Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Trial & Error

So now I need to prove to Hans R that I’m single. I have uno toothbrush in my bathroom and 6 pillows on my bed .. does that work? I heard some guys on the radio describing multiple pillows on a bed as completing their view of hell – they felt it must be what is burnt to keep up the temperatures and complete the experience.

I’ll be honest though – I sorta-kinda-almost dated some fellow in my time away. A nice guy by all relevant standards, but the kind of relationship the universe rolls its eyes at while rapidly  gesticulating, as though to an Eminem song, while asking; “Haven’t you learnt a thing since you started dating?!” It was just never meant to be.

I believe women throw the men they meet into boxes within a couple of seconds of meeting. There’s the shagable carton, databale pine box, lovable coffer, and the husband shrine. Then of course there’s the ever-constant “friend zone”. I for one have a lot of male friends – but it’s all good. Some are married so can only be friends. Others I’ve known all my life and are really good friends – but friends who climbed into that unidirectional zone so long ago, it would take the Enterprise’ beam to get them out.

Anyhoo, this particular fellow was friended and I was quite happy with it. We’d hang out and chat and I’d politely push back his advances. But Ah! Chineke! For the life of me, I can’t tell you how he weaseled his way into other receptacles (that’s not at all what I meant! Refer to boxes above!). One minute we’re having lunch and the next I’m planning the wedding and wondering if I’m too old to pull off a white gown. And where would our children go to school?

I don’t know. I have no explanation. It wasn’t me!

Long story short, it didn’t work out, and as though that wasn’t bad enough, I was dumped to boot. The universe should use flashing neon signs instead of being “subtle” with its indications on chances of relationship success: “RUN! RUN! RUN!”

Monday, January 18, 2016

Is it the Way I talk?

Reminds me of the old song that tutted "if you wanna know, if he loves you so, it's in his kiss!"

I talk the way I write. A little colourful and punctuated with wit & humour. I have a heavy bag of sarcasm that I try to keep shut for the most part. So someone once told me that that doesn't work for men. That they don't know how to relate to me. That a simple conversation with me is a challenge since I used words like 'unbeknownst' and 'eerie'. Don't get me wrong; I know where to tone down the vocabulary. When buying milk I'd hardly quote 'Oliver Twist'. (Having said that, I once managed to embarass a poor soul at the market when I asked him to give me a generous portion of tomatoes. 'Generous' is a word he had never heard and when I left, he was questioning his counterparts on what the word meant. I felt bad. Not just for him, but for the state of the nation. Was the literacy level that low? And worse still, if he had gone to school, what kind of education are we spinning out if words like 'generous' are considered complex?) When buying milk, I'll tend to sheng which is the real national language.

So anyway, I was advised to tone down my language into a more pedestrian format. And at first I did. And my conversations became tiresomely banal. Flourish in speech entertains me. So instead of saying how I witnessed an accident where the car was wrapped so tightly around itself it was like a dog that actually manages to catch its tail I'd say "it was a bad accident". Bleh! Conversation became like black tea without the tea.

So I thought about it. First I have girlfriends. Although some struggle, they can (for the most part) figure out what I'm trying to say. And if I'm honest, I'll admit that at times I do tone it down. But then, assuming that this charming fellow walks into my life and becomes my lifetime companion (read husband) am I forever to hide behind the veil of simple speech? Won't that just be killing the person I really am? And really, do dudes go through a simpler education system? So I said fudge it! All I have is who I am. I guess I could change in time, but I put the real me on the table. Take it or leave it.

Before I close though, I have been entertained this week by this poor soul who may be trying to win my affections. We went out for a drink and I was describing the effects of what I had. I said "Wine is well mannered. Takes you by the hand, leads you to a chair & regals you with stories as you sip away. Hennessy is like those trucks on Mombasa Road overtaking on your lane and you have to scoot all the way over at the risk of toppling off the cliff!" He made no reply. Yeah well!

The ex-Factor

I tell everyone who will listen that I don't maintain friendships with my exes. But that's putting it mildly; I don't talk to my exes. At all. Not a "Hi, how've you been". Not a dinner to catch up. Not a "pass me the salt". Nothing. In fact I once became frantic at what I would do if I ever met my main ex (guy I was in a long term relationship with) in the streets of Nairobi. Since Nairobi is not that wide, we did eventually meet .. and other than being uncomfortable, it lead to conversation I just had to nip at the bud.

The truth of relationships is that seperation isn't generally a mutually arrived at decision .. You don't generally turn away from your reading (you of 'Eat, Pray, Love' and he of 'Peanuts') to look into each others eyes and therein read the confirmation that it's over. You don't then burst forth into song and dance to a quickly made up, yet rythmical beat titled "I love you no more". Each doesn't pick their favourite of the 2.5 kids and promise to write. No. Things don't work that way.

The truth is there's always the person who's left. It's in The Script: the heart don't Breakeven. The leftee might have had an inkling that things weren't good and even done all they could to hold on to the pieces. They may have been happy & whisteling away like a kid in a candy store oblivious to Chucky hanging out in the next room. All in all it hits them hard. Like an iron fist to the gut. Shifts their reality. Drains out some of life's technicolor. And it's not always easy being the one handing down the decision either. It can change you. It can break you.

