Dreamcatchers

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So right outside Loita House, you run into this fellow wearing red shoes. An old acquaintance. PR guy.  After niceties he says, “What are you doing Friday late afternoon?” You are loose – it’s December and you have closed shop.  He says, “Come over, I have a small gathering over at mine, drinks and nyama.”  Friday he WhatsApps the coordinates of his house in Nairobi West and you swing by, a bottle of Chivas in hand. 18-yrs. Wholesale price. You know a guy. The party is in his backyard , on a small patch of grass that we like to call a lawn. Poking meat from the spit at the corner of the walled perimeter is a thick-necked guy wearing an apron written “I’m not short. I’m concentrated awesome.” He’s short.  From behind a thin curtain of smoke he raises his pitch-fork at you in salutation. You raise your bottle back.

The host sits you on this touristy canvas chair, like the ones you sit on for sundowners in the bush, amongst a circle of guys already sharing from a small forest of spirits and beers. They are seven guys and three chicks. You sit between a guy who smells of old coriander and a chick with short natural hair that is still wet. Maybe she swam to the party. She has a lovely tattoo on the brittle bone of her ankle. Someone hands you a glass. You pour yourself a finger.

Red Shoes introduces you, then introduces the rest. You don’t catch one name; Felixes collide with Anthonys, Doreens marinate with Patricks, Pauls stick at the bottom of Joans like eggs on a cheap frying pan . There are nods and karibus and polite smiles and the wag in the group, a guy with what looks like an Apple watch says, “Ahh, kwani nobody is coming with chicks to this party?” And one of the chicks,  one who has about 17.3 hectares of legs rushing up to unite with her hips says in that scratchy voice that tells of years of debauchery,  “Kwani we are men?” A ripple of chuckles from the men. One girl looks genuinely hurt. The wag – obviously a smart man – slowly steps away from that landmine by going to check on the “concentrated awesomeness” roasting meat across.

You drink. Meat is later passed around on a silver tray. The sun crawls overhead and some of you move to avoid it. The crowd is mature. Three more people join in, two chicks and one guy who has a hat you want to steal. The conversation is grown up. Nobody twerks. Or throws up.

As you well know, in any group there are always the loud ones who talk over everyone else because they are the know-it-alls. You will never glean much from those ones, they make for great background noise. The guys to watch, the ones who leave with the girl, are the ones who hardly say much. They have sharp one-liners; and because they are sharp, they don’t need to prove it.  You pick him immediately from the group. He isn’t wearing an Apple watch, that is the funny guy, life of the party. This guy is seated across you in black t-shirt and blue Levi’s canvas shoes.

The discussion is about- of all things – deja vu and what causes dreams. This is because someone had said that when people grow older they dream less at night and this guy in black starts talking about rapid eye movement and sijui long-term memory and  something like semantic memories  and he says that we dream mostly of what we fear the most, not what we want the most. (He studied Anthropology but works in a bank).

It made me recall this strange dream that I had late 2014. In the dream, I’m standing on the patio of a wooden cabin (as if there are concrete cabins), the evening light is falling and I’m wearing an oversized white linen shirt, one sleeve folded to the elbow, and before me is a sliver of ocean. It’s a lone cabin thrust at the very end of a lagoon, surrounded by palm trees and all these birds with  slender colourful feet. Around hangs the dank smell of half burnt firewood mixed with that sweet smell from the earth. The crickets are just getting up. The ocean moans beyond.

I’m barefooted and in shorts. Behind me the house is getting darker and secretive. Now sitting on the patio is a girl. There is always a girl in these dreams. She’s wearing this long flowy dress like a dira but with a long slit. She has on a white vest. Her face isn’t very clear in the dream because her head is lowered as she tries to pry open a tin with one of those stainless steel can openers. In the dying light I can only see half of her thigh where the slit falls open; she has a mark on it, a scar or birthmark or something, I can’t tell. Maybe it’s a shadow.  I tell her “Look up.” I keep telling her that, “look up,” but she doesn’t. She says, “When I’m done opening this jam.”  “Look up!” “When I’m done opening this jam.” The funny thing is I can always walk to her and look at her face, but because dreams are stupid, I’m unable to move. So I keep asking, “look up” and she keeps saying, “when I’m done opening this jam.” She never looks up.

