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Spring Awakening/Environmental Fundamentalism

listening to: Melanie Fiona – Ay Yo (Illadelphonics Live Remix)

I’m most definitely a sunshine kind of person. Well, that kind of goes without saying considering I grew up in a tropical country but still. It’s been officially spring in my neck of the woods for the past couple of weeks and I’ve got to say I’m loving it. When the sun is out its actually warm and you don’t feel cheated cos you have to wear layers and layers of clothing. My coats and sweaters can go into storage until at least November. And I must be one of those people whose mood is dependent on nice sunny weather because I’m no longer a grouch and I wake up, see signs of the sun starting to rise and just get excited. Ah, good times. I’ll enjoy them until the dreaded summer heat comes and with it soup like humidity and mosquitoes the size of humming birds. But I’ll take sunshine over the cold weather any day. And yes, I am aware that what I refer to as the dreaded winter is actually not that bad since it doesn’t snow around here lakini y’all will need to cut me a break – my genes are not conducive to cold weather at all.

And one thing I will be especially happy to see and end to is the whole “it’s so cold, that means that global warming/climate change doesn’t exist!” and so on and so forth to the point where I was seriously restraining myself from smacking certain people.

Here’s the truth – I’m going to judge you if you declare random shit like that and act like you just uncovered some great conspiracy. Climate is not the same as weather. And if you were going to “expose” that kind of thing don’t do it by ignoring all scientific fact and saying you’re right cos you feel cold. I’m going to put you in the same category as people who claim man and dinosaur walked the earth together a la the Flintstones. Or those who would say that the earth is flat just because they look out and see the horizon despite all evidence to the contrary. Or ati cos the sun rises in the east and sets in the west that it revolves around the earth. You don’t know how many people I know in real life that have astounded me by sticking to their guns and gave weak excuses like “I saw on Fox News that Al Gore is a fraud”. Ama going through my feed and finding that someone who I was having a blog crush on (you know, because I absolutely love their writing) would post a pic of snow and say that that’s their proof. Not funny or edgy people. It’s just plain daft and if that makes me some sort of environmental fundamentalist (a term someone used to describe me which amused me greatly) then so be it.

I wont even go into the people who say they got their info from a forward. It’s like really? Those same forwards that claim that if you send a certain email to all your contacts Bill Gates will give you some of his millions? Or the same ones with requests from African royalty to help them stash their cash? …. I cant even. No. Just No.

Anyway. Here’s to spring, sunshine and happy days.

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Switching off my Brain/Mmm, Eye Candy

First it was the flu. Thoughti could soldier through until I was informed that it was impolite to be out in the general public while I was still contagious. By the way, that comment deserved its props – it was the nicest and yet most passive aggresive way for someone to say “You with your dripping nose, plague like cough and gross germs. Stay home!” And its because the way the world works, I missed out on a whole lot of stuff that week. You know the way you have random plans with people and they never quite come together because of one thing or another? The week I was home bound decorating my room with tissues and covered with the alluring scent of Vicks is when folks went out and did all the fun stuff and I was stuck hearing what a great time they all had. Even after I convinced them the way suckage and boredom would ensue cos I wasn’t around. Wasaliti! Love them to bits but Judas’ must be called out once in a while.

After I was able to have a conversation without sneezing all over the place and coughing there was the invitation for a dinner party and i figured i would make up for lost time. Exactly half the attendees got the runs and I was part of that unfortunate group – I think my immune system just wasn’t strong enough despite the conspiracy theory going round that we were poisoned, blah blah evil eye etcetera.

So. my brain now being scrambled from trying to play catch up for the past few days all I’m thinking about is bed. That and a cup of Milo. Nothing much to say otherwise, apart from why in the world would there be a big red X covering up these two gorgeous men? I dont care what it stands for, let the gorgeousness be … beheld? Is that a word? Whatever. Just look at them cos wow.