So now you have these 2 people. Both hurting. Both yearning. Both purposed to survive. So they adopt the 'let's be frends' ideology. In 'being friends', they hang around each other and maintain civil conversation. To what end, I ask? What is the point? In the best case scenario, what would happen? It's uncomfortable at best. Stalking-ish at worst. One will eventually want to get back with the other. Always happens. And then what? A river of hurt is the only sensible answer.

Be smart. Just walk away and don't get turned into a pillar of salt.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Of Paths & River Bends

I came to the realization that it's terriby difficult to write about relationships when you're not in one ... and even more so, when the last time you were in a real  one is about the same time dinosaurs roamed the earth (free .. not in Jurassic Park). Anyhoo, coz I'm such a great sport (and love to talk) I shall soldier on. And maybe expand my space a little.

The other day I was talking to a guy. He's young and married with 2 kids .. OK, young is relative. He's 32 (and insists he's not that young as his birthday is in September when he'll be a grand 33 (which makes me think that it's only the really young who say that ... I haven't had that comparrison since I was 8 3/4 ...)). Anyhoo, he said he admired my 'freedom'. I really wondered what he meant and have been pondering it all week.

To better visualize, I put mysef in his shoes. I figure he got married at 28 (as his first child is 4). Assuming a younger wife, let's say she got married at 26. I think at 26, I was really just begining to figure out how to place my feet in the job market. Finish high school at 18, wait for the 2 years before getting into public Uni (20), do that for 4 years (24) do my attachment for a year (25) start really working (26). I was probably just a young ditzy girl. If I'd gotten married then, would I secretely be wishing for 'freedom'? Would I wonder what it feels like to spend a Saturday morning in PJ's watchng back episodes of Olivia Pope's Scandal? Would I never thereafter have left the bar at 6 in the morning? Would opening the fridge to nothing but cold water and food gone bad have never been exprienced? Would I have missed any of this? Would I have known enough to miss them?

I guess life takes us through the paths meant for us. Maybe if I'd gotten married young (and for those of you who keep shaking their heads, 26 in my opinion is really rather young) I would be the satisfied settled mother of 5 & happy like a pig in mud. Maybe I'd be the suicidal wife of a successful doctor who couldn't fathom why I felt that death was a better alternative than life with him, whose only fault was deseperatey loving me (a book I read .. a little morbid). Maybe I'd spend my life wondering about the road not travelled. There's a song in Pocahontas (the motion picture) that speaks of spending life wondering what's just around the river bend. Lucky for her, the script was crafted in such a way that she found out immediately after she finished singing the song. Real life doesn't generally work out that way .. not least because we don't generally spend our days singing with the spirits found in trees for inspiration (and instrumentation).

So here's my words of wisdom: life is what you make of it. And everday is a new day, with a new page to choose what the story of your future shall be. But the key is not to get stuck either looking at the past wondering what if you'd taken a different path or staring blankly ahead trying to figure out what will be coming along just around the river bend. Take a breath and live out the here and now. It's all any of us really ever have.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hostilities on a Good Day

This Good Friday, I went for the Way of the Cross procession at my local church (you know .. where you see a usually small group of mismatched people walking slowly and blocking half the road for seemingly no apparent reason .. yeap that's us *blushes* (and that's the reason)). So anyhoo, they changed the book we'd be using without fore-warning so I was forced to peek over people's shoulders or just force my way by their side to keep up. It's not a big deal really .. or well, it shouldn't be. This is a church function for goodness sake so if you can't share on Good Friday, humanity may be in more trouble than we might think (sorry .. just got through an apocalyptic novel today).

Most people didn't mind sharing their books .. and those who did, I bullied into submission. Don't worry .. this is the part where we get to my story. I am totally unbiased in who I'll seek assistance from. It was like musical chairs. Where the music stopped (quite literally) I moved closer to whoever nearby had a book. So somewhere along the way, a man, maybe 10 years my senior, had a book and I moved closer. I immediately sensed unease. As I was not groping him in a dark alley, I figured it had nothing to do with me. Then a lady who had stopped slightly ahead suddenly leaned heavily (and unnecessarily) on him. The declaration of territory. She quickly scanned my hands for a ring, and seeing none, somewhat glared at me. I saw no reason why all three of us couldn't read from the same page and just be friends .. It's the Holy Week for crying out loud! I became acutely aware of the man's discomfort and wondered at my lot. All this took place in the span of 5 minutes or less, but in that period, I had to ask myself when I'd became such a social pariah .. The Single Women: Snatcher of Husbands even in church! Nkt!

In her defence, maybe her man has a wandering eye, but that really has nothing to do with me. If your man is a strayer, he will stray even if you shoot and kill all the women you see him with. From the stories I've heard from my male pals, they've become rather clever about hiding their indiscretions & they're never with the people you expect. Spare the new young & perky secretary in his office some slack and give a closer look at your best maid ...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Teachings of 2013

Apologies are over-done .. let's just get on with it, shall we?

