You’re walking in town and it’s very cold. Your teeth are chattering against each other they feel like a malfunctioning drill. There’s coffee houses lined up along the street, they look warm. Inside people are in different states of chatter, pensiveness and idling. There’s one guy staring into nothingness with a steaming mug between his hands. His thoughts seem distant and disconnected from his being. He could be thinking about his empty bed at home, or how it got empty and how to get it not empty. Or maybe he is working on a piece of art; a poem, article, song or portrait so he is taking mental notes.
You throw your numb hands into your pocket; it’s so cold you can feel the goosebumps through the flimsy pocket lining. They are hard and rough. You sigh. Then there’s the cold feel of two coins that assault your fingers. Those two coins remind you exactly what time of the month you are in, and just how there’s too much month at the end of your money. Those coins are the reason you’re not in one of the coffee houses hugging a steaming mug of cuppa and making imaginary conversation in your head.
In your absent mindedness you bump into someone and in between mumbled apologies and thinking how gorgeous she is, it strikes you that she looks familiar. Deep down you know you’ve met before. Interacted even and there’s even the off chance you even traded numbers. You see the same look in her eyes, she lights up, first her eyes, then her radiating cheeks then a smile. She flashes it for ten seconds, then says hi. See, if it was one of those normal disinterested “hi” people normally say it would not have bothered you. But hers came with cookies and warm milk. Her hi gave you a warm hug and asked you to stay for dinner; then it insisted when you said you were in a hurry and finally packed chapattis when you insisted you really had to go. She even mentions your name; second name nonetheless; she knows you.
When someone knows you and you can’t seem to recall, there’s only two things you can do; one is to act like you know them and hope that somewhere along the line you actually remember who they are. It’s the safest bet. Two is to admit you don’t remember them, take the brunt of their disappointment, risk losing them as a potential friend and moving on with life. Although, sometimes number two doesn’t go down shit creek. After all honesty is an admirable quality. The one thing you don’t do is call them someone else’s name. Never. But that’s what you do because she looked like a Joan. So you call her Joan, then silence. A long awkward silence as the smile on her face melts away like calories on the treadmill. Her eyes dull and the expression on her face changes; she’s annoyed. Actually annoyed is okay, she’s disgusted. She will walk away without a word; any chance you had of getting to know her better is gone. She won’t even tell you her name; she will be as cold as the weather.
Then there’s the off chance that she lets it go, acts like you did not get her name wrong, that you did not just call her a Joan. Does she even look like a Joan? Seriously? And things will seem okay for a minute until you forget something; it won’t even be important like her kitten’s birthday. It would be trivial; like her favorite colors color. She likes when blue wears pink. And she will bring it up, the day you forgot her name and called her by someone else’s name. And you won’t hear the last of it. Woe unto you if you are dating.
I had quite the heavy Thursday night. A random invite for one drink turned into an all-nighter; so you can imagine Friday found me looking and feeling all shades of lethargy. Between the wee hours and Friday morning was a few hours. Hours punctuated by nausea, headaches and the stark realization that I had to go to work. Oversleeping was not an option, neither was calling in sick. So I had to be a man, acknowledge the error in my ways, and go to work. So come Friday evening, looming fatigue and the broken promise that was meant to be a night I found myself at home; catching up on a movie. Eye in the Sky.
As far as movies go, the trailer to this movie is electric. It feels like the first two months of a relationship, exciting. You see the trailer and for some reason know you just have to watch the movie. And to be honest I’d had it on my USB stick for quite some time. I just never got around to watching it. Or maybe deep down I knew that electric trailers are a set-up for disappointment. Kind of how a marriage is the most difficult thing once the pomp and glamour of the wedding dissipate into thin air like the committee contributions, vows and the smell of good food.
The movie starts and they mention Kenya. You know how it feels? To hear your country being mentioned in a movie? It’s fucking epic. Even though some people might argue that we were mentioned for the wrong reasons, terrorism, it kind of does not matter. The same people make movies around 9/11 and other attacks.
I’m waiting to see what Kenya has to offer after sense 8. I’m expecting to see beautiful scenery, wildlife, a bustling matatu stage, you know? All the stops. But to my disappointment the only thing Kenyan in that movie was the Westgate footage and an airport shot. Which begs the question, if they had the time to get an airport shot, meaning they were in the country, why the hell was the shoot done in South Africa? That was an insult. Showing off South Africa as a suburb in Parklands was like calling us Joan. Telling us we are not good enough. I mean if you love SA that much make the story about South Africa.
Then there’s the little details that they sort of figured out, like for instance they had Kenyan currency. That is not such a bad thing. But still what’s the point? I mean if the rest of the world was easy enough to fool why pay attention to detail then? And if they could do that why not also include Kenyan number plates for the cars as well? I hated the movie the moment I knew the country playing Kenya was an impersonation. I was actually a bit angry. I deleted the movie from my USB stick and stopped watching it. If they were not going to get Kenyan with me, I would get Kenyan with myself.
And that’s how I went out for beer, Kenyan beer.