So later, after a few whiskies, I pull Dream Guy at the party away from the crowd and we go in the kitchen and we lean on the counter where – as we cling onto our drinks – I tell him about the dream like he’s some sort of a sage who can break it down. But I figured it would be nice to hear his opinion given as he still remembers Rapid Eye Movement from high school biology and he’s obviously much smarter than I am.

-Do you own a wooden cabin? He asks after listening to my dream.

-Of course. Two of them. In Malindi and Watamu.

-Really?

-No!  Come on. According to your theory out there this means that I either fear cabins or I fear girls with scars on their legs.

-Or you fear jam.

-Unless it is Mombasa Road traffic jam.

-You eat jam?

-No.

-Hmm. Maybe you letting the lady struggle to open the can of jam is symbolic.

-Well, in my defence I didn’t exactly  “let her”, when I walked out onto the patio she was already struggling to open the can.

-Did you offer to help?

-Well…no.

-Are you sure it was jam?

-She said it was jam. She said “when I’m done opening this jam” over and over.

-But you didn’t check to see if it was actually jam?

-Oh, I’m sorry. If I knew you would be interrogating me about this I would have confirmed. Maybe taken a picture of it as evidence.

He laughs, sips his drink and looks out the door contemplatively. The fridge hums. Laughter from outside blows inside. I’m thinking, this Anthropology chap knows shit about dreams or jam, this has been a waste of time.

-Does it matter if it was jam or marmalade or a can of pineapples?

-I’m just thinking aloud. Where is that ice?

He opens the freezer and pokes his nose inside. No ice. He pours water into his drink which is colourless, so could be vodka.

-I don’t know what it means. He finally says with a shrug.

-I had hopes in you. I sigh defeatedly.

He laughs.

-You raised my hopes, man. Made me believe that you would decode this shit. You are like the rest of them; you come with promises and you never come through. You are like the rest of them.

He looks at me and laughs.

-The rest of them?

-Yes, dreamcatchers.

 

You are probably thinking, This guy is making this up. Two grown people can’t have this inane a conversation, he’s having us on. He’s going to plug something, maybe a loan from a bank or some fertilizers or something. Well, you are wrong. This dream has stayed with me for a while. If I  wanted to plug anything it would have been about this health thing that is the Weetabix Fitbit Challenge which I think is just great because who isn’t trying to live a healthier life? Quickly, if this might pique your interest; they are handing 24 high-end fitbit watches to 24 winners who have to compete with each other to lose the most calories. All you have to do is send a picture of you holding a Weetabix box to 0700424600/ 0700424600 and tell the good guys at Weetabix why you want to be fit in 2016. You might just get the Fitbit (which you will keep), and kick some lazy asses in this challenge. That’s it. Just a picture.

Talking of health. Last year on a dare I did that 10-day Jane Mukami Detox program. Living on vegetable juice and salad. For 10 days. By day 6 I was ready to eat someone. Like I’m riding in an elevator and with me is this big-boned girl with juicy arms and I’m staring at her arms like a creep, really looking at her arms like you would a steak because my whole body was screaming for meat! Meat! Meat! I never bit anyone but I completed the 10-day challenge and although I felt energised and wrung out and lost some bit of weight, I said never again. It’s never that serious. Then I ran into Jane at the iHub and I told her the program was shit and gruesome and I asked her if she could design something else, something less suicidal for chaps like me. And she did. So I’m embarking on a 15-day modified detox where you have smoothies for breakfast and dinner but you eat lunch. The juices are delivered to you fresh daily for something like Sh 1,500 per day.

