“Forgive me father, it’s been one week since my last blog.”
“That’s okay son, what seems to be the problem today?”
“I can’t sleep.”
“Shouldn’t you be worrying about writing instead?”
“No. I just need to sleep.”
“It’s the work of the devil. You are forgiven.”
“I don’t seek forgiveness father, I seek sleep!”
That’s my confession even though the puritans amongst you will jump at me and say I’m making a mockery of the church. I’m not. I’m making a mockery of myself. That is my right.
Today I’m going to introduce many thoughts in this blog which are largely connected even if they don’t necessarily make sense. With little ado let’s introduce the amoeba.
I have an amoeba.
Yes, at least that’s what my doctor swears. I suspect half of the doctors we go to see are incompetent. You walk in and tell them your symptoms; they excuse themselves, go to the next room and Google the diagnosis. The doctor I saw was female, it’s hard to start stressing a female doctor with your cynicism because they might start crying. But I did, I mean no one tells you you have amoeba and you let them walk. Being told you have amoeba is embarrassing, it’s like being told you have the clap. It implies you have dirty manners.
Me: Not amoeba doc, I’m sure you are wrong, it must be flatulence or something. Nothing that Eno can’t handle.
Doc: It’s amoeba Mr. Jackson
(Why the freakin’ hell do they call me Jackson!)
Me: Look, it’s Biko and besides I can’t remember the last time I swam.
Doc: You don’t get amoeba from swimming, that’s Bilharzias.
Me: Right now I’d rather I had two of those bilharzias.
Doc: Hehehehe. Amoeba is caused by contaminated water, eating raw veges and fruits.
Me: You know that expression an apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Doc: I know where you are going with this Jackson.
Me: (Deep breath) It’s Biko, and trust me you don’t. I think that was a trick by doctors to have us eat apples, get amoeba and come back to you to be charged with some ridiculous bill.
Doc: That’s ridiculous.
Me: I just used the word ridiculous; you can’t use a word someone just used!
So it went back and forth until she broke down and started crying. Shortly after security was called.
Anyway, I was sent away with a cocktail of drugs to take with many instructions: Two tablets to be taken 30mins before meals (doctors assume we have the luxury of three meals a day, such insensitivity!), one tablet to be taken an hour after meals, thrice a day (again1). One tablet to be taken at full moon. And all of them had one firm instruction (doctor’s payback): Avoid alcohol!
There is a little problem though; the drugs keep me awake at night. I wake up at 3am every night and stare into darkness. I mean every night! It’s frustrating. Perhaps that’s when the amoeba come out with their sunglasses and pinacoladas. But sleep normally catches up with me at 5am that means my mornings are now marked by grumpiness and blood shot eyes. I’m a red eyed amoebic. This is exactly how I saw my May turning into by the way; a root canal followed by amoeba and lack of sleep. I couldn’t have asked for more surely, I would be ungrateful.
But here is where this amoeba story takes a tangent. Walk with me. There are three guys in every man’s life that he can’t do without; His barber, the guy who sells him clothes you won’t find in a shop and his mechanic. These three guys can mess up your life if they got together. Keep them apart, and most importantly keep them happy. One of my close buddies taught me an invaluable lesson; extend your relationship with these three guys past just work. That means every Christmas give ‘em a shopping voucher, or every Easter buy them a bottle of their favourite drink. Try it, it goes such a long way. Here is how long; You broke down in Karatina and you called your mechanic; he would drop everything to come rescue you. So keep it personal; ask about their kids, ask about the health of their wives, call them when they say they are unwell. Act like you give a damn, even if you don’t. Then sit back and watch how they will treat you like royalty. I’ve tried it and it works. I will send you the bill.
