Slow Motion


Technologically, I have always been a laggard…

…or maybe, that’s not true…I remember once I had Car magazines, I could tell you about horsepower and what cars went how fast. It was a very short phase though. There were just 4 car magazines though, so maybe I had just crammed them.

Then there was the time I taught myself to use powerpoint, we had a computer, and i wanted to make something for my mum or her business or something. I was maybe 10, but I found it pretty easy and i really liked those bean things, those black stickmen.

screen beans

I also had a phase of fixing things around the house, I remember opening sockets, opening remotes, opening bells, opening melody cards, and figuring them all out. I even dreamed once of building my own toy car with a motor (why did we used to call them ‘mortar’)  I’d removed from a broken toy. I remember that I learnt how to fix remotes, after I smashed ours (temper) and lied that I fell with it. I could fix remotes after that.

Years passed and suddenly I remember being a teenager, and my friends laughing at me when I asked how many songs could fit on a CD (750mb). They laughed because I measured electronic capacity in songs, the way some people measure bandwidth with YouTube. I remember using floppy disks late in life, didn’t really ever upgrade to flashdisks until I inherited one, it was like 14Mb, it was purple, and ironically, it was really big.

There were phones too, and again, in no rush or desire to get a ‘proper’ phone, I inherited my first one…well, it’s not like I had the money to buy a phone anyway so inheritance was the only option. It was an Ericsson T.18. It was a flip phone, remember flip phones? You could only read SMS in a line, from left to right, and back again.

t 18

My T.18 suffered a great many falls, and the flip broke off, I reconnected it with a toothpick. So now I always had a toothpick with me, one for fixing my spectacles (the screw had come off) and one for fixing my T.18. In the days Nokia had started releasing 8800’s and those big numbers (not N-64 and Lumia like today),  my T.18 died. I remember picking her up (to answer a call), inserting the toothpick, and hitting the green button, but all I could hear was ‘Skrrrrrrrrr,skurrrrrrrrrr’, then she died. I could never let go of phones where texts were read side to side after that.

When I finally recovered in uni, my first smart phone (inherited)… was a Chinese affair. It had flashy lights too and a split personality. One day, she decided to become an i-phone, out of the blue the screen brought on a ‘Slide to unlock’ icon; in those days, that seemed to be Apple copyright. Those were the days Ciku, the girl who gave me such a silly boyish crash, was the only person who had an i-phone (which she used to hide)…Ciku was always soo cool…and hot…anyway, so this Chinese phone inheritance, was loud and large, it was touch screen but it also had a stylus and was once an iphone. That’s extremely remarkable, switching O.S like that, that is some astronomically advanced technology, you and your S4 mini.

It’s 2014, I wonder whether Ciku still uses an iphone. But I came here to say that I am a laggard, I just downloaded whatsapp. And I just started using a fully touch screen phone.

But I’m older now, and I feel nothing for being a laggard…why? Because, this is delayed pleasure. While you early adopters have long lived out your excitement, I am just discovering how great whatsapp and a fully touch screen phone is.(it’s annoying how slowly I type now though),  I am that kid who gets the last lollipop. In any context, the last lollipop always looks better than yours. The last piece of nyamchom, that’s what I’m eating.

You’re feeling kiwaru.

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Random Access Memories


This post has nothing to do with Daft Punk. It’s just because I suddenly remembered Paul…a guy I met while travelling.

Paul’s a superfit dude. He has a white crew cut, and that old muscle, old stretched muscle, like those weather-beaten boats or like a guy of mjengo. The muscle that sits on the fence between lean and intimidating, it shouts power and discipline more than aesthetics, you know that kind of muscle?

His a smoker. He is a drifter which means he has no permanent home. He just came from volunteering at some youth hostel, in return they gave him food and shelter.  He lights up a cigarette and tells me he quit smoking years ago, we share a laugh, because I’ve had a couple of beers (a Guinness and a lager) so everything is grrrrreat. I wish I could have beers with Paul, I want to hear more about his ex-girlfriend. He’s going to live with her, and he says she will give him hell if he doesn’t get his shape back – what shape I wonder, cause the only thing that is loose about Paul is his wrinkled face, and that’s only ’cause he’s over 40. It’s like Collins Injera saying he’s out of shape…Paul used to climb mountains in Nepal every year, and they are not the size of Longonot. His ex-girlfriend (the one he’s moving back in with) is a gym instructor he explains. We laugh a little more, because Paul is always laughing and I head out into the rain.

I walk into a bar (no that’s not a joke). And the first person I meet is Chung.  I call him Chung because I don’t remember his name, plus he’s Korean, so I can’t be far off. Chung is here with Ali, the Saudi with the beer…don’t judge, who said he’s muslim? ( He is). Chung seems majorly impressed to meet a black guy, he acts it out in a way I’d describe as ‘G’. Either he really is a ‘G’ or he thinks he should act ‘G’ cause I’m black, both possibilities are hilarious. I like Chung and his spiky hair.

Chung or something close

Chung or something close

Him, the Saudi and the french dude are in english class together, that’s what they are doing here. Then there’s a guy from Colombia. All of us have have met someone that is really good with girls, effortless even, Colombia is one of those…except he doesn’t do it for fun, it’s not about the thrill of conquest, he does it because he needs to. He tells me how long he saved for the flight here (don’t know why he felt the need to share), he also tells me that he’s here to make a life for himself, not holiday. He’s in this bar primarily to meet people, not have a good time. A girl walks up to us and I watch him do his groundwork. The girl is visibly excited to be in his presence, I can see it through her glasses which she keeps adjusting.  She says ‘Yeah, so I just need to confirm it with my housemates, but you can come stay with us from Wednesday,’ and just like that, Colombia has a free place to stay as he looks for a job (one day after jetting into the country). As he leaves the bar later on, the girl I’m talking to nods enthusiastically to my story, but after he hugs her goodbye her eyes follow him out of the room. She is looking at him ki-unyama like manyake. Guinness is my distraction.

Later, I walk into another bar- I feel the need to let you know that I was on holiday. I ask what’s on tap, and they give me a beer with a green logo, I forget its name. It’s amazing this beer. I chat up some lone travellers, but they’re only here for a beer before they have to catch their bus. We have  a short conversation, and they have to leave. I sit next to the table that’s obviously celebrating a birthday. The birthday boy is a dreadlocked black guy, he’s flabby, and he is wearing bell-bottoms. He would fail alco-blow in an instant, one of those guys that would claim he’s Engineer Maina (2.10) (so what?) or worse, try to escape from the police in reverse. Soon, one of the party-goers asks me if I’m with them, I say no, she says join us, I feel awkward so I don’t. She doesn’t give up, she starts sending people my way to say hello to the lonely guy at the bar. There’s a girl with a tattoo of a tree across her whole back. Later on she invites me to a concert with white people playing African drums that I have never played….it was actually great. In that dark sweaty room, packed with jumping bodies and cheap beer, I find her by looking for that tattoo.

It’s my birthday, and I am hanging out outside, yes, another bar. I am feeling a little sorry for myself, because I am alone, and because I don’t actually know anybody in this city. There’s a girl outside the bar as well, and she starts a conversation after some drunk guy staggers into us. We sit and listen to the music together in the dim red-lit bar. AMAZING music. This girl has a really soft voice, freakily soft, a little psycho even. She tells me some stuff about her sister, I tell her it’s my birthday, she gives me a muffin from her bag. It’s quite good, it has pieces of orange peel in it. She baked it.  Come to think of it, I guess ideally you shouldn’t eat queencakes from strangers, but it’s allowed on your birthday.

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