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The Haunting or “Get Thee Behind Me Satan” Moments

listening to: Les Jumo Selsao – Zoomer

Someone I know went through a break up recently and she mentioned how she cant seem to be able to shake memories of her ex. Its not that she wants the dude back, just that there seem to be reminders of him everywhere. Add that to the fact that they live pretty much in the same neighbourhood and that they have the same friends (after several years of being together, that kind of happens on its own) she has resorted to calling these kind of encounters “The Haunting”. No matter how hard she tried her ex inadvertently keeps popping back into her life and she’s not at the point where it doesn’t annoy her – she cant ignore it and the ghosts of relationships past are not yet hilarious in a “ thank god I know better now” or “what in the world was I thinking?” kind of way.

For me these moments were where I would, in a knee jerk kind of way, go “get thee behind me satan!” (hello religious upbringing :-D).  Usually what brought this rebuke forth was listening to my iPod or turning on the radio or watching music on tv … you get the idea. Thing is, everyone I have known for a certain period of time get two things from me – a nickname (whether you may know of it or not I give you one) and a bunch of songs that remind me of said person. The longer I know someone, the longer the list of musical reminders gets. And after a break up it can become tiring and boring and just plain irritating.

So there I would be with my headphones in my ear walking someplace and Jill Scott would start playing and without even thinking I would blurt out “spineless fucker!” and skip to the next song. Or maybe I would have pressed the shuffle button and then got to doing some housework and Slow Flow comes on and I would turn the air blue with curses about “that controlling bastard”. Raindrops would only give me shudders of revulsion instead of inspiring those impromptu dance parties I keep telling everyone makes a good situation great or make a bad day better.

It was getting to be a problem so I created a ‘do not play” playlist and added to it every time I felt spontaneous outbursts coming on. I got tired of getting strange looks from passers by or anyone who was in my presence when I was trying to exorcise my demons. That was only part of the solution though. There was the gritting of teeth when people would ask you “what happened between you two” and you choose the it-didn’t-work-out-and-we-moved-on route and he took the please, cry for me Argentina because I’m so complicated and damaged road.

Doesn’t it suck when you have a strict no airing of dirty laundry in public/no sharing of sordid details with mutual friends and others don’t? There’s that saying about words swallowed never hurt a person but wow, is that ever hard to put into practice when you so want to put the record straight lakini realise that in doing so you will become petty and immature. It’s always a balance between telling yourself that you must absolutely be all zen and shit and maybe getting an ulcer.

Where was I? Oh right. There is also going to happy hour and having the bar tender repeatedly ask whatever happened to the fun guy who you used bring along (and here I thought they were supposed to be the best at getting casually dropped hints or realizing that some things you don’t want to talk about). Worse still is finding things that belong to him where you live – shirts that still smell of him in the depths of your closet, that something that you spotted online that you knew he would like finally being delivered to your mailbox. The thing with a relationship is that even after it’s over it’s the little things that keep jolting you back even when you are so ready to put it behind you and move on already.

And the one thing no one wants to hear is that it will take time for those moments not to feel like you are being spanked with a cactus and that your heart is breaking a little bit all over again. Mention that to anyone in the throes of being haunted and you will get eyes rolled at you and those little sighs that dismiss you as someone who has been watching too much Oprah and reading too many self help books. But it’s true. Either that or all the little rituals you have acquired to avoid being reminded of your ex will get tiring and a little ridiculous and you will wonder why in the world you are exerting so much energy over someone that you have already written off.

One day, I realized that my “do not play” playlist had a ridiculous amount of music that I actually liked and missed listening to. Probably because there was a time when I started adding entire Maxwell, The Roots and Steel Pulse albums to it along with lots of individual songs that just kept adding up until the list had spun out of control. Clearly I wasn’t going to never listen to this Ledisi song again or this Tony Rich Project one or this one or this other one …. a lot of those songs I liked before I knew any of those people. So I reclaimed my playlist back. And it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Instead of thinking spineless fucker it was now Peter Pan, controlling bastard became Gaston and the dude formally referred to with gagging and dry heaving became Muttley. Clearly a sign that I was mellowing out, especially when “get thee behind me satan” moments became punch lines instead of times that I wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear.