Still on the new year things, I want to sleep in a tent in the middle of nowhere. Like a place without network, in some thicket or long napier grass or yellow-backed acacia, whatever, as long as I feel the wild slipping into the tent. Just for 24-hours. Russell Simmons says it’s about staying still. And you can’t stay still when some motorist refuses to let you join in or forces his way in. You can’t sit still when your phone is ringing and the whatsapp is pinging with messages and someone in Kamiti Prison is sending you messages saying, “ Pliz Tuma Hio Pesa Kwa Hii nama, ni Yangu Mpya. Ile Ingine ime block…” I don’t know what stillness is. Wouldn’t know if it sucked my marrow. So I will go find it, in a bush, in a tent, before a campfire and an open sky, and with the sounds of the night. Then I want to jump off a plane; skydive because I know I will shitbricks. When I’m done with all these I will find the lady with the scar on her thigh and I will ask her if she opened the jam.

 

Happy New Year, by the way.

 

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208 Comments
  1. I like the Jane Mukami Challenge but Weetabix in this Njaaanuary is like impossible, we are surviving on sweet potatoes and strong tea hehe

  2. Happy new year. I silently enjoy and look forward to all new posts. I have been waiting for this one with everything in me. Looking forward to a year full of inspiration and great reading. Cheers

  3. Happy new year! Am trying the no wheat challenge for 3 months -day 5 into the year am still telling myself its the last day of wheat…..smoothies for breakfast n supper I could try that from my own blender….hehehe

  4. I would like to write first to comment since it a thing the gang has taken up to, but then that dream would be crashed when I find am like no 60 (Magunga wished people with such dreams good luck in this new year). Wishing you luck as you search for stillness in the middle of nowhere…hope no snakes or wild animal (read hyena)comes attacking because you have interfered with their stillness

  5. Pauls stick at the bottom of Joans like eggs on a cheap frying pan. That’s how we kick off the New Year. All the best Muchacho!

  6. Jane Mukamis Detox Program is the devil, the missus is on it and i cannot cook my spicy beef stew that i like because i have to support her. Happy new year to you too Chocolate Man (No we are not leaving that name in 2015)

  7. Happy New Year, Biko. Nice way to kick off the year. Especially loved the way you inserted the paymasters. When we were young, we used to call it ‘in your face!’

  8. I thought you would say 17.3 hectares of forehead, I met this lady over the holidays and she had just that!
    I could make your sleeping in a tent in wilderness a reality, does the name Asim Shah from top 40 Under 40 ring a bell? I work for a camping and wilderness challenges company, check James Ruigu on linkedin, lets make the tent thing happen!Happy New Year BIko!

  9. Hahahahhaha
    You really had to put in that weetabix challenge.
    Am 49kgs and at 20 years. If I get into any challenge would probably make my bones protrude out. And they already are as it is.

        1. We actually could do it! Pause and think about all the sponsors who would be interested, Bidco, Unga, all supermarkets, all fast food chains
          Dear weight loss challenges, we the skinny people trying to gain some weight feel marginalised and neglected.

    1. Breakfast
      1. 4 slices of bacon
      2. 5 sausages
      3. 3 boiled eggs
      4. 2 fried eggs
      5.2 cups of milk with 5 teaspoonful of sugar

      Snacks
      1. 1/2 chicken with chips and 500ml coke soda

      Lunch.
      1. Pork with rice

      Snacks
      1. Chicken wings with samosas
      Dinner
      1. 5 bottles of tusker lager
      2. 1kg of Nyama choma
      3.Ugali ya 100 bob

      1. You are meeeean..now I want sausages n all things meaty..I hate January and fitness.but am going back to the gym..detoxes r bullshit.

  10. “ Pliz Tuma Hio Pesa Kwa Hii nama, ni Yangu Mpya. Ile Ingine ime block…” biko believe you me i looked up and emailed.didnt know where the caller was hitting from but i am sure it wasnt a dream.and i did anthroplogy and at one time worked with numbers!

