1,000 follower.

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Even though we trash Facebook, even though we call it the whorehouse of vanity, we refuse to leave it. We stay in there because inherently we are nosy; inherently we want to a part of other people’s lives. We sit in there because we imagine that our pictures – taken from shaky camera phones – will define the food chain in which we belong. That our five albums – and some odd 215 pictures – will make a significant statement about our perky lives. We dig in our oars because all those guys who press our like buttons make us feel better about ourselves. We seek virtual security. We court admiration. We seduce approval. But even more poignantly, we refuse to leave because we are terrified of being alone. We fear to go back to our lackluster lives where nobody knew when we took a road trip, rode a horse, ate sushi in a well-heeled restaurant, got into a relationship, left a relationship, baked a cake, went for a wedding, had a baby, had a birthday party, had a baby at a birthday party… Facebook makes me sick, but I won’t leave it. Facebook is like being in love with the wrong woman; you don’t want to stay but you can’t leave. I’m imprisoned by Facebook. I trawl it once in a while, poking my head around people’s pictures and quite recently meeting these other guys called Biko – scores of other guys called Biko – and asking them to be the bigger men and use different names. They often show me the middle finger. Such gentlemen. Enter stage left; Twitter. There is a silent condescending sense of loftiness with twitter. Twitter is like that mysterious neighbor who doesn’t mix with other people. The one who lives alone and drives a black 350. The one who everybody is convinced is a drug peddler. In twitter talk is cheap. You have 140 characters to say something sensible. Now, that’s pressure. You don’t own a photo album in twitter because twitter doesn’t give a hoot about which club you and your friends roll. In twitter you have followers, even though they can’t fetch your coffee. Twitter has no time to remind everybody else about your birthday because twitter is busy editing your updates. Facebookers must frown at these stiff rules. They must ask themselves, “So where is the fun if I can’t get poked?” Well, the fun is in the words. Witticism lives in twitter. Great witticism. There are folks who always can seem to say the mundane things in the most interesting of ways. True wordsmiths. Men and women with that knack to write pithy and witty interesting sentences. But just like Facebook twitter also harbors the vain, the souls who just have to rub their lives in your faces: Sipping lemonade on my balcony, in my new sundress, a designer gift from @Gishswit. Cc @fridablack @joanfree @hiltonhotel Or, Best surprise birthday party at Ole Sereni, thanks guys! Twitter is the Australia of social media, inhabited by castaways from the UK, which in this case is Facebook. But nothing is ever what it seems in social media. Nothing. Everything is made of clay. Nobody is who they say they are. Hell, even most interesting people on twitter never really sound that way in person. Twitter is the online hijab. For a while I was curious to know who my 1,000th follower would be. Would they be balding prematurely? Would they be an accountant or a poet? Would they have a nice rider on their bio or some cheesy line? Would they be male, female or would they be confused of their sexuality? Would they have a blog and would it be another blog about poetry or a narrative about their failed relationship? When I reached my 900th follower I made a decision to write something about my 1000th follower. I would send them a DM with a pitch. I would ask them if they were interested in meeting up. I would suggest something random on a lose Saturday. We would meet for lunch or better still for drinks. I would then bang 1,500 words about the meeting. It seemed like good fun. I waited. My 1,000th follower turned out to be one @dans_onPoint. I reached out and he said he was game, only problem was he was from coast-o, so that ship couldn’t sail. So I decided to move up – past the dull egg pictured handles – and pick someone based on their bios. So I picked on one @claudeD’souza. His bio read “Remember the guy your mom warned you about? Yup, that’s my twin brother. I’m the normal one. He had 34 followers and follows 55 people. Well, that bio – although not the best I have read so far – got me. A few DMs later we agreed we’d meet on Saturday for drinks, my treat. We meet at the entrance of Tamasha, Hurlinghum, shortly after 7p.m. From his picture and from his voice, I expected to meet a restless chap wearing purple shoes. He’s around 5’9’’. He’s clean shaven. He’s light complexioned (he’s half Goan, half Kikuyu). He has a well pruned moustache. He wears stylish stripped blue shirt and jeans. He sports a fashionable stubble, the one movie stars sport to late night shows to promote their movies. A small black bag is slung across his back. He’s 24yrs old and he’s just from auditioning for the movie, Shuga. He wasn’t picked. But this doesn’t seem to perturb him; at 24 you will miss a lot of things and wing quite a few. “You don’t look like your writing.” He tells me as we shake hands. “If it’s any consolation, you don’t look like your tweets either,” I tell him. “How do I sound?” he asks. “Short.” We laugh. EABL is re-launching Richot as a five-year matured brandy, or something. I have an invite. As I sign on the guest book at the entrance a PR person asks who he is. “My intern,” I