So yes, as much as it sucks being told so, time will help. It’s why everyone keeps saying so over and over again. There will be no magic moment and it won’t be spontaneous. If you feel yourself stuck in limbo distraction is key. Use the time wisely like spur of the moment dance parties in your room, get a hobby or finding new ways to drink vodka or whatever rocks your boat. Just remember to focus on the moving on part.

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How Time Flies aka Of the King of Pop and Easter Eggs

listening to: Sila and The Afrofunk Experience – You Love You

Wow, is it almost March already? So much for all those half written posts and ideas I had floating around my head. Guess that at some point I will get around to finishing them up, if only so that all my procrastination won’t have been for nothing ( believe it or not, waiting before you hit that publish button can be a good thing sometimes). But random ramblings will have to do for now so sorry to those who I had told I would update soon on matters of a more specific nature.

I usually don’t mind baby sitting my friends kids provided that I am given ample warning and that they are well behaved. The former is because while I appreciate surprises every once in a while they shouldn’t include dropping off your offspring at my place all willy nilly. Sometimes I need to make my living area more child friendly and anyone who knows me has heard me go on at length about how I hate unexpected visitors. You have to be a special kind of someone in my life to be comfortable enough to just stop by … I have come to the conclusion that only people who truly love me can handle the bitch face that I usually have on in the morning (not my favourite time of day) or grumpy/sulky phases. The latter is because I wont be held responsible for children that lack manners. Fabulously fun aunt or not I don’t tolerate children who talk back, are generally unruly, or like to dispute who is the adult in the house. By the by, times like these I catch myself mid thought and realize that I have turned into my parents. Ten years ago I would have thought that impossible.

Anyway. Not having any kids of my own means that my house is the typical child free zone. No special cable channels like PBS Kinds or Nick jr. No kiddie friendly juice packs lying around (orange juice in my fridge serves two purposes: to drink when I’m having breakfast and for making screw drivers and it has the dreaded pulp kids for some reason hate). No special software on my computer to keep them away from the ugly depths of the internet as they play video games. And alas, no toys/educational dvd’s, despite the demands that I get legos and Barney/Wiggles dvd’s pronto cos allegedly I can be boring sometimes (which I will deny forever, hehe). Still I can keep them entertained and fed. I get them to help me bake muffins, make random flavours of smoothies and popsicles and play dress up with the stuff that’s in my wardrobe and make them put on a fashion show for me.

Last night though, they (two little adorable and well behaved girls) were getting stir crazy half an hour into their visit. It was too cold to play outside and as far as they were concerned there was nothing interesting to watch on tv, nothing to play with (the “play with each other” suggestion was met with a blank looks) and they must have caught on that the fashion show “game” was more entertainment for me than for them cos dressing up was not an option.

Aside: after 5 minutes of hearing how I am deficient in some way cos I don’t have even have own a ball I told them that maybe they should use their imagination to entertain themselves. It was like I had asked them to sing a nursery rhyme in Sanskrit so I gave them an example. I made a ball out of socks and told them that they could throw that around. Here is their response, paraphrased: favourite almost 5 year old: that’s not a ball, it doesn’t even bounce! That’s just your socks in a big lump! favourite three year old: *picks up my ball and being the ever helpful child went and put it in the hamper and forgot about it* At that point I thought back to all the times when I was a child and we would wait for break time in school or Saturday mid morning so that we could take off our socks make them into a ball to play kati with and then of course get in trouble when you went home with socks that had lost their ability to be worn without uselessly pooling at the bottom of your feet and sighed. That sigh when all you want to say is kids these days blah blah blah. I remember when bottle tops were entertaining and plastic bags were re purposed into soccer balls.

