I had forgotten the peculiarities one stumbles upon on a night out. Yesterday, it was to my favourite reptile-named bar, with she who used to be my usual partner in crimes of justice against alcoholic bevs, S; we had both taken sabbaticals from this vocation, what with entrepreneurships to pursue, and apples of our eyes plucked off by the demon of marriage either because they were too out of our reach or we were too busy admiring them to reach out. But poti madzi saiwala khwawa, we decided to hit up the joint for old time’s sake.
To say the first hour was uneventful will seem like diplomatically describing that time period as boring when in actual fact I just mean there was no event out of the ordinary that occurred- nothing that I would not expect to happen; good people, good conversation, drink offers, a couple of laughs.
Then: three guys, Tom, Dick, and Harry, whom, at first, I thought were my S’s friends because of the familiar manner in which they accosted us, made themselves comfortable at our table to the point of chasing away the testosterone-inclined company at the time. Then it was revealed that S was acquainted with just the one who seemed to only want to say hi and move on, Tom. Tom introduced his friends as having a major contract with one of the country’s leading mobile networks. Dick cut him off with an embarrassed smile saying there is no need to go into all that. It was the kind of humility that beats one’s drum louder than would pure arrogance; immediately, one attributes his embarrassment to the magnitude of their contract with the company which increases exponentially with his level of embarrassment. Were he to have just kept quiet, we would have lumped them with the hundred or so other independents working with the company.
Harry revealed that he was an artist and started flooding us with data on how out of the box, how ‘different’ he is, and how this makes him awesome, while I wrestled to come up with something interested/ interesting with which to reply. Turns out I didn’t need to. Turns out Harry had no use for our mouths (as long as they were not yawning or showing other signs of physical fatigue); our ears sufficed.
Dick, on the other hand, was not satisfied unless there was something going in or out of our oral cavities, bludgeoning us with drink offers by the minute no matter how many times we politely declined; or asking us silence-filler type ‘philosophical’ questions. “What do you think goes on in the mind of an artist?” (Turns out they were all artists)
I don’t know. Shouldn’t YOU be telling US that?: Me.
“Now you are answering my question with a question.”
“Well, as long as it’s answered right? In the end, it’s the content of the sentence, not the mark at the end of it that matters, right?” *a chuckle to soften the blow; shout-out to online happenings like i.m.ing and FBing for When to use LOL etiquette*
“I want to hear from you.”
“Well, we are all wearing clothes, right? We’ve all ended up at this table, listening to jazz so my first inclination is to think your thought process is no different from mine.”
Blasphemy of Blasphemies. To tell an ‘artist’, one who c.r.e.a.t.e.s, one who sees the garden og eden where we would only see chaos, that they are no different from the common man?! You may as well bite your thumb at them, give them the middle finger, ye’ throw down the gauntlet!
There were murmurs of disagreement to my irreverence and I quickly tamed the situation by pointing out that ‘but of course everyone is different (interpreted: special). Look how we are all clothed but in radically different attires in addition to a myriad other dissimilarities.
Woe to me when Harry decided to turn his attentions exclusively to S, and Dick decided to follow suit with me, leading Tom to declare an imbalance in ratio before sodding off. Dick kept on trying to get me to define an ‘artist’ and I kept on deflecting, painfully failing to politely convey my disinterest in the conversation. Then he worked himself up into a frenzy due to my lack of cooperation; his face contorted grotesquely that I began to fear that he would develop piles from all the straining (I have recently learned of piles and as such preventatives are taking up quite a bit of my thought content). He looked like he was trying to force something out and I reasoned that it couldn’t possibly be words that he was struggling with so, so I thought perhaps he was constipated.
I was on the verge of asking him why he was doing that to his face when concern for how I utilise my time got the better of me so instead I explained how I had the utmost disinterest in the conversation, saying I didn’t see where it was coming from and certainly, didn’t see where it was going and that I have a severe disdain for time-passer type conversations preferring to inhale and exhale or gazing unseeingly into the distance. He asked me what ‘I’ would like to talk about and I said abortion or homosexuality. He picked abortion, saying of homosexuality, “I don’t go there.” So homosexuality it was, hoping to get a genuine, impassioned response on a subject so sensitive to him that he refused to ‘go there’.
