You’re in the supermarket, not just any supermarket but a Nakumatt. There’s something about their phrase that amuses you, ‘You need it, we’ve got it’. What exactly do I need and will they really have it? What if I need a bag of money? Maybe a little bit of sympathy for my bad day? How does that come, in milligrams, liters maybe? Your mind wanders to your loveless life. For a moment you want to ask one of the attendants
“Err, boss mapenzi side gani?”
“Hapo kando ya bacon” he’d casually reply
Because we all know the closest you can get to love is some bacon.
“Brand gani poa? Naskia kuna hii ya kukaliwa chapatti. Ni poa?”
“Hiyo wengi hawapendi. Jaribu hiyo ingine instant.”
“Eeh, hiyo weka kwa maji moto tu.”
You walk into the supermarket and trace your steps carefully past the trolleys. On your left is an international shoe brand with colorful shoes. You figure those shoes must be colorful because after looking at the price tag you’ll need something to cheer you up. You figure you can do without such shoes, I mean after all Jesus was probably barefoot and he walked on water. You keep walking past the delicate glass vases. These vases look tempting, you want to walk up to one, lift it up and look at it against the light. Why do people do that? Is there a way to tell if glass is authentic? Does it have a water mark like our notes? But they have a warning sign right next to them, the sign says explicitly “do not touch”. But I see people touching them all the time. Maybe there’s an invisible part that says “If you do not have money”.
You take a left and walk into the liquor section. The attendant there acknowledges your presence with a nod of the head. It’s a subtle nod. These people know discretion. You can walk in there with your better half who is yet to be acquainted with your drinking habits and you might have to explain how you know the guy so well. It will then become a whole conversation on honesty.
“Babe, how does that guy know you?”
“He, doesn’t he is just always excited to see me.”
“Does he see you often? Si I thought you rarely come here?”
There’s something about when a lady punctuates her sentences with ‘Si I’ then you know a shit storm is brewing. This is the heat wave before an el nino. This is when she has ‘accidentally’ put your FIFA disc in her handbag and goes with it to her place. You call her and in between words she says
“Si I thought you can always kuja and get it?”
The whole thing becomes about you not wanting to go to her place and ends up with your supposed discomfort with the whole relationship. So for the sake of your FIFA disc (read relationship) you go there, apologize, cuddle and watch movies. Basically when a girl says “Si I…” you’re wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jesus’ descendant or if Hitler’s cousin hit on your sister. You have something coming your way. So I appreciate this guy’s subtlety, he doesn’t know it but he has helped me avoid a confrontation with a girlfriend I don’t have about a drinking problem I might have.
The pretty Heineken ladies are standing there looking pretty in their short green dresses and made up eyes looking suggestively at you when you enter. Their eyes have a language of their own. They ooze sex appeal but still have a strictness about them that says this is business. They want to make you buy beer, expensive beer, and give you a free glass and want you to smile like it’s a steal. Okay it’s a steal – they steal from you. You’ll stand there and let them entertain you on how buying two six packs you get a free branded glass. You’ll want to ask them if the glass self-brews.
“So what other options do you have?” you ask
“You don’t want a glass?” she’ll ask with a tinge of remorse. Like you broke her heart. You will feel bad for turning down her glass. What human turns down a glass? What human turns down a branded glass? What human turns down a branded glass from a hot girl?
“I mean a glass is fine but… it’s a glass.” You’ll say
She will go ahead and show you a t-shirt that’s too big and you’ll give her some look. A look that asks if she is really serious. You’ll want to know if the large size covers up for the fact that the glass was small. So you’ll nod and say you don’t want the t-shirt. She’ll put it back and start entertaining the thought that maybe you’re broke and don’t drink beers out of a green bottle. Her eyes will slowly start to roll and just as she is about to turn and talk to her friend you’ll chime in involuntarily
“How many beers for your number…” you will pause and add “… your friends too.”
“We’re not really into beer.” She will say as she turns to her fiend and involves her in the conversation “Ama anne wewe hupenda beer?”
“Kind of, but ni kind of boring.” She will say
You wonder how beer is boring. You want to ask how beer is boring. Did she have a conversation with beer? How did it go? What did they say to each other? Does beer have an accent? Is it shy? What does it do other than sit in a bottle and go down people’s throats? Does it have any dreams? Does it ever want to be an aged whiskey? Does it hate wine too? You think against it and walk away after saying bye. She gives you one more look. She’s begging you without begging you to buy a six pack.
You walk to the aisle on the far end and go straight to the vodka selection pick out a liter of your favorite walk back to the fridge opposite where the ladies are standing and pick a six pack of a different beer. You can feel their eyes tear into your back. You want to tell them it’s not you it’s me. But it is them, why is their beer so damn expensive so you ignore the stares and walk to the counter pay for your drinks and leave.
They pack your alcohol and put it in a clear bag. Everyone can see exactly what you bought. You’re not ashamed of buying alcohol you’re embarrassed if you ever have to buy cheap alcohol. People will look at you and remember you as the guy that buys blue sun. Even your guy, the one at the entrance won’t nod anymore. He will look at you with disgust for dishonoring your agreement. Your girlfriend the one you don’t have that doesn’t know you drink a lot will also leave you. She can handle a drinking problem but it just can’t be cheap alcohol. You have to drink something that she can instagram. You cannot instagram blue sun, not unless you’re running NACADA’s page and are sensitizing the public on effects of illicit (read cheap) brew.