Between you and me I didn’t feel like posting anything this week. I’m totally devoid of any urge to write. I’m not stimulated enough. Word document make me nauseas. Words feel like glue. Quick sand, that’s what it is. Quick sand. The more you struggle, the deeper you get, so you don’t, you sit still and hope you are saved…by yourself. And so if you find this post to be somewhat rudderless, perhaps even without any structure it’s because I’m trying to seek it just like you. Today I walk away from the thematic and rumble.
I’m writing this from a penthouse suite in some cottage apartments in Watamu; Blue Cove. Its 6.35am, Saturday morning. I’m at the balcony, sitting on a wooden chair and balancing my laptop from my knees. I’m wearing nothing but boxers – and a grave expression if you want to count that. I’m having black tea, warm, no sugar. In the darkness of dawn the only sound is of the ocean slapping against the jagged rocks a hundred meters away. An unrelenting breeze bristles my goatee. It’s almost blissful, almost.
I have written the above intro about five times already, and I’m just about sick of it. I thought coming out here in my underwear and watching the sea beyond would spur a burst of creativity. Nothing doing, I might as well have stuck laundry pegs on my nipples. I’m not having writer’s block. I’m not. Hungry writers don’t have writer’s block. It’s too exorbitant. Too cultivated. In fact I can’t say I have ever had a writer’s block. Only real writers have writers block, authors and them hotshot writers who hire cottages in Zanzibar for 90k a night to write. I’m just tired in the mind and in the body. As the late Bernie Mac says in the Original Kings of Comedy, “My body is weeaary.”
But it’s more than my body. I’ve not been happy the past few days; at least as I’d like to be. I have things on my mind. Weighty things. You’d imagine sitting out here, looking out at the infinite blue (dark at this hour) sea would buoy my spirits, but sometimes the sea will not come through for you when you need it. So you will forgive me if this post turns a bit somber if not random and disjointed, it’s a reflection of my mind at this moment. Pick through it for the things you might find useful and don’t be surprised if you come up sh0rt. I know I have already.
Perhaps I need to mention that I’m reading this book I read ten years ago, The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D Salinger. A twisted-ass and mentally reclusive writer with such scattered thought pattern. It’s an excellent read. First time I read it I was just getting into my twenties a time of great confusion and education. A time when music really mattered. So reading it again is like listening to some old record. Yes, record, what an old beautiful word.
Last evening our hosts here took us out for a drink at this club called Kalahari. The place was sort of tacky but the music was terrific – at least at the beginning. I ordered a shandi. But boy was I feeling so bleeding blue. Not depressed, just blue. Depressed is when you feel your life is over, blue is when you want to watch something that will make you smile, like a real fat Italian hotshot missing his seat and landing on his ass. Blue is an infant depression. It’s a small phase that you have to embrace because it’s a precursor to happiness, the darkest hour before dawn kinda thing.
Kalahari was swarming with Italian types with their small tee shirts and hairy legs. And do you know what Italians in small shirts and hairy legs attract? Hookers. That’s what. The place was teeming with them; they were practically coming in through the window; tacky looking hookers in cheap short dresses that glittered in darkness. Indeed all that glitters is not gold, it’s hookers. Most of them had on these clear heels with toes painted some gaudy colors. They nursed their sodas, getting up to dance in a way that I
suppose Italians found seductive. Most were pathetically skinny, their bones jumping out of their skins. It reminded me of an incidence in Uni. We were in a famous/notorious pub in an entertainment strip called Kabalagala in Uganda; the pub was called Capital Pub. It was known for hookers, hell every club in Kabalagala was known for hookers. Anyway I hated the loos of this pub because they were always full; full of pimp-looking types and sweaty guys washing their armpits in the sink and all. Yes, push away your breakfast. So I would always prefer to go back out, around the pub and take a leak in an alley. Nobody washed their armpits there. So who do I find there this one time? Freddy*. Who was Freddy? Freddy was this snooty goody-two-shoes kinda fella I shared a hostel with, the kind of guy who always acted all self righteous and classy. He made me a bit sick, Freddy. What was good old Freddy doing behind the semi-darkened club? Well, he was with a hooker. No way!
What was good old Freddy doing with a hooker in that alley? I can tell you they were not filling the crossword puzzle. Anyway, in the semi darkness I knew it was Freddy because of one, his height (he was pretty tall bugger) and two he had these terrific white shoes that he only wore to go clubbing, I think they were Sketchers or something, nobody wore shoes any whiter in Uganda and Freddie treated those shoes better than he treated his women. And lastly his voice; he had one of those posh low voices; he was one of those guys who talked like they were talking to a horse they liked. Freddie cooed.