Regardless, I had a secret weapon with me – a Michael Jackson dvd. I don’t know what it is about his videos that put kids in a trance or make them so obsessed with him but thank goodness that they could preoccupy themselves trying to moonwalk or spin or whatever. So I got around to whatever I was supposed to be doing for the evening while absent mindedly answering random questions. This was where I got into trouble. Since the almost 5 year old has a birthday coming up she is obsessed with knowing everyone’s age and when their birthday is and whether she can go for their birthday. So she asked when MJ’s birthday was and I was like in August. Then she asked when she could go for his party and I was like “of course you can’t, he died.” Since I was only half paying attention it took me a moment to realize that the endless stream of questions had stopped. I looked up and she was looking at me with a mixture of horror, shock and surprise.

“He died?!!?”

This is the worst possible situation to be put in. That girl is obsessed with Michael Jackson, he is even above Hannah Montanah or whatever singers Disney is forcing upon the general public nowadays. He is the reason she wants a red jacket and curly hair for her birthday. It was akward when I had to explain why MJ was different colours in different videos. It was a bad situation when in the interests of accuracy I needed to explain some aspects of the Easter bunny. Mainly that he doesn’t lay those chocolate eggs that he brings to people’s houses. Secondly that he can’t lay eggs at all (baby bunnies don’t hatch from an egg like a chick or a dinasour) and thirdly anything that looks like chocolate that comes from a bunny’s bottom should be avoided at all costs. When she was about to swear off Cadbury’s mini chocolate eggs I decided that some things are better left to parents to explain and that I should keep my mouth shut.

And seriously, I thought the reason all kids are obsessed with ‘Thriller” and whatnot is because at some point last year you couldn’t escape those videos. Maybe it’s just me but under list of things to know like a Kenyan is half responsible for Barrack Obama being on this earth and other facts maybe someone could add the fact that the King of Pop died? Then some of us wouldn’t be caught between a rock and a hard place.

Anyhoo. As I was trying to think a way of backing out of the whole “your musical idol is dead and no birthday for him” moment and wondering if I was in a position to explain death to a child the questions began. When did he die. Why did he die. I told her he died last year cos he was really sick. Then the real explaining had to begin. No, sweetie, you won’t die cos you have a cold. That isn’t nearly sick enough. The three year old was just distraught when she was informed authoritatively that Michael Jackson won’t be coming back and she thought that meant no more music.

Luckily, their parental units found it just hilarious and assured me I hadn’t traumatized the kids in any way though I was convinced that at some point I’ll be asked to contribute money should the almost five year old have to visit a shrink in like ten years. Especially since I heard that she has spent every moment alternating between telling everyone Michael Jackson died and that if they get sick they’ll die too.

Now that I’ve removed the cobwebs from the blog with this post maybe I can get to the drafts lying around and post them later this week. That’s not a promise though cos me and my procrastination …. wacha tu.

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Of Pipe Dreams and Expectations or Why Abstinence Only Education Sucks

This was going to be a comment over here but because I get long winded sometimes it turned into a post instead.

If its one thing I must give my mostly conservative parents credit for, it’s for trying. They weren’t very comfortable discussing sex but my siblings and I had the basics down. We spent Saturday afternoons complaining about being sent for youth seminars that turned out to be sex education talks. Books were bought and handed to us and we were encouraged to ask questions if we needed more information (even though the looks on their faces clearly showed that they were dreading any questions that might pop up). My friends’ parents too were determined to educate the people their children hung out with. I once went for a sleep over and lo and behold, we were taken to a counselor’s office the next afternoon and told all about the horizontal mambo and how, when the time comes, we will get to experience it. Not that we were being given permission to go out there and get busy – we were always reminded how its always good to wait and not be gullible and its always best to wait until marriage.