I quickly got bored as he spewed the usual anti-gay rhetoric that is more societal opinion than personal feeling. I cut him off, apologised, called the waiter and ordered some peanuts. To my amazement, he immediately began to sulk that I was on a first name basis with the waiter.
“Oh, I just wanted a snack-but go on…”
“No, what’s this ‘John’ factor?”
My brain concluded this elicited laughter more than it did an answer and sent out signals accordingly.
John returned and started making an attempt to open the packet. Dick savagely tore it out of his hands and just as savagely unapologetically apologised, saying it was his duty to open the nuts. I had a momentary thought of how fitting it would be if he stood up and beat his chest, gorilla style, at that moment. He did stand up, but went to the gents instead (after handing me the nuts-the peanuts).
Harry pulled me into his conversation with S, offering drinks because S was yawning. She explained that she was getting old. He said that he could tell that one of us was X years old. Right on the money. S started grinning a little too much but explained this away saying Harry was psychic. Mental note to offer thankful prayers for preventing me, five minutes ago, from sending that text saying how bored I was.
“He told me that I own a business and that I am going to school at the same time!”
Forget the mental note! Hows about I do the thank yous right now? Lawrd knows I don’t seize the moment often enough; Lawrd knows I ‘on’ say ‘thank you’ enough, but if an intervention can be done right now, like a mental block typ’a’ deal, I’d be r.e.a.l thankful.
How about I do you?: Harry.
“No, it’s fine,” my eyes pleading with him to just…MOVE ON.
“No. I get from you that you are inquisitive-”
S: Right on the money!
Me: (Delirious with panic now) I receive it!It’s true! Everything is true. I accept. No need to prove nothing.
We now interrupt this chronicle to give you an excerpt on the workings of my psyche: it’s not that I have anything in particular to hide but someone telling you all about you is like getting your clothes ripped off in public. I am sure my bits are no different- generally- from the next girl, but it’s still hella embarrassing.
Dick came back. Thank heavens so did Tom. I seized upon Tom’s presence and told him how much he had been missed with more enthusiasm than would warrant the occasion. On cue, he settled himself down and got into conversation with me. With were continually interrupted by Dick who repeatedly announced, “Fiyonah, you see I’m not talking. I’ll just sit here, quiet, and let you talk to other people.”
When he would have his outburst, Tom and I would pause midsentence, listen to him and then carry on from right where we left off. When it became apparent to him that we were just being polite, he got aggressive, accusing me of pomp and arrogance for not accepting his drink offer.
S said her goodbyes, going ahead of me to make a phone call. When it became obvious that the only reason I was still sitting there was to wind up my conversations, Dick shoved his phone into my hand demanding that I save my number in it. After I had obliged and got up to leave, Tom, who had been fiddling with his phone undecidedly, asked if he would perhaps visit me at my work place. I said I would really like that. He said perhaps he could text before coming. I offered him my mobile number and told him to make sure to leave a message with the receptionist if he happened not to find me. He said not to worry; it wouldn’t be a formal visit.
Exclamation from Dick, “You’ve gone too far! Fiona wandiwonjeza sopano! You’ve done it!”
Tom’s basic instinct seemed to be mirth but it quickly turned to self preservation and started staring, intently, at the floor when he realised it wasn’t a joke. *Mental note to add to list of men who aint got the testicular wherewithal-double entendre intended*
Me: Dick, what’s the matter? You are scaring me.
Harry: It’s okay. It’s just that he likes you, that’s why he is acting like that.
“But he is scaring me.”
“It’s okay, I’ll walk you.”
We met up with S in the car park and lingered due to a threesome conversation that developed between us. Then there were footsteps. Then Dick showed up.
“I just had to say bye.” My cue to get into the car.
“Lemme get that for you.” Opens car door. “Lemme help you in-”
“DON’T- touch me. Step back! M.o.v.e back!” A touch too much, I suppose?