TELL ME SOMETHING NEW

The best of us can find happiness in misery

“Hey, Dad. I’m out,” Stella said, swiping the keys from the bookshelf as she swept past.

“Knock yourself out,” he said without looking up.

“You know I used to think that someday you’d give me a break and understand…” she started

“I’m never forgiving you,” he interrupted.

‘I didn’t say forgive dad. I said understand. I’m not sorry for choosing what I love.”

“I bet your kids are. Right there in your womb those ovaries are weeping. What kind of life will you give them with chalk and a red biro?”

“Perhaps we should wait and find out.”

“Oh please, here Stella, take some more time and show me how this is a good idea. I mean it’s only been what, eleven years?”

“Dad!”

“Fate gave me one chance at a kid, and it chose to give me you? Life sucks.”

“Don’t talk to me like that!”

“Oh oh, come now darling, tell me. How exactly should I talk to you? How exactly does one talk to a child who drops out of doing a medicine degree, which she was getting perfect grades at, to become a primary school teacher?”

“I don’t know, but I should think it has something to do with using language that refers to her as his daughter and not a dirty stray dog.”

“Don’t use that kind of language with me, Stella.”

“Great! Please, tell me about how you curse my being and I still have to watch my language with you… Some animals are more equal than others, huh?”

“You are such an embarrassment.”

“How exactly, Dad? How? I come and visit every weekend. I do not drink. I am not pregnant…”

“Oh with such hard headedness, who would knock you up anyway?”

“I don’t know, maybe a guy like that guy who knocked mum up so she’d have me. What a noble thing it was you did, Daddy! What…a noble…thing.”

“Don’t bring your mother up. It has nothing to do with her.”

“No? Because I thought maybe before we start pointing fingers we could look at how you ‘encouraged’ mum to drop out of her own degree so you can take care of us. Maybe we could discuss how she ended up being a teacher, and not because she loved it. Maybe we could even discuss how at that time you had her convinced that it was a good idea… Tell me, Dad, did she threaten you? Was that it? Were you afraid she’d be better than you?”

“Young lady, stay out of that issue.”

“Why? You’re all up in my business. Why can’t I infringe too? Huh? Tit for tat, you selfish chauvinist.”

“How selfish of me to have paid your school fees…”

“Yes, you paid my school fees. But not for me, for you. You do everything for yourself. That’s why mum being a teacher is a good idea and my being a teacher is a bad idea. You know what the two things have in common?”

“Educate me, pun intended.”

“They make you look good.”

“Stella…”

“Don’t you think I feel bad my career has been stagnant for eleven years, which I know because I have a father who is playing stopwatch for me?”

“Really? Because for a moment I thought you were getting back at the system or something, what with you having shot through your own primary school years…”

“Don’t be sarcastic…”

“It made me sleep better to think it was a skipping-a-phase issue. Looking back, I wish they hadn’t let you skip those classes, because right now I am paying dearly for that.”

“Listen, Dad. This is how this is going to work. You are going to sit around and watch me rot, or laze, or make the biggest mistake of my life, but I’m not letting go. If anything, your snide comments will give me the impetus to keep going uphill. You wait and see.”

“That shouldn’t be too hard. It’s what I’ve been doing eleven years anyway, except maybe the uphill part… I ain’t seen no uphill here.”

“Dad!”

“Tell me something new.”

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Elitism

Elitism: the phenomenon where some people with certain qualities- class, intellect, wealth- have their views regarded more importantly than others and make a greater impact on decision making processes because of these qualities.

Closer home: Think of the club with the coolest kids in your high school or in your campus. Think then, of the newly enrolled freshman class. If auditions for the club you have identified are called, I bet you would know who would get in for sure and who wouldn’t. Elitism: the phenomenon where some people (cool kids) with certain qualities (class, polished language, uptown clad) have their views regarded more importantly than others and make a greater impact on decision making processes.

Elitism is everywhere. Sometimes the elite in one room will move to the next room; to a different crowd and become the ‘inferior’. The exclusiveness characteristic of the elite can be defined in many different ways- dressing; language; the swing of the women’s hips; the jolt of the men’s shoulders as they manœuvre their way through the crowds they are a part of.

I dislike the words “even me.” I dislike the crowd.

I do not like the fact that expressing my views in Kiswahili during an informal community service club meeting is frowned upon. I do not like that when I travel upcountry the girls whose skirts were made partly as clad and partly as brooms for the house floor look down upon me. I do not like that on social networks many are berated for actions that are deemed ‘not classy’ and have to change who they are to fit into society’s who they should be. Anytime you feel you need to prove a point, anytime you feel you have to make effort to fit in, that right there is elitism prying (shamelessly) into your life.

Yet, is it not elite of me to go about with my nose held high condemning everyone’s elitism?

