The older folk, driving around town with their tinted windows rolled up, listening to some jazz or 90s hip hop, sipping on doubles by the finger, referring to ladies as ‘that mama’ and speaking Swahili with an accent; refer to me as a millennial. Probably on their third or fourth jobs, a business on the side, healthy bank account, healthy baby, newly wed and campus girlfriend in tow they have the world at their feet. You’ll find them at an exclusive lounge with an exotic name that would give a Meru teacher nightmares, tailored blazers or jackets, denim jeans, Clarks, and a buttoned down shirt. They are holding a single malt or a martini or a fine yellow something with a toned butt and manicured nails, talking about how Chase bank still owes them for some campaign last month and laughing about it. The only time someone laughs about someone owing them money is if they have a lot of it. Or they want people to think they have a lot of it.
Some might show some jewelry; a shiny silver necklace and for the more daring an earring; mostly a small loop that adds depth to their persona. There’s always a bracelet somewhere. A silver one for the more subtle. A gold one for the flamboyant guy that’s just parked his Range in the basement. And the more conscious one with a “Kenya” beaded bracelet. Majority of them are spotting white gold bands on their fingers. Recently married. Feet still fresh from the sands of a beach somewhere after the honeymoon. Making crude jokes about some mama in marketing at a rival firm whose cleavage could be the Aberdare ranges. Then the hi-fives to the guy that claims to have chapad it at some seminar in Diani. And the ‘hey man don’t let this fikia wifey man’ snuck in between the laughs.
These guys, they hate us millennia. They hate our ambition. They hate our laziness. They hate our drive. They hate our predisposition that the world owes us. They hate that we can tweet. They hate how we dress. They hate how we talk. They hate that we are twenty. They hate that we can finish a bottle of vodka and just for the kicks do shots of rum and wake up the next day with not even a headache and kamata a tusker for breakfast. We are too noisy. We don’t know how to dance. We caused inflation. We are behind global warming. We are why the wifeys aren’t giving them some anymore.
And god forbid should you be in a room full of them. You won’t hear the last of it. A tirade of questions will ambush your millennial self. Why is your music so loud? Why do your musicians don’t make sense? Who the fuck is Young Thug? We had real music what you guys have is rubbish. You hear? Rubbish. What are these things you wear? You should settle down. Get a job. Get a house. Buy a car. Get married. Have kids. Be a man. And you want to ask them just exactly how that is working for them. But you don’t. You kiss ass. Because they are your bridge into the other world. Where money flows like the proverbial milk and honey in Canaan. This guy knows a guy that works with a guy whose cousin is the brother in-law to the guy that can give you a head start.
So you dress like them. No more ripped jeans. No more dress looking t-shirts. Those t-shirts by the way look like something the disciples wore when they went to Gethsemane. You cannot look like a man in those t-shirts. They have slits. Slits! Goddamn slits. You might as well ditch the Jordan’s and opt for a pair of Giuseppe heels. While at it ditch the beer and whisky and order a damn French kiss, sex on the beach or a cosmopolitan. And take up yoga. Yes, yoga is feminine. Ever heard the phrase women don’t break they bend? And let your girlfriend open doors for you. And pay the bills. And take off your draws during sex. Because let’s be honest, in that t-shirt no one can see your pants so she might as well be wearing them.
You develop a taste for Jazz. And South African house. And events that cost two doubles at caramel; with tents and artistes you’ve never heard off. And gents that make comments like “I liked how the vocals adapt with the change of the tenor from the trombone” and ladies that make comments like “that performance was transcendent” and with groups sipping on chardonnay or pinot or some rare merlot from some valley in Napa. And they close their eyes when they take a sip like they can hear the grapes singing a ballad to the winemaker as it goes down their throats. And talk about richness and the redness of the reds. And what the farmer at the vineyard ate for supper the night before the harvest.
Save for the whisky and beer that’s doing rounds. And the occasional drunk campus girl with short shorts, a crop top, and nipples sharper than the American snipers aim twerking to a jazz solo, it’s boring. Bored to death becomes a thing. They’ll find your cold corpse next to a bottle of pinot and the guys at the crime scene will take samples. The government coroner will pore over your body for a few days. Then pen down his result and hand it over to the guy that gives over the reports. I don’t know if they have a title. And they will talk.
“You won’t guess what killed him Bob.”
“Again? What’s happening Frank?”
“I don’t know.”
I met this chap. Old white guy. His skin looks like a wrung out cream wool sweater. Looks rough and patchy. Shaking his hand sometimes feels like petting a chameleon. Smokes like an old Volkswagen beetle. Sounds the same when he coughs. He has a droll in his accent and swallows most of his words un-chewed. He dresses like a rock star from the eighties and the fact that he looks like he lives on cigarettes and cocaine gives him extra cred. From the skin, to his dressing, the cigarettes, drugs, Kenyan sun, Kenyan women, the economy, us millennia and the graying hairs he might be anything between 35 and 82. Can’t really tell. Fun guy all the same. Loves petite women. Can’t stand a big boned woman. Wouldn’t know what to do with all the folds. His words.
We caught a few beers some time back. Actually I was catching a few beers and he happened to walk in. Eccentric hairstyle, vest and skinny jeans paired with red sandals. Those sandals whose straps look like thong strings. He sees me and lights up. Guys at my table know the guy. Everyone knows the guy. Even the guy that washes the bathroom on the third floor knows the guy. You can’t miss him. And everyone lights up exchanging handshakes. Crude jokes. And he asks for a lighter as casually as you’d ask for a glass of water. In the middle of a crude joke. One minute we are talking lady behinds the next he is asking for a lighter.
“Ey’ did you see thurr ladies behyyn. Fire man. Fire. Speakin o’ fire, got a light mate?”
His accent is the love child of a Brit aristocrat and an Australian hooker. Don’t ask.
He is different. He loves the urbane crowd and loves the millennia. Dresses like most of them. Tries to talk like them. Sometimes I think he outdoes them. I mean who else shows up in red thong sandals a vest and skinny jeans? A few beers later and probably a dozen cigs too he tells me one thing that has stayed with me.
“You want to be like them but they want to be like you. Be your fucking self mate.”
Then he bought a few more rounds.
And I guess that’s the whole point of this whole post. Be yourself. And buy rounds. Mostly buy rounds.