Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Be My Neighbour

I am not one who places adverts in the newspapers and in fact once in a while I have admonished people who have done so. But this week, I am close to doing so after my life turned into a mini-nightmare with the advent of a new neighbour.

First the good book tells us to love our neighbours. It would help if we knew what love really means! I don’t know about love; that is why I blog so much about it. It is also why so many musicians sing about it. In fact, Foreigner even went ahead and sang that craving we all have: I Want To Know What Love Is.

‘Love Is All Around’ replied Wet Wet Wet but they were wrong, wrong, wrong on account of my neighbours.

Even people in love don’t know what love is.

Many a time, when we have fallen ‘in love’ with someone we have tended to imagine that this is the best love we could ever feel. Thus statements like: No one, no one will ever make me feel like this. Then the “love” ends, and then someone else makes you feel like that again! Older geezers will tell you that therein lies the mystery of the definition of love.

So, hitherto I have said that no one would ever read KTN Prime News better than Kasavuli. Or that no woman would ever sing better than Whitney. Or no one would ever play football better than my Dad. Yet, years later there is now Lilian Muli, there is Britney and there is a Gerrard. What is even more, their names rhyme with Kasavuli, Whitney and Dad!

Before my tribulations began, I had this neighbour who had dashing looks and a body to kill for. Each morning, she would don some skimpy exercise suit and I would sip my breakfast as I watched her through the window going through her exercise routine. Whoever sang about ‘sometimes dancing can make you fall in love’, had clearly not seen my neighbour exercise.

She would then jog around the estate. She would look so perfect. And when you see someone from afar, that person is always so great. They seem so perfect since you don’t know them and thus you do not know their faults.

Once in a while, whilst I would be taking a shower, I would open the window and to my consternation, I would find the neighbor also taking a shower with her window open. Only when my water run dry, or when she wrapped her beautiful body in a towel would my shower end, whichever came first.

From that window view, all I saw was a fine, sweet, shapely, sensual, sexy body that seemed to inwardly shout: Make love to thy neighbour.

This seemingly blissful co-existence came to an abrupt halt when some chain smoking guy started appearing at her doorstep each Friday carrying a bag. I always assumed it was a lap top he had in there.

His presence in our court was just as reassuring as a grave digger paying a visit to the Old People’s Home.

Soon, I couldn’t sleep a wink due to some passionate noises emanating from my cute neighbour’s house. The sound she produced when they were fooling around could only be called a neigh. So finally I figured out the real meaning of the word ‘neighbour’!

I also figured out that the bag the dude carried was a Fornication Bag as he would not leave until Monday mornings. But oh what those moanings during the entire weekend did to my ears. Credit to this mystery man for turning my neighbor from a hot woman to a woman on heat!

Sometimes I wondered whether they did the ‘nice times’ next to an amplifier!

I bumped into mystery man one Monday morning as he left her house. He nodded his head at me as if to subtlety let me know he is really hitting that! I figured he would soon be texting her some short message to the effect: It was a joy just being the object of your loud screams.

It turns out the screams, nay, neighs, had been heard from as far as Lodwar as during the next neighbourhood meeting, the woman who lives in the next-next house said this noises had to be stopped. Without batting an eyelid, the hot-on-heat neighbor replied: Prease! Give me a bleak! You don’t hear me comprain about your brack cat –which is the rargest cat I have seen – miauwing the whole night. You radies just don’t rike me!

Fault number two. Her accent. I think she just killed it for me. There was an uproar and a few days later, she terminated her tenancy and moved houses.

I was hoping that I got an eye candy of a neighbour as a replacement. One who wouldn’t hang her teddy bear near my clothesline as the recent one used to do.

So when I opened the Nairobi Star and read about a man who had killed his wife, I mentioned it to the Chairman of our Estate that neighbours killing wives are not the neighbours you want to have around you.

The Chairman was amused. “What do you mean, man? The guy killed his wife; not his neighbour!”

I have never figured out how this heartless man whom I am told is a Doctor became our Chairman. During one meeting, some neighbour suggested that we place signs at our gates saying: ‘Slow Down! Children at Play!’ He simply retorted, ‘Why do you not let the brats play in the compound’

I wanted to blurt out a ‘Very well put Dr. Bullshit’ but, to my credit, I suppressed it.

He is also some form of tribal chauvinist. He went ahead and placed on our main gate, some sign whose meaning I am still yet to decipher!

The Movers turned into the Estate and with them brought the new tenant. I held my breath. I had to witness this because ‘so I am told’ is a dangerous source of news.

Out stepped a Plus Size Woman with a frown. Her elbow could take all of two rolls of tape measure. She slowly turned her gigantic head and gave each house a glance. I immediately rushed upstairs and shut the bathroom window, permanently, I believe!

I switched on my TV and gladly absorbed the vuvuzela noises from the Confederations Cup.