say, to which Claude chuckles. We sit to the left of this large stage in the backyard. There are fires lit to keep the patrons warm. Smoke follows us. I order a whiskey, on the rocks. Always on the rocks. He orders a Guinness; he doesn’t mix it with coke as I see most people do. “We came here to drink, no?” he says with a wry smile as an explanation. He works in Karen, as an online content manager at a video game programming company. He is a graduate of Strathmore, Business IT. He lives in Langata, the “bachelor land” as he calls it. He grew up in Nakuru, Mombasa and Kitale before moving to Nairobi at 11yrs. He refers himself as “a simple country boy from Nakuru,” but he says this with his tongue in cheek, as if he is daring me to believe him. I almost do. We toast to a great evening. He says he doesn’t know what I will write about him because his life is pretty “normal”, which exactly what most people say before you interview them. An unnecessary universal disclaimer. Atemi – in a black dress – takes to the well designed, and smartly lit, stage. Her voice is like falling feather. From my seat – some 12 meters away – I see a tattoo on the inside of her right leg – just above her ankle – and I wonder what it is. Does anybody know what that tattoo is? At some point, a chick from a PR firm (the guys who put the EABL shindig together) comes over to our table. She is someone I know. She asks us to move to the VIP tent, across the yard; a fancy cordoned off area with swanky white sofas. Claude reaches for our drinks but I hold him back. We will sit here, I tell her. He looks a bit disappointed. “Did you watch the movie Titanic?” I ask him, “Where was the most fun; under the deck with the manual laborers or up in the ballroom with the stiff tuxedo-clad crowd?” “Under the deck,” he says. “Precisely, VIP areas are overrated, avoid them if you can. They are full of stiffies. Plus, they expose you…you attract unnecessary attention when you sit in a VIP area, attention you don’t need.” The PR chick looks slightly bemused, but says OK and walks away. Claude stares at her ass. “Seriously, she has to come back. She just has to come back,” he mumbles. At that point, I make a decision that I like him. Claude broke up with his girlfriend of 4yrs in March. He’s, “painfully single” as he puts it. They broke up because some cat with more money came around, and inevitably, she turned around. “Gold digger, eh?” I say to which he quickly and firmly contests, “No, she isn’t. She is a good person. It’s just that I stopped doing things I used to do, I stopped smsing her as often, stopped calling her…It was my fault she left really.” I admired that, him coming to her defense when I called her a gold-digger. It’s called honor, but even more importantly it’s called respect. You will learn stuff from a 24yr old. We talk about general stuff. Although he is 24yrs he talks maturely for his age. He drinks with restraint. He’s calm. He is calmer than most 30yr olds I know. But he worries me the way he wears his emotions on his sleeve, his need to find love. I can smell it off him. I can tell he is a romantic and that he looks like life through this rosy tint. He will get hurt, this kid, I tell myself. He will get hurt if he doesn’t keep his emotions under his hat. When I ask him where he will be in 5yrs and he says, “Deep in diapers and nappy rash.” Not many 24yr olds are thinking about babies at that age. What is your greatest fear, I ask him. “Losing my father before he sees what I’ve made of my life,” comes the reply. Those words – like a plume of smoke – hang in the air between us for a while and I remember debating whether I should pursue it further but I decide against it. Sometimes the most important things are not expounded on. At some point in the evening, he will ask to see pictures of my little girl; I will show him from my phone. He will say she is cute and I will nod like a moron, like all moron fathers and say, yes, she is thanks. When Atemi signs off, and there is clapping all around. Claude then says something interesting, he says, “Her voice has an ass.” I swear that’s what he says, and I laugh hard at that imagery. Brilliant sound bite! The MC for the night, Angela Angwenyi, weaves through tables, mic in hand, waxing lyric, working up the crowd, giving out free bottles of Richot. She heads for our table, I hold my breath. Nothing like avoiding the VIP to avoid attention and having the mic brought to your face. She stops at our table and asks me whether I’m single, I tell her I’m not, but my friend here is very single. She thrusts the mic in his face and asks him a few questions about the most embarrassing moment of his life. This earns him a 750ml bottle of Richot. At 10:00p.m I’m already tipsy, but he isn’t. In fact at 10:00p.m I’m the 24yr old and he is the one over 30yrs. He hasn’t lost his composure. He hasn’t said or done anything that would give away his age. Even though we have 750ml and two 250ml complementary bottles of Richot before us, he hasn’t bothered to switch from his Guinness. He is not excitable by booze. He doesn’t drink to get drunk. The PR girl comes back to our table and, instinctively, he sits up! She is from Seychelles, I tell Claude, and he says something about his grandfather coming from Seychelles (“I swear I felt the islands move,” he later told me) they run with it. Claude gets into his element, he chats her up. She is gracious and charming and he is taken. He offers her a drink but she can’t drink because she is working. They match wits, she wins some, he wins some. She giggles a few