I've been thinking that I should put down tales of my misses from last year .. you know, the type of things that could only happen to me ..

  1. The West African
Do you remember the photo guy? That happened in Nigeria. True to form, I was in Ghana at same point last year for work and was once again put up in a hotel. I got in on a Sunday afternoon and managed to do a little sight-seeing while gorging myself with snacks. I chose to skip supper because:
a)      I would be up by Nairobi time which would be 3 hours before everyone else.
b)      I was enjoying a sugar high from the junk I’d eaten so didn’t need to eat.
c)      Last and probably most honest, I figured that I could save some money in the knowledge that breakfast there comprises full meals of chicken, rice and beef.

As expected, I got up rather early (maybe 4am Accra time) and got some work done while waiting for breakfast time which started at 6am. By 6am, I was all showered and famished. I bound my way down to the restaurant almost skipping to a tune in my mind and picked a table. I started off with some fruits and sat myself down, happy with myself. Now, totally unexpected and out of the blue, a well clad, nice smelling and relatively handsome Ghanaian man chose to come join me at my table. I didn’t really mind and welcomed the chatter that ensued. He also started his meal off with fruits. 

As one would expect, we both moved to the 2nd part of our meal at the same time. I went about picking my chicken, rice, veggies, sausages, and God only knows what else. I got back to the table first and happily tucked in. By now, I’m guessing you already know where this story is headed. Mr. Super-Health-Consciousness came back with a small portion of baked beans and a sausage … How now! Needless to say, he polished off his entire meal before I’d finished tackling my chicken and was off to a (possibly fictitious) meeting he had to attend.

  1. The Cheap Guy
I chanced upon some fellow one drunken night out and we got into entertaining conversation including our announcing to everyone that we had been married for 7 years and were the perfect couple (blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol ..). So anyway, before we parted ways that night while exchanging numbers I noticed that he was driving a slick navy blue Mercedes Benz coupe. I’m not one to base friendship on such flimsy things as cars driven, but it must be said, I noticed it.
Next time we met, he showed up in a sleek metallic grey BMW 1 Series which is a car I really like. Next time after that, he was in a beat up Subaru that had been in more than its fair share of accidents. After that? You guessed it! He was on foot! Something about his car being in the shop .. As I like to think of myself as a level headed woman who doesn’t care about material things, I didn’t make too much of it all.Of course I did wonder if he were a driver, poor man, beggar man or thief (seeing as rich man was off the table).

What tipped the balance is when he took me out for dinner. You need to understand .. he booked me in advance for this .. We met up (obviously I was now the one driving) and he gave me directions .. To a bar! And ordered chips & sausage. Even a Thirty-something-year-old has her limits! Things didn’t last too long after that.

  1. The Psycho
This was a friend of mine with whom things took that turn. I won’t say it’s never a good idea to fall for a friend but in this case, it didn’t work out for me. We loved each other’s company and were always laughing so those who heard of the shift in gear in the nature of our relationship were not too surprised and were happy for us. I won’t bore you with the fluffy happiness of the initial part of the story but will go straight to the point.

One fine evening while at his place, he took a hold of my arm and casually mentioned how easy it would be for him to break it. No .. you don’t have to go back re-read it .. that’s what he actually said. Soon thereafter there was a question that made my blood run cold: “Does anyone know you’re here?” Wa! Wa! Wa! How now! Can you say Psycho! I’d like to report that I gathered myself up in a huff while shouting at him “Get away from me you Hannibal Lecter!” but alas .. I was too happy to be in the rise of potential love that I gave all this a blind eye. It all ended not too long thereafter due to other reasons, but with hindsight I thank God dearly .. perhaps my body would now be lying in an unmarked grave in his backyard while he tends to the blossoming roses above my head …

The teachings of 2013 to me were that being single is not all bad! 

Have an optimistic week ahead!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finding Love Online

I've discovered internet dating!

It's actually not the end of the world; it's something people apparently do. If this month's True Love is to be believed, there's this lady who found her love online. At the age of 34, she had never been in a relationship (never had a boyfriend) and moved half way across the world to the US to be with her intended who she found on the web. They've had 2 weddings (to each other) and now have a son. I give it a dry twist, but it is a cool story. And the man in question is rather fetching if photoshop was not employed. So why not? I must wonder though at how one goes through 34 years without ever having been in a relationship. Isn't that super tough? I expect that the reasons we have exes is to learn about the other sex and improve our relationship skills. And I don't mean in bed, I mean just.Men and women are so desperately different, you need training wheels before marriage.

So far, my attempts have not been very successful. I'm yet to meet any of the people I've chatted with. Quite frankly, there's only 1 I'd be interested in meeting, but let's see how that pans out. If the blog changes name to 30-Something Wife, you'll know things went well :-) But I have had interesting conversations and that's not always easy to come by, much less with strangers.

It's a little funny that I'm not embarrassed by my attempts to find love online. I figured that I would be all hush hush about it and that if anything worked out with a loose Tom, we'd have to come up with a fake story of how we met for family, friends and children's benefit. Asking the web had in my mind been a sure sign of failure. Now I don't really care. Maybe the sense of impropriety fades with age ..