So by the time I got to high school, a 13 year old who had never been away from home I knew some things. You can still get pregnant even if you have sex standing up, underwater or even if he withdraws at the moment of reckoning. That condoms and heat don’t go well together and that they also have expiration dates. That I was being sent to a girls boarding school so that I could be far far away from boys and all their temptations (also known as focusing on your studies/your future is important). Then, my naïve self was not considering having sex, raging hormones or no. It was an inconceivable to me at the time but I was informed.

Enter the troupe of sex education specialists (I’m not sure what else to call them) who do the rounds at schools. To this day, I sincerely believe they did us a disservice. I was in form 2 I think and we were called to the school hall to receive “the talk”. First, they told us we were all beautiful flowers and special in our own way. Then, we were informed how every time we had sex, we lose a petal and if you keep at it all that will be left is a stem and thorns. As an adult, this is very disturbing imagery – if all my petals are still there when I get married does that mean that my hubby will strip them all away? Anyway, after the flowers story they went on to say how boys and men will say anything to get you into bed (true) and that until you get married sex is bad bad bad news. To show us how bad it is, we were told condoms don’t work, we will get pregnant and ruin our lives and that we will get AIDS and other icky diseases. Then they went on to show us exactly how icky they could be.

Truth be told, after the first few pictures I shut my eyes. The infamous “here are the diseased private bits of folks who had sex out of wedlock” slide show is something that may traumatize many but will not be a deterrent for long. I mean, how many thousands of high school students saw that and still went on to have sex, protected or otherwise? After the slide show, we were told to keep the horrors and the “you are a special flower” portions of the talk to heart and to join True Love Waits. Aaaand … that was it. Basically, the message was, sex diminishes you. If you have it before you are married, you will get pregnant, get an STD, watch your privates deteriorate and maybe get a death sentence via HIV. With this info, we were supposed to go out into the world, confident and knowledgeable in all matters sexual. This whole abstain or suffer/die message is one that will be ignored by the majority and statistics of teen pregnancies, HIV infection rates and pre-marital sex back me up.

I won’t knock any one person who decides that celibacy or abstinence is the path that they want to take. All I can say is, more power to them. It’s not an easy choice and if you manage to stick to your guns to the end then you should be applauded for making a decision as to how to live your life. Fact remains that like 99% of people living on this earth will at one point or another engage in sexual activity. Question is, by teaching abstinence only education aren’t we not being realistic and neglecting to give much needed information that we all need to know? In my experience, abstinence only education is full of guilting, shaming and misinformation. Feel bad about your sexual feelings, even though they might be natural. Those dirty thoughts you are having make you unclean and you must cease them at once! If you have sex, condoms don’t work anyway and you will still get infected. This is my main issue with it – because absent of the required info that comprehensive sex education gives there arise many issues. Like teens engaging in unprotected sex cos they figure they don’t need condoms and thus pregnancy and STD rates going up. And filling in the blanks of what they don’t know with other sources like their friends, television, magazines and the internet. Filling in the blanks isn’t always bad, there is good stuff to be learned out there. But, those myths about sex don’t spread themselves and I’m sure most would rather that if one were to learn about these sorts of things they do it from the experts and folks in the know and not Mills and Boons books and a know it all friend who in the end, knows not much at all. It’s like getting all your news from the forwards that show up in your email inbox instead of reading a reputable newspaper or watching news of maana. We would find anyone who did so ignorant and a bit daft, why should matters pertaining to sex be any different?

Its not like walking down the altar is a magic bullet – married people still get HIV and other diseases cos a lot of people are not faithful. Saying the vows is no shield against the realities of this world so having folks knowledgeable will always be useful even after they say “I do.” I find it frustrating that so many out there act like discussing sex with teenagers once they become of age is going to result in all of them humping like rabbits as soon as all the adults are out of sight. The theory, if you can call it that, goes that if they are “protected” from the more salacious details then they won’t know what they’re missing and wont be tempted to go out there and experiment. I keep having this conversation over and over with different groups of people and I’m fresh out of ways to communicate that infantilizing anyone, young or old will get you nowhere and will yield results opposite of what you want.