  11. “…a chick with short natural hair that is still wet. Maybe she swam to the party.” Lol. A good one, happy new year Biko.

  12. I have jumped off a plane once at at Skydive Diani ….. you wont shitbricks and after that nothing will scare you (atleast for couple of days). All the best.

  13. Pauls stick at the bottom of
    Joans like eggs on a cheap
    frying pan. Yenyewe Biko U R like Neo, THE ONE!! Bt these reality shows should consider people like me & Bumble Bee above. it’s time for a weight gain progi. Ama gaining weight ain’t healthy?

    1. This man Biko stopped shocking me with crazy expenses when he talked of the resort that charges 76k a night.

      Also,he knows the resident foodie who ate and recommends the 10k per person at the chef’s table in Sarova Stanley.

  14. I surely can decode it for you if you allow me. The girl is your career, the scar on her thighs, is whats holding you back and the ‘CAN’ with Jam what you can achieve if you use your full potential. My advise: Write a book man, write a book.

    1. Hehehe, this decoding actually sounds legit, the final advise is true though, Biko should consider writing a book.

  15. Kweli January imefika…got one of those messages jana (and I quote) from +254706030048:

    “Tafhali Hizo pesa,ziweke Kwa Hii Nambar, Hile Ingine Hilifugwa Kwa Mpesa, Kwasababu ya Kitabulicho Himeregiste Mbele ya Lain Tatu Pls.”

  16. hehe. quick question though, i tried to picture the outfit on your dream girl and i can’t quite fathom why she is wearing a dress and a vest, i mean is it vest on dress or …you know what, you don’t need this type of negativity in your (dream)life,just let her go and open that damn can of jam by herselo. pairing a dress and a vest SMH

  17. hahahaha!I also want to sleep in a tent in the middle of nowhere but I wont get sleep cus I would be so scared something might creep into my ears…I also want to do skydiving or maybe bungee jumping whichever costs less…Me and You Biko, we can do this…Nitakutafuta..Happy New Year

  18. Happy New Year Biko… on that fitness thing, Ask Weetabix what they have for if anything for slender people do to gain a little weight? My mother wants a fat baby as the rest of you struggle to loose that weight we badly need.

  19. Happy new year chocolate man. I was on a boiled food diet, no meat, no spice, no wheat….. I’ve lost weight and now I have to buy new clothes in njaanuary!

  20. I’m with you in that last paragraph. Really want to go some place in the bundus alone and away from anything distractive.
    Happy New year Chocolate man

  21. “Around hangs the dank smell of half burnt firewood mixed with that sweet smell from the earth.”
    Biko wacha uongo, how do you perceive smells in a dream?

  22. Happy new year biko. Now we are to laughter, humor, learning and all the shit that goes on here. And i hope that this year you let us know more about Wambui(you know who am talking about) pleeeeeaaaaase biko

  23. I also have a weird dream ever since I was young. It starts with me walking down a road then I get to a bridge am supposed to cross but its flooded. Every time for 22 years now. Someone decode it because am really tired of being left behind. Nice one Biko. Happy new new year gang.

    1. so easy, across that bridge is an achievment, a longing, something you have always wanted to solve for yourself. But there are reasons why you cant get across it. There is a clear feeling of defeat or inability. Maybe you want to know who your dad is, maybe its your sexuality, or even maybe you have a disability, i wouldnt know. Figure it out. If you do you will stop having that dream. Its most likely something you pretend to not care about but still it lingers hard in your subconscious.

    2. Biegon please send me your email. I need to hook you up with some literature on dreams… that flood story needs to be delt with seriously… it ain’t something to be ignored… dreams have meanings and it can serve as a warning of sorts… holler if interested in demystifying from a biblical perspective…

  24. Happy new year chocolate man, looking forward to many more interesting and hilarious posts from you and the gang this new year. Cheers

  25. Losing weight is easy … Just stop eating. Plain and simple.

    So Biko… Let me decipher this dream. The woman signifies everything wrong with bread. The difficult to open jar of jam reps how you should avoid carbs/bread in your quest for losing weight. The surrounding environment in the dream basically means you should be on a diet of palm wine and birds. Birds boiled in sea water. Finally you couldn’t see the face of the lady because the gods of dreams have placed her under witness protection lest the missus reads her face from your face when you wake up.