What a huge woman that was! I wouldn’t complain if she was a neigh-bour too. I wouldn’t cross the paths of any of her daughters, if she was capable of producing any.

My TV watching was interrupted when the door bell rang.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and opened the door only to be confronted by Plus Size Woman with a panga in her hands!

‘Hi,’ I cowered as she analyzed me from head to toe. ‘What can I do for you?’ I asked whilst silently praying that my breakfast would not take leave of my tummy.

‘Is it OK if I cut off some branches on that loquat tree?’, she asked as she pointed the panga at the tree.

She was swinging the panga rather dangerously. She had just moved in and the first thing she is thinking about is chopping off some branches from the only fruity tree I have encountered in recent years?

‘No’, I replied.

‘It is not OK?!’ she thundered with what must have been a trademark frown.

‘No’, I protested, ‘I meant I do not mind! It is OK!’

If you ask me, especially if you ask me without waving a panga in your hands, it is not OK! But at that moment, I was remembering that the previous week, my Medical Insurance had expired and the only medical cover I had at the time was Jesus.

‘Good!’ she said and moved her body mass out of range. 'That was a close shave Our Kid', I said to myself.

I miss my old neighbour! Even if she would have said this was the rargest woman she had ever seen! Even if she squeaked like a chew-toy! Even if her mystery man’s car-alarm used to go off at 3am in the middle of my sleep.

Seriously though, there’s a telly soap that has been running for years known as Neighbours. In it we are told, ‘Everybody needs good neighbours…’ I think the key word there is good. Not hot. Not on heat. And certainly not Panga Wielding but cake baking ones.

Next time, just let people apply for the position of neighbour.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yes Oui Can

It was a looooooooooong weekend that necessitated some form of travel, especially with Nairobi not making any effort to retain its tag as the City in the Sun. I had rushed into plans to get away from Nairobi when work came a-calling and I had to slam the brakes on travel that Friday evening. Bah.

That left a Saturday morning that was going to be as easy as Sunday morning. But If I thought that meant I would have a peaceful time, it was only further proof that I was truly not blessed with the gift of clairvoyance. Because the words every man dreads to hear within a range of thirty metres ranges from the myriad of ‘I am pregnant’ to ‘We need to talk’ to ‘Let’s go to a wedding.’

Monica, the model who goes by the moniker Monique claiming she is a unique Monica, has somehow managed to make me look quite like the modelizer. She barged into the bedroom at the same instant that I opened my eye lids for the first time since I went to bed. I never even gave her the key to the house, she just cut herself one!

‘Hey you!’ she purred.

Oh boy. I am not a 'conditioned to love' guy. I am not a morning person. I am not used to this invasion that has taken great proportions. She threw out all my coat hangers saying those things lead to creased trousers! She bought a pair of scissors for my kitchen so I could stop ripping milk packets with fingers (a man has got to exercise!). She fixed some mosquito net with a zip on all the beds in the house! She even replaced my WELCOME mat with some mat that has a hidden weighing scale. I haven’t seen anyone so obsessed with her weight. Her e-mail address has her weight at the end of her name so each day she writes to me using the address that has her weight for that day. Talk about weighting to exhale!

‘Hey Stranger,’ I said.

‘Guess what? I made you some breakfast...,’ she started and broke into one of those Julia Roberts’ smiles. You know the one of wide smiles that you can’t get mad at. That is how I let that ‘key issue’ go without any challenge.

Speaking of Julia Roberts, a good gal pal of mine Julia Mwangi recently got married to a dude called Robert Mwangi and was not happy that her name changed from Miss Julia Mwangi to Mrs. Julia Mwangi.

So she opted to call herself... wait for it… Julia Robert.

On account of recent rains, she left her umbrella in my office. A work colleague saw it and with an intention to use it asked me: Whose umbrella is this?

“Julia Robert’s”, I replied.

My colleagues may feel that I have been canoodling too much with celebrities that it is getting into my head!

‘Breakfast.. you say?’

‘You’ll lov it!’ Monique replies and without any bother in the world kisses me smack on the lips. I like this girl. Not just because she looks hot but there is something about her. She tries to be different. She tells me she doesn’t care if I cheat on her because according to her faithfulness isn’t the strongest point of a relationship. Yes, she actually said that! But can she avoid the ‘knifeinthebackability’ of most women? And she really hates football! Which quality I also like because I steer clear of women who know the ‘offside rule’. A man needs once in while to talk about something a woman doesn’t understand!

‘Hmmmmmm,’ I mutter jumping out of bed and following her. When walking behind her, the girl is like a walking advert for the adjectives ‘rhythm’ and ‘lustrous’.

As we settle down, she smiles at me. She must want something. This time, my instinct is right.

‘By the way,’ she starts in a not very by-the-way sort of speech, ‘I need you to check for me if I can have the Cuchini clause inserted in my contract!’

‘The coochie what?!?’ I almost choke on the bacon.

