What is it about you that makes us want to remove our clothes? And dance in the rain? Or just stand at the window and feel the light on our chest and for the neighbours across to say, “There goes the strange bearded man who stands naked at his window.” What is that thing about you, December, that makes us want to leave our socks on the floor and drink the yogurt from the box? Why do we sleep with our mouths open this month? December, you are a bad influence. We were warned about you yet we still run into your debauched embrace.
The morning light is brighter in December and our hearts are lighter with generosity. When we pee, we forget to zip our pants the whole way up. December is a reward for walking through 2019 with its grime that reached our knees. December is our dessert after a meal where people showed up but removed their shoes under the table. Desserts are vulgar but everybody loves dessert, even those who always skip dessert because of sugar. Any matter, they all look at it longingly, enviously, because dessert means living a little, going against the grain. Dessert means saying, fuck it, we are here now and we want sugar even if it kills us high. Speaking of which, there is some dessert in Hero restaurant (Landmark Hotel) called Roadside Royalty which is roasted maize ice-cream, toasted ground maize kernels, lime and some seasoning. A wizard of a chef waved his magic wand over mahindi choma and there was roadside royalty. If you are ever looking for imagination, that dessert packs a ton of it. It’s the kind of dessert millennials would describe as “orgasmic.” Or “food porn.”
December is a masterful seducer. The Don Juan of the year. It always carries a comb in its back pocket because should – God forbid – the wind ruffles his African hair. Whereas July sits in a corner of the bar sulking under his hat and a jacket that looks like leather but is actually made from polyethylene terephthalate, December always sits at the bar counter, back straight, legs crossed, chin out. The type that sends a drink to a lone lady across the bar. Then spoils it by winking. But December doesn’t care because December is a disrupter. December has nothing to lose; not it’s dignity, not honour and certainly not its reputation. It doesn’t wear it’s morals on its sleeves either. When it goes to church, December’s mind wanders and thinks of sitting in bathtubs with someone who is allergic to nuts. And December drinks its whisky neat because ice is for preserving fish.
When December calls you – and eventually it calls all of us- it’s a call you watch ring as you think; should I pick this or should I let it ring out? Unlike April’s call, December’s call never ends well. Because you will wear your shoes and you will only remove them in the middle of the night when your head is heavy, your breathing is shallow and you are probably humming a song you shouldn’t.
While in February we are still sore and smarting from hard lessons learnt in January, December is a leap off the ledge. It’s wearing a hat you would not be caught dead wearing in March; something with a sunken inside that you can also use to carry roadside fruits. Or collect offering in a church. December will make you stare at the wall and not feel like you are going crazy. I know a guy who started his leave on the 1st of this month and will only resume next year. When I asked him what he planned to do the whole of December he said, “Why do I have to do anything?” Because December is stasis. It’s not knowing where your phone charger is. Or even your phone, for that matter. It’s afternoon naps with one of your arms dangling on the edge of the bed. It’s eating chips and calling it chips, not fries.
We don’t know what January will bring. Wait. Actually we do; despair, bewilderment and great angst. We just don’t care. We have been hypnotised by December’s charm. December has put us in its pocket, telling everybody it meets, “look what I found.” Life is short (but not shorter than January) but here we are in this moment of great festivities and it beggars the big question, are we going to live this moment or are we going to think about next month, a month that is cruel to us?
God will never let us starve. I think it’s written in the bible, but don’t quote me, it’s December. We go extra in December. We buy things we don’t need. We buy for people things they don’t need. We drink in the afternoon and eat at 10pm. When we order meat we say, “I want goat,” because we are essentially animals in December. And when we buy wine, we read the label and if its silver, has nice fonts and claims to be from Chile, we buy it.
We are gay and unhinged. In the bar we place a brotherly hand around a friend we haven’t seen in ages and ask, “What do you mean you are on antibiotics? Here, drink this neat, it will kill all bacteria in there.” Because December turns all of us into doctors. We are outlaws this month, doing things we haven’t done in the year. In December it feels like the world is ending and we will not be held responsible next year.
Because of this we don’t look at those messages the bank sends after we have swiped our debit/credit cards, because we don’t want ulcers. December wouldn’t want that for us. December – like StanChart – wants us to spend and redeem those reward points for travel, shopping or travel next year.
December, you are short and sweet but we will take you as you are.
With Kind regards.
Lights On Team.
[Ps: Please, no moaning about this piece being an ad, especially those of you who bank with other banks. It’s December, let people get paid.]