  26. I figured your dream out, mate.
    Escape..it’s about escaping your everyday drab life. (okay, yours seems far far less drab than average); The lady with the jam represents your obligations/commitments in life. The Mrs, kids, work, bills, and the good stuff too…you can’t escape them..that’s why she doesnt look up and never will.
    Prosperous new year Biko!

  27. Biko, That dream indicates some sort of frustration,in real life, at that time, you most likely wanted someone’s attention, they were instead focusing on something else that according to you, was useless. Your powerlessness is evident. Ok,i hope you got out of that friend zone tuseme tu hivo. Hashtag the main dreamcatcher!!

  28. I don’t think you have ever written anything that didn’t leave me contemplating, or laughing out loud, there’s times I’ve cried buckets. You have this vivid way of describing that I’m almost always with you in your head. And I agree with Dalla Combs, YOU Chocolate man need to write a book. I’d buy 10. For me and well me.
    Happy new year to you and the gang.

  29. The wag – obviously a smart man – slowly steps away from that landmine by going to check on the “concentrated awesomeness” roasting meat across…….This shit is just so funny.Happy new year to the gang.

  30. Hehee, Happy New Year Biko and my fellow gang members. let us not forget that January 11th is Tamisha Biko’s birthday:)

  31. I was enjoying this dream storo and ishh until i fikad hapa > The juices are delivered to you fresh daily for something like Sh 1,500 per day. <Hehe ati hiyo juice is how much boss? 1500? per day? for 15 days? That is 22500 Bob! MAYOOOO! woi woi woi. Naomda serikali iingilie kati.

  32. Will gladly provide the tent,sleeping bag and a sleeping mat…for free but on one condition: come fetch them yourself so I can meet the famous forehead!

  33. Biko…what happened to that inane conversation about your dream.Love how you just took us to weetabix challenge.l literally laughed out loud. Happy new year. Hope to read more from you this year chocolate man.

  34. For the first time ever I’m sitting in an open plan office.. And I’m not used to controlling my laughter. Day two in this place and you make me seem crazy!! Thank you oh so much Biko. Great read as always

  35. The guys to watch, the ones who leave with the girl, are the ones who hardly say much. They have sharp one-liners; and because they are sharp, they don’t need to prove it. You pick him immediately from the group. He isn’t wearing an Apple watch, that is the funny guy, life of the party. This guy is seated across you in black t-shirt and blue Levi’s canvas shoes…now that a description that leaves an impression! Great read as always.

  36. Great start into the year Biko…great article. Funny like Joe Muchiri’s meme’s on Insta. Good luck with finding the lady with the scar. When you do, ask her why she wasn’t looking up, it would have taken her literally less than 5 seconds to do so.

  37. If ur to go to the wilderness.do it the right way.a sleeping bag.u with ur own wood and food to cook.a kawa tent not those fancy Mara tented camp ones.and maybe a guide..go in the middle of the forest where its Scarry and u can barely sleep but very quiet.with a river u can shower in.try the mau mau cave.I dnt knw if they let u camp out there hmmm. hakuna network.there is a river and waterfall.n freshest air.and u cn fish trout.

  38. Day 5…Biko has done his dhing hehe. And Ben laughed. Thanks Jakendu. Happy new year to everyone. Let’s have It again where? HERE.

  39. that dream…..surely chocolate man you were not kissed as a child.Cheers to a great 2016, hope this is the year of the book we have craved for.

