I bought a ridiculous floppy sun hat from a hawker with brown teeth in traffic. It’s his teeth that caught my attention before the hat did. He grinned outside my car window. He had a smile you wouldn’t hide if you wanted to. It filled my car window, urging me to open the window and engage it. So I slowly rolled down the window. He was chirpy, “Brathe; nunulia bibi, hii,” He rotated the floppy sun hat in his fist. He had many other hats in his other hand. These hawkers have a knack for carrying many things in both hands and yet you can’t even carry three plates.
I said, “Mama? Kwani mimi siwezi vaa?” On a whim, I bought it for 350 bob. His asking price was 800 bob but I twisted his arm all the way to his back. I’ve just touched down in Diani as we speak and I’m rocking the floppy sun hat and embarrassing quite a number of people, I might add. It’s a hat you’ll see women floating under at the Concours d’Elegance, nosing at sparkling cars. You might also see it at those horse derbies or fashionable high teas. Women who wear hats like these usually have on very bloody lipstick like they kissed hemoglobin or killed a goat with their bare teeth, and they hardly ever say much. They just waft around in a cloud of mystery, a handbag hanging from one hand and a drink in the other. And they sigh a lot under the shadow cast by the hat. I’m also sighing a lot under the shadow cast by this hat—but from the heat—not from the excesses of elegance. I bought it for the heat; it covers your whole face, which is perfect. I have a fairly wide forehead and that’s not a forehead you want exposed in a hot place like Diani because it acts like a solar panel. You heat up. Thus the hat. People are staring, of course, but not as much as they would have stared at me back in Nairobi because here there are white folk and you can’t top white eccentrism. I’d rather be stared at than have my whole face peel off from sunburn when I get back to Nairobi.
I’ve started my small holiday. I intend to do nothing for the next three weeks. Nothing. Nada. Honestly I don’t know how not to do anything because doing nothing is tiring. I have two books I intend to read; These Precious Days; Essays by Ann Patchett and One Friday in April; A story of Suicide and Survival by Donald Antrim. I have waited for Antrim’s book since the beginning of this year and it had better be worth the wait. I also have a bunch of podcasts I intend to listen to because I will be writing a podcast next year and a couple of documentaries. There is Grounded by Louis Theroux and This American Life. I intend to do lots of nothing by the swimming pool. Just lie there in stupor, read and listen and stare at the sky. Maybe swim. And drink lots of iced tea which isn’t exactly iced tea in Diani because the ice normally melts before it gets to you, making it just tea. So, yeah maybe just whisky. Sparingly.
What’s going on with you? Plans for the festivals? Going to visit your mother’s, eh? You lucky tossers? Barbeque with family, ey? Road trip with significant others, ey? Or just getting boozed in Numero 5 sending shots for the babes with wild hair in that next table? Whatever the plans, I hope you make a hole in it. I also hope you had a good year, maybe even a great year. I hope you didn’t have any boils or develop weird allergies. I hope your children are healthy and your spouses eventually fixed their snoring. I hope you are going to give to charity this Christmas, children’s homes or those chaps, homeless of Nairobi. I hope you are going to take a moment to tell God thank you because many didn’t make it here today. I hope you know how lucky we are that we are here and we are healthy. I hope you hydrate. And embrace your vegetables.
Like I mentioned here last week. I will be opening this comment section for you to ask me something, anything. If it’s too intrusive I will pass. Or I will send a smiley. We do smileys here, don’t we? I will open this for the next two hours or so because surely, I have a floppy hat to sit under.
Thank you for reading. For liking. For sharing. For commenting. I appreciate your patronage. [ I love that word, patronage, so stuffy. Sigh].
School is officially closed, Gang. Go straight home. No milling about, no horsin’ around, and none of that tomfoolery we witnessed last term when a bunch of naughty boys and girls—you know yourselves—sneaked cigarettes behind the dining hall. You all head straight home, don’t forget your books. Those who performed well here don’t slacken. Those who didn’t, the first to commenters, take time this holiday to think about your lives. The world out there is cruel so decide if you want to have an education or if you want chlamydia.
And Caroline Meryl Ochieng, please stay behind. You too, Tushy. See me in my office.
So long, until we see each other again on Jan 11th, 2022 [That’s Tamm’s birthday.]
Don’t drink and drive.
Lastly, if you are looking for a holiday read, get my books HERE.