I shall talk about my barber today. I shave once a week. I’ve had him for five years now. If one day he lost his eyesight he will still be able to shave me; he has memorized the contours of my head- and they are many. I don’t go to one of them snooty well-heeled barbershop where they charge you 2k to shave your goatee and serve you decaf coffee while you wait for some gay-ass nigga to massage your scalp. Such croak. Ain’t no gay touching my head folks, no sir (or is it ma’am) thank you very much. I go to a normal barbershop, the types where you have a petite light girl with loud make-up wash your hair and scrub your scalp (the best part really)
I like my barber because he is a cool guy. Cool like Jesus. I always wonder why people go to their barbers and read a magazine while they are being shaved. My barber is worth thirty magazines, that guy has a mouth on him. But let’s back up a tad. He’s called Kyalo pronounced Chalo. He comes from those sides of Kitui. He is 33yrs old, has a girlfriend who gives him hell. No kids. He says having kids is like trying to run when someone is holding you by the shirt. Suffice to say Kyalo doesn’t know how to shut up, he is a motor mouth who doesn’t know what boundaries are. He is one of those guys who are not shy at airing their dirty linens in public, I love such guys because they make my life sound tame. They make me feel good. I shave where I shave because Kyalo is not only a pro, he is funny. I mean really funny. Chris Rock funny, and he doesn’t even rehearse or repeat a joke. He could be talking about something as mundane as how he woke up and he will make it so funny and make you feel like your wake up isn’t fancy enough. He is also full of hyperbole. If he wants to illustrate the size of something, he will use the analogy of a mango. Don’t look at me like that, I’m not Kamba.
Unless I’m out of town I will always shave on Wednesday, so if I skip he will always call me and ask what’s going on. On Wednesday he called and I told him I was unwell and that I would pitch up the next day. Yesterday I rocked up and we had the most senseless conversation ever in the history of barbershop conversations.
Kyalo: So what’s wrong?
Me: Nothing much. It’s amoeba.
Kyalo: What’s that?
Me: It’s like… it’s like this… this thing that gets into your stomach when you eat fruits and drink dirty water.
Kyalo: You need to stop eating maperas.
Me: I don’t eat maperas, who eats maperas anyway?
Kyalo: I do.
Me: And you think you can’t get it?
Kyalo: Hell no, that’s a disease for the weak. How does this amoeba look like anyway?
Me: It’s shapeless
Kyalo: Shapeless as in fat?
Me: No, like it has no shape.
Kyalo: That doesn’t make sense, everything has a shape.
Me: Not an amoeba.
Kyalo: (Holding up a shaving machine) So this might be an amoeba for all I care?
Me: No, that’s a shaving machine. But that guy seated back there might be an amoeba.
(The guy seated behind is about 6’4’’ and burly and looks like he could kick my ass. Thankfully he finds this funny and chuckles or rather it sounded like an elephant chuckle.)
Kyalo: But this thing mwiba-
Kyalo: Right, this amoeba, how big is it?
Me: It’s the size of a small
Me: Seriously, it’s microscopic, that means you can’t see it with a naked eye.
Kyalo: You know this amoeba story reminds me of this story about my uncle in the village who planted beans and all that grew is maize.
( Big burly guy seated behind us laughs hard at this. I’m compelled to laugh too because I knew I was going to make fun of him again and I needed him to feel like we were now buddies)
Me: Now how does a story about maize and beans remind you of an amoeba Kyalo?
Kyalo: No it does, because that name amoeba reminds me of maize.
(Big guy starts laughing.)
Kyalo: So this thing gets into your stomach and causes you to diarrhea?
Me: I didn’t say that!
Kyalo: Well, what does it do?
Me: It sits in and reads a book.
Kyalo: No really, let’s talk about this; we can help you beat this thing.
Me: How, by having that big guy seated behind me sit on it?
(Big guy doesn’t laugh, I wait for a pair of scissor to lodge in the back of my neck)
Kyalo: No, how does this thing make you feel?
Me: It makes you sick, like nausea and all.
Kyalo: (with a loud chuckle) You have worms.
Me: No, I don’t!
Kyalo: Yes you do, I had the same feeling once and that’s exactly how I used to feel. Do you have stomach pains?
Me: No I don’t, doctor Phil.
Kyalo: Still, you have worms, [turning to fat Albert seated behind us] doesn’t he Mato?
(Mato nods because I hurt his feelings a while back there)
Me: I don’t have worms.
Kyalo: Those doctors lied to you. Doctors never know what is wrong with you, they guess.
Me: I hate to agree with you but you might be right.
Kyalo: I have this dawa from ocha you can take and you will be as good as new.
Me: No thanks, leave me and my amoeba alone.
Kyalo: You and your worms you mean.
Me: Why don’t we talk about something else? Say Mato, have you ever had an amoeba before?
Mato: No but I know this guy who had worms and got his neck broken for being a smart mouth.