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times. He giggles a few times. She wanders away. “How do you think I’m doing?” he asks rhetorically with a crooked smile, and I say, “Look her in the eye more,” (What can I say, I’m great this useless advice when I’m drinking) Kidum comes up on stage. He has added weight. His Bodaboda band is missing one chick, Brenda, I believe was her name. I liked her. Kidum, even with the bad press and his bloated ego, is still a force. This time round, he doesn’t sit on the drums like he normally does; he steps to the mic and sings. And Kidum sings from somewhere deep, somewhere where love was once born. He sings with his eyes closed and when he opens them, we close ours. And even though he dances like Moto Moto, the hippo in Madagascar 2, you find yourself forgiving him. Mapenzi ya fujo haifai…dum tum… At 10:45p.m, I tell Claude I have to call home to say I will be late. He smirks, like he wants to say something smart. So I tell him what I tell people like him. “This call will last for 45secs, it will answer the questions, who, where, what, when, and I will spend less than a shilling on it. That’s the price you pay for a peace of mind. One day you will thank me for this advice,” He laughs. At 24yrs you see the invincibility in a man, but how can you not when he has more options? How can you not when he has this largely blank page to fill? Whereas most 24yr old would seem to be living for the moment, Claude’s looks like he’s in the queue for something. Like he’s waiting. He looks like he is preserving himself. He seems too proper, too secure, and I’m not sure that fits in the overall 24yr old jig saw puzzle. How do you see this piece reading like? I asked him at some point and he shrugged, not the shrug of “I don’t know” but more like, “I don’t really care much,” which in essence says that what I think of him will not change what he thinks of himself. Did I like him? Yes, I did. I mean it’s not every day I meet someone who tells me Atemi’s voice “has an ass.” That quote shored the evening. At some point, we will climb off our stools and nip in and out of Sailors across the street with the Seychellois, who recently told me, “Claude is such a great guy; I can’t believe you could be friends with someone with a heart.” I took that as a compliment. At some point, I drop him off in town, we say our thank you’s before he crosses the street and gets swallowed into the drunken night of Nairobi. Half hour later he smses to say he is safe in “bachelor land.” Claude, the guy who saw the ass in Atemi’s voice. Atta boy.

