that tiny fact that this is Mombasa, known for its sweltering temperatures.
I’m not big on hospitals. Never have been. I’ve been here now and again for the occasional flu and then there was the time I landed on a glass. No, not glass as you have thought to be grammatically correct. A Glass. In a sentence, ‘a glass of water’.
Long story short, I jumped from the second bunk and crushed a glass under my foot.

I remember sobbing in the waiting room and having folks hold me down as the pieces of glass were being removed. To date, I get a sick feeling in my stomach every time I enter that wing.

I can literally count the number of times I have gone to see a doctor alone ( this clocks 2). My mum actually asked my dad if I’m still young enough to see a paediatrician….. no Mum, I’m not. I suppose I should feel all grown up now with neither of my parents flanking my side, but I don’t. I just feel cold and hungry.

That Stupid Song

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Not that I was busy . In fact, the school year is over and I’m 20 minutes away from a bus ride home. I wasn’t suffering from writer’s block either. Well, not technically anyway.
You know that silence that seems to go on forever and you decide to comment on the beautiful embroidery on the cushion , although you’re not really trying to bring the conversation to life? Do you? Well,this is that. 

I boarded a mat from home to town at like 8.45 pm. I confess,  I am one of those people who rush home before the sun goes down and when it does, we bolt the doors,shut the windows and sit on on a wick rocking chair with a shotgun to keep the big bad wolf out. ( Now we all know I’ve been watching ‘Once upon a time’). I am a stay-at-homer.
Where was I? Oh yeah! Boarding matatu..
I get into the mat and it’s only one other guy in there. The first thought in my head?!
‘Please Lord, don’t let them be serial killers!! ‘ I end up looking out the window, making sure they are using the actual route to town throughout. Well they weren’t serial killers, thank God! But (and this is a pretty big but ) there was a hell of a lot of stink in their breathe. New worst place to be; between a smoker and a person who thinks Colgate is a computer company . Pure torture!     

I get to town and the conductor doesn’t even help me get my bag out of the space he’d stuck it in. I’m not one to curse, but at that moment I could see why people would. I got a nasty scrap as a result buy the bag was out. I didn’t even realize I was bleeding until I reached the bus stop. But before that, there’s still the story of the charismatic taxi driver! 😉

The original plan was to walk to the bus stop but by the time I crossed the road, I was looking for the closest taxi. So this guy spouts an amount I was not willing to pay and I fell into a character that every girl uses on a rainy day ; Damsel in distress.
As a girl in the 21st century, I’m more comfortable in the ‘i can do it myself ‘ than the ‘im so helpless, please help me’ and I was surprised at how well it worked when he agreed to my counter proposal with the words ,’for you, sure.’

I get to the bus terminal and I notice the horrible, horrible gash on my wrist ( did I mention I’m a recovering hypochondriac?? I may be exaggerating.) The first thought in my head then?? ‘I really hope I don’t get AIDS’. Although tetenus is more likely. Well, we wont know until I get to a hospital. Till then, we pray.

Here’s a thought line I had earlier as inspired by Bez’s Stupid Song. (It was kind of a mental tt);
#thatstupidsong that you don’t like but is pretty catchy
#thatstupidsong that pops into your head in an exam room when you’re really trying to concentrate
#thatstupidsong that reminds you of a person you’re getting over
#thatstupidsong that makes you so distracted, you don’t hear what your friend is saying    
#thatstupidsong that comes into your head when your in church

..and I’m out.
Oh! Who wants cute puppies?! They’re of a small breed and are very intelligent.

The Empress’s New Threads

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A woman is always shopping. There’s no one time that she can say she’s not looking at or for anything.  We look at window displays and wonder if that pair of shoes would match that dress in the wardrobe. We look at her jacket and note that we need one for ourselves. It doesn’t matter if the purse is bulging at the seams or straining at the weight of the coins you collected from under your couch cushions at the end of the month.