Information is not the devil. We all need it, young and old. I understand that there may be some who have moral objections to having frank discussions about sex and want to believe that it should be limited to a special club and anyone outside those boundaries should be excluded until they are ready. Here’s the thing – you can’t decide that for others. You cant turn a blind eye to the way things are and how they always have been (that is, humans like sex, they enjoy it and will have it come what may) and then act shocked when keeping folks in the dark just makes things worse. Give people the facts and then let them decide what to do with them but don’t deny them access to it just because you are uncomfortable – the consequences of that are too horrible to imagine and if you get your head out of the sand long enough you’ll see that its happening all around you already.

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Shuga …

listening to: Rock Box – Run D.M.C

I’m quite aware that events in this world do not occur in a bubble. I figure that this is a statement I have to open up with because I have been accused of being contrarian when it comes to my opinion on pop culture and our relationship and reaction to it. I’m the first to roll my eyes when it’s claimed that xyz show has corrupted the “youth” or giving folks the wrong idea about a certain subject. However, I am aware of the fact that we are influenced by what we read see and hear. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – somewhere between the idea that TV, movies etc are to blame for all dodgy societal behaviour and the school of thought that it occurs in a vacuum lays the truth. And that truth is that the issue is more complex that people give it credit for which is what makes discussions about it so frustrating.

As an aside, you know who annoy me? Uppity folk who figure that they are above pop culture. They get up on their high horse and sniff about how they cant believe people can be so stupid as to be influenced by a random movie or song. Of course, this they say as they carry around the coolest new phone that has been heavily advertised, use words that were clearly picked up from the top forty charts and dress in a manner that show that clearly they read GQ and Cosmopolitan on a regular basis. In my opinion they are just as bad as those who flip out about every little thing on out there as being bad for us. Its like surely, give the human race some credit but dude, you aren’t as smart as you think.

Which brings me to Shuga. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it because I was like finally, a show about sex and HIV that doesn’t talk down to its audience or treat them like daft children. In my opinion, people related to it a lot because they were able to see themselves, or someone they know in similar situations. This review by Kenya Christian disagreed and he or she saw it as importation of “western ideals” which I find baffling. The comment I left on the blog is still stuck in moderation I guess, but this is what I wrote:

i’m not sure what you refer to as “being imported from the west” and “foreign ideas”. is it that they were having sex? cos even before shuga, mtv or even a tv station that wasnt KBC folks were cheating on each other, having sex for jobs and money and having multiple partners. and yes, this included the church going, choir singing folk.

the reason why shuga resonates with so many is that it doesnt treat its intended audience like they are stupid. we all know these things go on. the story in itself shows the consequences of unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners and sex under the influence of alcohol. is your issue with the love scenes shown? in your opinion,would it (the show) have been up to par had they not been included? im seriously asking by the way, not being rhetorical or anything.

by the by, the lip lock on the church steps? in my view, not frisky (quite chaste actually, considering all else that was going on) and something i know for a fact goes on on church grounds.

in conclusion (i apologize for rambling all over your comment box) shuga is unmistakably kenyan. whether you may agree how kenya is or not is a whole different issue.

Over at SolidFreshDope’s Blog, she was able to bring  her perspective as  trained peer educator. I do wonder though, for those who found Shuga unpalatable was the issue the fact that it had some love scenes and didn’t show lovers walking into a room and shutting the door all mysterious and coy like or the fact that it showed young people having sex at all? Because, strip away the partying and the making out … does the message still come through, is it relevant? Maybe it is the way in which it came across and the vessel in which it was delivered? This I am curious to know because I want to know how conservative folk reacted to it.

For those who are like, what in the world is she talking about and why is Shuga being misspelled behold the awesomeness of shows being uploaded on the internet:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

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Of Second Guessing Yourself And Empathy

listening to: Janet Jackson – Anytime, Anyplace

Nothing can be as crippling as second guessing oneself. If let to linger it can be paralyzing, leaving you standing still and doing nothing as the world first urges you on, yells at you to get over it and move on and finally throw up its hands in exasperation at your lack of activity.