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84 Comments
  1. The age thing. Having always been the younger one at school, at work, and in most social circles…I badly wanted people to look beyond the numbers. I had goals, mostly career ones and most I achieved by mid twenties. A few years later, in my late 20s I find myself close to a 24 year old. And I discovered that somewhere down the line, I have become one of those people who say ‘you are 24, you wouldn’t understand’. I had forgotten how much at 24, I wanted to be looked upon as an adult, capable of owning and running a company. Something in me has shifted, something I know better because I’m older. Such bull crap. Claude sounds awesome. Tell him he is going places. Hail all mature, incredibly intelligent, 24 year olds out there.

  2. Ola.
    This post has an ass!
    I’m still trying to figure out guys who say they aren’t into facebook(i dnt hve time 4 such thngs,they say)yet they copy paste stuff 2 put on their wall+they 200 plus friends
    facebuk has boobs & twitter has an ass which i’m yet 2 touch.cheers man

  3. “Seriously, she has to come back. She just has to come back,” “Her voice has an ass.”.This one is the ultimate punchline.You nailed it buddy after a miserable week this is well worth it.

  4. I’m curious Biko, what if your 1,000 follower was a hot mama with some Toni ass. What would you have done boss, brought her a drink and wrote nice things about her like you have Claude? 🙂 I so hope your 2,000 follower is a chic hehhehe…yes, I love you that much (no homo)

  5. I like the chap, may even follow him 😉 .. ‘kidum dances like moto moto’ lol! my day is made, always a brighter monday after reading your post!

  6. I swear i met claude that night after you dropped him off…when he said he was safe at bachelor land he knew what he was talking about, yah i kept him REALY safe lol…;-). You did it again Biko nice piece

  7. The 2000th follower has to be a hot Mamacita and you’ll have to take her out and write about her too. Gender balance…and oh yes, i can hardly wait to read how the 45secs phone call will be at that time. Nice post.

  8. “This call will last for 45secs, it will answer the questions, who, where, what, when, and I will spend less than a shilling on it. That’s the price you pay for a peace of mind. One day you will thank me for this advice,” 🙂

  9. Claude’s a precocious adult. Twenty-four and having it all figured out? Reminds me of a Switchfoot track called 24. Sounds nothing like most dudes i know who are in their 20s. Nor me. At that age we’re either part of a stone-throwing higher-education-pursuing culture, or too ignorant to care. When i grow up? I want to live in Langata! Maybe some of that will rub off on me. Too bad I’m already twenty-four.

  10. This is the comment that got me.

    “This call will last for 45secs, it will answer the questions, who, where, what, when, and I will spend less than a shilling on it. That’s the price you pay for a peace of mind. One day you will thank me for this advice,”

    Sometimes there really is no need playing macho with your longterm…Its not worth the trouble.

    Talking of which, we still have the plot of a Gor game together pending from last season. I wouldnt mind going for the next Guiness/ EBL product shows too. I wanna have a crack at that Seychellois PR lady too since our dude, Claude, seems to have enough groupies here. Sio kwa ubaya…lakini Success is when Opportunity meets Cunningness.
    …and please dont write about me.

    1. Jahazi, good to have you here, didn’t know a man of your statue has the time to read blogs. Let me know about that Gor game. As for Claude, give him a window to table his case, I think two weeks should be sufficient after which it’s open season.

      1. Hahahahahha..lets make it month. Claude, tia bidii. Biko..yours is more than a blog..I want to spare time one of these days and read all past stories I had missed out. I def will alert you on the next Gor game I attend. Cheers mate and keep on doing what you do best.

  11. Hehehheeheh @karimi….Lang’ata is just another ‘burb. See nothin that special in the hood..but if you badly wanna live there..my crib is open for weekend boarders.

  12. Claude is one unique 24yr old.most of them only think of the present,of conquering girls and of who downs the most bottles of beers,while claude sees himself in the future.to copy paste you biko,atta boy!