‘The Cuchini,’ she says. ‘You know that thingy that you put in bikinis to avoid those cameltoes. Am doing a beach shoot next week!’

Why would anybody invent something like that? If there is any justice in the world, and if that justice had a good pair of eyes, the inventor should be locked up. Or made target practice for Cholmondoley. I mean, from now on, no buying those magazines again. For the love of Our Kid, can somebody correct this terrible wrong! Grrrrrrrr!

‘Can we go to a wedding?’ she suddenly asks.

Now, I may like our cousin Obama like the next guy, but I haven’t gotten to level of replying ‘Yes We Can’ when such questions are posted my way.

‘This afternoon?’ I repeat as my mind goes over the FA Cup Final scheduled for that afternoon. ‘Am not feeling too good’.

She looks at me and touches my beard.

‘Poor Kid,’ she offers. ‘I tell you what, am going to take great care of you today!’

And take good care of me she did. She said she was going to bake me a cake. Sweet dreams are made of this… and who are you to disagree? She got me the newspapers and I read about our Sports Minister proposing that the national heritage be renamed Conya Yola Stadium or something like that! I read about the Ugandan President saying Migingo Islands should be declared no-mans land. Knowing our politicians, I hope they haven’t accused Norman Nyaga of working in cahoots with Museveni.

Things seem to be going relatively well. That is until former Man U boy Louis Saha scored after 25 seconds and I screamed loudly.

‘What is wrong?’ the concerned sweet-sounding voice from the sweet-smelling kitchen asked.

‘Wrong?’ I say. ‘Nothing. Everton scored a goal’.

‘Wait a minute!’ she said. ‘This is why you didn’t want to go to the wedding? I cannot believe this. You chose football and let me miss the wedding thinking I was taking care of an invalid?’

I said I was ill. Not had cancer!

Doors were slammed and heels were seen. When I went to the kitchen, that cake was just like an 8-4-4 graduate. Half baked.

Women! At least she should have waited until the cake was fully served! Surely she should consider introducing her sense of humour at some stage in this relationship. Why else would she postal just because I wanted us to spend quality time together (granted that this was in separate rooms, her in the kitchen and I on the couch with crisps, chocolate and beer). Maybe she stormed out under the influence of Alvaro.

I finish the match and throw on some clad and go looking for her at the wedding reception. How come all the weddings I know about are on Saturdays when there is usually a football match? Dayum.

I looked around the reception ground and she was nowhere to be seen. Well, if you wait, good things come your way and that is exactly what happened when some girl else said ‘Hi’. I turned to look at her, wine glass in her hand!

‘Hi,’ I said. ‘Friend of the bride or the groom?’ I also asked.

She chuckled. ‘Neither,’ she replied ‘I am just here for the wine! I love French wine. This…’ her fingers tapped the glass, ‘…is the finest!’

There is something titillating about looking at a woman’s lips as she puts them on a spherical object. She took another sip from the glass.

‘Pardon my French, senorita,’ I found myself stating, ‘but you are ffffffffff… fine!’

‘That’s not French!’ she laughed.

‘How would you know?’

‘I teach French,’ she said.

Just the mention of this set my blood running at a quicker pace. I don’t know if it was the wine talking, but she could really keep up with the words. I was a bit angry with Monique and didn’t mind listening to this French teacher go on and on and on. She talked about her former boyfriend.

‘He literally broke my heart!’ she said. Lordy! Literally? Thank heavens she doesn’t teach English. She grammatically breaks my heart!

But those lips.

‘Could you teach me anything French?’ I asked her.

‘Like what?’ she asked.

‘Like French kissing,’ I said. What? I hadn’t done sweet FA all day long! So do not begrudge me.

‘I have a better idea,’ she said. ‘Are you familiar with the term Sleeping Dictionary?’ she asked.

I shook my head.

‘You know. The best place to learn a language is in bed. Don’t you know that is how those colonialists learnt local languages! So we can go to your place or my place and I will teach you some French kissing and teach you all the French words for our body parts – with practical examples.’

I hate love weddings! And I wouldn’t mind if she literally broke any of my body parts!

So she went to the Ladies before we could leave and it was at that moment that Monique walked into the Reception Room.

I love hate weddings! She had already seen me and was flashing that Julia Roberts’ smile as she approached me. Moments like this call for either a Damn Quick Exit or a meteorite to hit Nairobi.

The French teacher tapped me on the shoulder, ‘We can go now handsome!’

Let me just say I didn’t learn any French that evening. Monique is still upset with me. This small misunderstanding is really getting on my nerves. First she says ‘cheating’ is fine. Then she says I ‘cheated’ when in actual sense ‘I had the thoughts’ but not ‘the action’. Those are the two ingredients of cheating. Not her cloying definition. I think we should just make a dictionary of words and their meanings depending on who does something. We can call it the Dictionary of the Hypocrisy of Women.

What a loooooooooooooong weekend it turned out to be!