The hooker was sort of bending over, holding the wall with her two hands and good old Freddy was getting his money’s worth from that position. She was cooing something to Freddie, something like, “This is it today.” But when I listened closely I realized that it wasn’t her who was saying that, it was Freddie! And she was repeating his words. “This is it today.” My goodness, of all things to tell a woman, even a hooker? This is it today? What happened to saying something manly if you really have to say anything at all? Something like, “Who is Tarzan gal? Who.is.Tarzan?” or “Say Mufasa. Say it, say Mufasa like you fear him!” Hehehe. Cut!
Look, I dunno, but “This is it today?” Banange ssebo! Hapana! I remember trying not to laugh. I remember staring into the wall before me and hoping I would pee forever. And do you know the amount of marks I took off Freddie for this little faux paus, his white shoes not withstanding? A hat full. And there I was peeing against the wall listening to the “This is it today” orchestra humming to my left and thinking to myself whatever it was today I hoped to hell it was her birthday.
But it was disgusting in many ways, and I’m not being self righteous here, I mean for one the alley stunk of urine. And it was dingy. And the hooker wore one of those cheap short shinny numbers that they get a bang (pun) from, and it was pulled all the way up to her waist and she was holding a small blue purse up in one of her hands pressed against the wall, and she had on very high heels on her legs spread apart like she was being frisked by the popo. The only saving grace in this pathetic tableau was the fact that she had a terrific body. I mean it. She had a knock-out body. If you been to Uganda you would know what I’m talking about. Anyway, being in Kalahari watching them seedy looking hookers, all I could think of was old Freddy and him saying in his snobbish voice, “This is it today.”
I lost interest in my shandi after a while and decided to leave the gang and head back to the cottage to sleep.
Back in the room I tried writing something but I just couldn’t. And as any writer will tell you it’s frustrating not being able to write. It’s like trying to shoot pool with a rope. So anyway, as I sat in my room watching the overhead rotary fan chop through the air, I had an urge to talk to someone who doesn’t know me. Someone who would listen and say something like, it will be okay. So I called Safaricom customer service, I figured if I can’t have a full conversation on my phone without the calling dropping then the least they can tell me is that it will be okay. Or this is it today. Hehehe. (Hey I’m trying to cheer up here, do you mind?)
It was past midnight. Miraculously someone answered. Problem was it was a guy called Ken. I wasn’t about to talk to a man to feel cheerful. So I hang up and tried again, and after ten minutes I went through. This time a chick. I can’t remember her name because they always say their names so damned fast.
She asked me what the problem was and I said I didn’t exactly have a problem related to phone or the network. I told her I was low.
There was silence.
Low? She asked.
Oh, she mumbled obviously taken aback. She asked me again if there was anything else I would like her to help me with.
I need someone to talk to, someone who doesn’t know me.
Er, uhm..uhm…I’m sorry I can’t help you. Sorry.
Can’t or won’t?
I’m not able to because it’s not part of our services here I’m afraid.
What if you are the only one who can save my life? I mean what is a dead subscriber to you?
Uncomfortable silence, which meant she was trying to think. She obviously thought I was mad or drunk or idle. And I sort of felt sorry for her because I was putting her on the spot. I know the calls are recorded and so she couldn’t just hang up on me. Could she?
Look, all I want you to do is to tell me that I will be okay. That’s it.
That you will be okay?
will be okay.
Say it like you mean it.
(Giggle) You will be okay.
You are just saying it so that you can get off the phone and go back to sleep.
(She sort of laughs) No I was working, I wasn’t sleeping.
Yeah right, you Safaricom Care people are always sleeping on the job.
No, but you will be okay.
Yes, I promise.
Thanks. Now go back to sleep.
She laughed and said that glib thing they say, “Thank you for calling Safaricom blah blah…”
I hanged up, brushed my teeth and jumped into bed.
So anyway later in the day I will have a terrific idea to walk the beach and ask people about what recently made them real low or sad or depressed. And in their stories I would find some sort of catharsis. And I would take close up pictures of their somber eyes as they narrated their stories and I would post it here as my blog story for Monday, under some bleedy heart title like “Bleeding at the beach.” Only I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to conduct a sufficient interview in Kiswahili. After one interview with this guy who started talking about how his camel dies recently and how broke he is now, I gave up and started back for the cottage.
On my way back I will see this young guy with a real bloated and elderly white woman having a picnic by the beach. She looked about 58yrs old and he, 24yrs. The woman is rubbing his toned body with what I want to imagine is sunscreen. I will imagine that it’s love, for her not for him. For him I imagine it’s the bottom line. I will wonder what it a man has to give up to be with a woman he doesn’t find desirable…apart from a ticket to Europe, that is. I then realized something, that all those “we sell Viagra here” signs in most pharmacies in this area are not for the randy old Italians but for people like that kid being oiled by that woman.