  40. Like I’m riding in an elevator and with me is this big-boned girl with juicy arms and I’m staring at her arms like a creep, really looking at her arms like you would a steak because my whole body was screaming for meat! Meat! Meat! I never bit anyone … Made my day,
    Happy new year Chocolate Man

    1. Some motivation… Did it and lost 4.1Kgs tena during festive season guys thought I’d lost my marbles!! So worth it though, lakini hiyo biashara nimefunga

  41. We go through our lives as “that guy” at some point. We just evolve. We start off loud then funny,later in life we “leave” with the girl and then end up coming back to the party to burn the meat. Life is like that dream.
    Happy new year everyone.

  42. Debauchery new word and meaning learnt thanks.Biko i need a challenge where we have to gain weight in say 30 days.Am 45 and 24 years.I need to add i have tried eating it doesnt help.Nice read.

  43. I tried the Jane Mukami detox I couldn’t get past day 3.Might give it another try. The girl in the dream should have looked up. Damn her. What a way to start the year Biko

  44. On day 2 of the detox and so far soo good. Cant wait to be done, will treat myself to a huuuge Caesar’s salad at Java, just because we are keeping healthy in 2016 🙂 good read Biko and Happy New Year!

  45. Tried Jane Mukami’s detox too and only managed day two. I couldn’t handle cooking for someone else and not eating…Nope. Speaking of scars, I have a scar on my thigh Biko….lol nasty one too, I’ve toyed around with the idea of covering it with a tattoo but I don’t like tattoos….sooooo!I’m I like your fairy God mother or something…hehehe Anyhu Happy New year Biko and Bikonians!

  46. 17.3 hectares of legs, he he he….only you Biko. Only you. Your dreams are valid. (No pun)
    Happy new year Biko. Happy new year gang.

  47. Allow me to interpret your dream just for (like you’d put it) shit & giggles.See,people with wooden floors confuse “having class” & “having to have class”. The kind of class that I associate with wooden floor is the kind of class that emerges out of an anxiety abt being classy.
    People who must have wood floors are people who need to convey the message that they’re quite possibly better than most people.They’re those who leave the ” EVE magazine ” on the coffee table but keep” Nation Daily ” in the bedroom. They’re people who say”i don’t watch the news because I can get everything I need from my twitter TL”.They’re people who would no sooner put the television in the living room than hang their underwear to dry in the front porch. They buy whole-bean coffee & grind it in a Braun grinder. They watch “the trend” & tell other people what they heard on it & are amazed when the other people say they heard it too!

    Soo…..either the girl in the dream had class or was pretending to have class.why would she use a can opener and still not be able to open the can while most of us use “kisu ya mkate” & crack it open without breaking a sweat.

  48. always such a great read Biko…….even better as I can place the face after a bridal shower in which everyone was left craving for some Biko. If your dream was a girl dreaming it would be a man bent over a key board to whom she would be shouting look up…but no he would be typing away the next exciting story….

  49. hahahaha ati the chic in the lift with juicy arms…..i feel you on that one!!! i also had the same challenges (said in that tone for challeeynjess)!!!
    i will try it with lunch but juices jioni

  50. Biko is a naughty man.Ati the it could be a scar on the girl’s thigh or a shadow?? hmmmmn! a small shadow on a thigh!!!

  51. And one of the chicks, one who has about 17.3 hectares of legs rushing up to unite with her hips – hahahahahahahahahaha! Aki surely biko. Warizthis?? Happy new year.

  52. Awesome.How do I comment first when I have gotten the article three days later??
    Visit Turkana land(Turkland).Such places where you will be in the middle of nowhere are in plenty.Then dont forget to check in at Eliye springs and file a travel story.

  53. Oh man!I really wanted to know what the dream meant. I am fascinated by dreams too. I have these recurring dream that always picks up where I left off and bas the feeling of a familiar place. I see the same people, I go to the same spots but always a different adventure; It makes the whole alternate reality theory seem very plausible.
    Do you mind letting me know if ever you run into her again in your dreams and figure that shit out?