Of all the times and places I second guess myself, this space is not one of them. Here, I don’t have to worry about run on sentences, being grammatically correct or even writing something profound. Its just a place that I use to blow off some steam, be irrelevant, jot down some ideas and thoughts, to hit the reset button before I get back to the real world. So when yesterday I found myself mulling over whether or not I should hit the publish button and read and reread what I had written over and over it gave me pause. I have shaken it off however – as long as its still something I enjoy doing blogging is something I will continue to do.

—-

Have you ever had one of those moments where you figure that if hell exists you will be going there with your undergarments doused in petrol? Someone I know lost a pet, and that’s something I can sympathise with because as someone who has owned several of them I understand how attached you can get to them. I once had a cat called Dave and if you asked some people they would swear that he was my first born child. Not that I dressed him up in ridiculous outfits or fed him lobster but compared to how others treated their cats he was royalty. When I left home I was in tears about leaving my family and loved ones behind and yes, this included Dave. So loving a pet I get. Here’s the thing though – her pet was a gold fish.

I wont even lie, the first thought that came to mind was “mmm, fried fish*!” then, having realized the absurdity of that I started laughing and couldn’t stop. By the by, my soul may never recover from the withering looks that were sent my way for the rest of the afternoon. Thank goodness that my fried fish thought was never uttered out loud cos I think there would have been nasty words exchanged. So, after I stopped laughing I pulled my friend aside and apologized – I may not understand how one becomes fond of a fish since you can’t pet or cuddle it and interaction is limited but that was no excuse for my attack of the giggles. Thankfully, she knows me well enough to know I wasn’t being deliberately malicious and all was forgiven. When she is ready, we are going to the pet store to pick out new gold fish, though I have been told that I’m not allowed to name them since I was in favour of the name Ambrose for a boy fish which seems perfect but she clearly didn’t agree.

I have been thinking a lot about empathy recently. It started off when I was with a group of people, shooting the shit and discussing random things and there was a casual acquaintance who seemed to have none whatsoever. Kenya being colonized? Our ancestors totally got what was coming to them, they should have fought harder and smarter. (yes, he is Kenyan which makes it all the more mindboggling). The holocaust – were he there he would have done everything he could to leave the country and had he been gassed, its cos he didn’t try hard enough. Any example you brought up he would refuse to put himself in anyone’s shoes and sympathize or empathize. It was all about getting ahead, winning, being number one. I can understand the go getter attitude – living in this country for any period of time is bound to bring it up in anyone. But seriously, someone who won’t identify with the struggles of anyone else cos they “lost” is seriously unsettling to me. I told him as a Kenyan in a country that dislikes immigrants and black folks especially those who happen to be both I hope that everything goes smoothly and that he never has to rely on the benevolence of someone who understands where he is coming from. If its one thing I am sure of is that karma can be a vindictive bitch sometimes and will strike when least expected.

Here’s the thing – as humans, there are bound to be some things we will be unable to understand. Or refuse to. There are some criminals we couldn’t fathom being able to identify with, there are some situations we can’t relate to. But often, it’s the little things that we have in common that remind us that though we may not have a shared experience that doesn’t negate someone else’s or make them less than you. Its all about embracing the saying “I am because you are” and living it. Whether that means not laughing at someone who lost a loved one, even if it is a fish or going out there and spending your time with others who may not be as lucky as you are even as you claim your life totally sucks. Its easy to be very individualistic to the point of myopia in this world but I think its always safe to remember “There but for the grace of god go I.” you never know, next time, it could be you needing a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, even if it is because you lost your pet gold fish.

*to be honest, part of the reason my first thought went to fried fish was because of this story about a woman frying and eating her boyfriends’ goldfish for revenge. Local area news can be hilarious sometimes.

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