My daily route to school requires me to pass by Westlands and being a window -girl, my nose is always pressed against the glass. Its not that I’m searching for anything in particular but I think clearest when staring out of a window than when on an aisle seat.

So last week, one of those yummy dresses they hang in westie got my attention. It was orange with yellow detailing. Strapless. Short. It would be the perfect Sundress to have, I thought. With a straw hat and strappy sandles …  I had to have it!
  
I kept putting it off and after almost a week of drooling over it in a passing matatu,  it was time for the moment of truth.
Those dresses in Westie always look amazing when seen from a far but its when you get close and the ‘magic pegs’ at the back that give the dress a lovely shape come off that you can truly judge it. More importantly, the fit of the dress on you.  You know, *picking imaginary lint off me* not all of us are human hangers #models#. So how it looks on a particular woman’s body makes all the difference in the world.

IT FIT PERFECTLY! Then I started doubting. Was I sure I couldn’t get anything better? It couldn’t be that easy, could it?! Then I remembered that the last time I had acted out of my doubts and left a lovely dress.  I spent the whole night regretting it and the next day, I arrived just in time to see it being carried off by its proud new owner. I had that dramatic moment where I went down on my knees and screamed ‘Noooooooooo’ to the sky. In my head.

The Empress *me* has new clothes. The best part of it? *whispers* You can see them!

Completely unrelated, at the beginning of the year I told a friend of mine that this year I was getting serious about my writing. Finally got around to it these last two weeks. Im doing it offline but I may get around to posting them here. Writing for no other reason than to write frees the mind, is what I’m learning.

Is it just me?

Everyone has a different standing when it comes to this particular subject, and mine may well be one that is quite contrary to the norm. The truth is, it has literally been conditioned into it for the last 7 years! So, don’t blame me ; blame the system!

In primary school, even the hint of a lingering handshake would be treated as an abomination that could only be rectified by the swing of a cane! It was kind of a ritual that at the beginning of the term, all those suspected of ‘coupling’ (in our defense, we were kids so ‘coupling’ was our language …I don’t know what the teachers’ excuse was). Anyway hugging was completely out of the question. In fact, I remember the one and only time I hugged a boy *gasp* in primary school was 5 minutes before my first KCPE paper and I was too freaked out to give it a second thought.

Then came high school. An all-girls school, where hugging was actually punishable. Not forgetting that during those four years, **boys were stupid ** until I met those who were the right type of stupid and we really hit it off. I was in one of those schools where we had to uphold the name of the school and before I knew it, I was one of the people handing out punishments. I must say that carrying stripes was an interesting experience!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand ; the art of hugging. You had to have been there to fully understand the concept of the ‘all-girls’ school’. So began the ‘Sweetie’ era. Everyone ( and I do mean everyone ) was sweetie! And the hugging… it was incessant, but it grew on you and you became one of the clones. Smiley, Sweeti-calling, hugging clones.

Then all of a sudden, high school is over. (Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore )
You move from an existence of following rules to making your own.

The number of awkward/ embarrassing moments that I have had because of hugging are not few, but they are distinct enough for me to remember each and everyone of them.
There was the time;
1. I was so stunned, I literally froze on the spot!
2. My face dove into someone’s shirt.
3. I went all matrix ( remember Keannu Reeves & the bullet?)
4. I had that awkward conversation with someone I barely know, who insists I should hug them. ( this has happened more often than you would expect).
Those are the ones that stand out right now.

Anyway, I have come to be open to the idea. There are those pals I’ve known for a long time and now they’re like my brothers. Why shouldn’t I hug my brother?
Not that I’ll go all crazy and hug every Juma,  Njoroge and Otieno. Instead, I consider the hug to be somewhat special.  ( and I’m kind of sensitive about b.o so…).

In my hug-scapades, I realised that a hug ( as would a handshake ) says a lot about a person. Plus, I’m in search of the perfect hug (NOTE: this is not an invitation to treat nor is it an offer).
( p.s isn’t it irritating when someone insists on lingering on your hand in a handshake ? * shudder* )
*sigh* we grow up so fast …