OF A STUDENT-ISH MANIAC

This is one of those moments I have been seated at this table telling myself I need to get my homework (which I was given last week), done. I had been trying to figure out how it’s supposed to be done, and my ego has blatantly refused to let me go next door and simply get shown the sketch for this drawing, after which the real work begins. Anyway, I finally managed to get an idea of what I was to do, after trying to diagnose my academic issues the whole day.

1)      As I mentioned, siwezi na siwezi na siwezi, uliza the answer to a question when I have all the knowledge required to solve it. Seriously, I go as far as copying work when it’s due without allowing my brain to process it so that in the end I still have to address it myself. It makes me look a bit vain at times, but it’s one of those things…uuum…uuuuum…(trying to jitetea)…one is born with? (I know, eureka). It’s something about my respect for my intelligence. Also, exam ntacopy nani nikiwa stuck???

2)      For some reason, my brain refuses to understand non-broken down work. You know how kwanza these science teachers like semaing, “obviously….” Pap! That is the end me… Why obviously?? WHY WHY WHY…can’t you just treat me like a baby and show me how you got that mother equation from the baby equations!!! (I don’t even know if what I’ve said makes sense, but I’m scientific, we are allowed to not know how to express our ideas 😛

3)      Taking notes from someone else. My sister has been berating me for attending class; “it’s not what cool kids do”. Confession, I’m not a cool kid (like you hadn’t noticed). I don’t know, but if you’ve watched lie to me, you know the importance of taking note of E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G…ata mpaka the teacher’s posture akisema kitu. Now my brain feels bad (yes, I should have warned you, my brain is an emotional nutcase), and it feels really bad not being there to take note of such details, of why for example, the teacher would say, “you know of course in all cases,”…then murmur to himself, “well there are a few exceptions”…and then continue to speak loudly. You see, it’s all a…wait for it…conspiracy; they are hiding things from us these people…imagine! I deviate, point was, I like being in class myself, mimi wote.

4)      I carry ALL my books around. Why? Except when in those dire cases I am about to be tested in one subject, I study whatever I want, nothing more, nothing less. And I hate hate hate that feeling that I want to chop chem. And then my books are in I don’t know London. (where I had just had lunch by the way ) Hey, I heard what you just said. In heaven, me and my Buddy God call that envy (pointing my little finger at you! I don’t know why I chose the little finger btw, but it sounds like really hurtful).

5)      Last queer habit, let’s see. Ooooooh talking to my work. Oh there’s nothing cooler than making an animation off of the elements in Midirivi’s (imagine that’s what my teacher calls Mendelev) periodic table. Example conversation: so now sodium anapata calcium ameshika oxygen ati wanajiita calcium oxide. Sodium anashow calcium, “kwenda uko unadhani we ni nani!” alaftena (when I was a kid I swear people thought alafu and tena were one word)…anyway alaftena sodium anachukua oxygen wanakuwa sodium oxide anaacha calcium akifeel kiwaaaaaru. Ingawa mi pia I think Oxygen huwa si msee mpoa. Niaje kila time huwa anachukuliwa chukuliwa tu anabreak hearts za waaaatu…(I know I’m getting carried away, and I know you have figured, I don’t have many friends.

Anyway, huyo ni summary wa reading habits wangu, I’m glad I wrote this, it’s given me psyke to draw. Anyway, my point was, I don’t finish homework first, I don’t have the urgent kind of curiosity to learn something, I’m really really slow in my work. I have just learnt to use my ways, embrace my weaknesses (kwanza kukuwa distracted kama kuku) and work. Main point being, don’t look at your neighbor. Kwanza if you were in boarding school you know that mbaya feeling you get when your cubemate wakes up at I don’t know 25o’clock…or 27 o’clock, or 29 o’clock, or 31 o’clock (get it? As in odd hours)..to read. I swear my sleep actually used to change taste and become sour after I see someone awake and reading.

Lost and found

It’s been long since I attended inspirational talks. I haven’t missed them. If you were about to give me the ‘there are people who wish they were me’ intervention, please, have this doll and keep yourself busy combing its hair 🙂
Anyway, today I did, and as much as they are repetitiiiiiiive, I guess I wouldn’t mind a GOOD one once in a whiiiiiiiiiile. By good, I mean of course when the facilitator tells real life stories.
I’d like to give the devil his due here… Some talks raise my hair, give me more mojo to keep at my IT, and give me a chance to remember why I’m running, because sometimes *blubber alert*… I run really fast (imagine the Flash), then there’s a grand pressure depression behind me, then the whole isostasy thing makes the world go on an equilibrium finding frenzy, then my purpose (because it’s so big) has to go and fill that depression that yours truly has left, and THAT is how we who are headed for greatness lose our purpose:)- but only for a moment, and for the sake of Mother Earth’s well-being.
Also, I’m sleepy.