  13. I’ve just finished reading this and I’m sitting back staring at the screen in awe…

    Maybe, Claude is not meant to fit into the 24 yr-old jigsaw puzzle…or any other puzzle or mold for that matter. He knows this and understands that it is what gives him an edge…makes him special…

    1. I was struggling to stay awake reading a newspaper on-line and I thought..Wait!High School…thank goodness 🙂 This post is Not boring, unless that word has a new meaning 🙂

  14. Nice one Biko…I like the way you took the post from social media to the ‘inspiration character’ that is Claude….

    Speaking of Facebook, I recently wrote about about public display of affection…or ‘disaffection’ for that matter and to be honest, it can leave a lot to be desired but as you say, most can’t do without fb, twitter, etc….I like blogs best 🙂

  15. nice read….u got me at Kidum dancing like MOTOMOTO…..HA HA HA…..and now i might just join twirra to cyber stalk this Claude guy!!….(

      1. so relative a response…i think otherwise…u didnt know about the writting then did you? did u knw where ur foot was gonna land lest u took the step. i have a feeling free isnt free spirit more like free-not engaged…i could be wrong..or right but claude got ur attention. you wanted to be him. maybe we all do.

  16. my head is too full of wine right now, yet im still awed, n since wine does not inspire great literal jargon, the only thing I have to say is that,. come my 1000th follower, its game on

    1. how i dont believe that…loves birth? im in love…but dnt believe much in it because it complicates things…or i just feel the need to say something absurd and full of controversy as i wait at an office for service.

  17. Do you have a photo of Claude somewhere? 🙂

    Being close to Claude’s age, this post has got me thinking deep thoughts about life and such.

    Had to laugh at that Kidum dancing like Moto Moto reference!

  18. This is good writing. You have created a myth out of a living mortal. I hope he can handle the avalanche of attention that will come his way, that is if he decides to capitalize on your post

  19. Bikozulu as in you can pick on anyone, write about them and make them an instant hit like that! Im sure this Claude guy is not as good as you make him sound but it’s very impressive the power you wield in this blog,waa! I hope you start making money here because you have the power to sway…

  20. brilliant stuff
    the way the girls are talking there could be a #teamclaude on twitter sometime

    still waiting for the RSS feeds to be sorted on this site, miss getting it on my reader

  21. Biko, I’m glad you finally got the site issues fixed. Hope it didn’t seem like I was bugging every time I tweeted you about it being down. Nadwara dwara somo gi ma mit. 🙂

    Btw, Tamms is the same age as nyathiwa matin. The things they get into will keep you vigilant for a while. I hope ni the Ian issue’s resolved.

    Good post. Claude’s definitely going to get his heart mended after this post.

  22. Biko, this site just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe I’m obsessive compulsive but I don’t like the following:
    1. I still can’t see your daughter’s picture. This is important for some reason.
    2. I can’t add you to my reader. I read blogs on the move, which means I miss posts. And Biko you’re a great writer, I can’t read two of your posts in one day.
    3. The fact that each page just has one post. Would be better to have teasers to at least 5 posts on the home page.
    4. The fact that I read the whole post, only to realise I had to scroll all the way up, and click on it to read comments.

    Forgive me if this sounds too demanding, but these are simple things your designer can work on to make this wonderful site even more so.

    Now, about Claude. I just read something I wrote when I was 26, and I was a breath of fresh air then! He sounds like a nice chap, here’s hoping he doesn’t get his heart broken.

  23. Biko u forget to mention that Claude is a pretty boy! just for the sake of all the curious mamas here.
    hehehehe. Nice post. i loved it.

  24. Biko,
    Thanks to SavvyKenya we already know how Claude looks like.I would like for the sake of curiosity you do a sequel on 1,000 so that claude can tell us the avalanche of women that followed this post.This is the 13th time am reading this.Good stuff.

  25. Your writing is beautiful, it takes me to a happy place every time, but this one came with a bit of Claude in it. Its amazing how you write great things from weird stuff.

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