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I really can’t tell what’s happening to me these days.

I miss kids like crazy.

I’d wish to really have some kids around me at this point in my life.

Does that happen to you?

When you see a child and you want to adopt them even if they are with their parents?

There is this other kid I wanted to adopt because my life is full of kids I want to adopt.

This one was a boy of about 7.

He was performing at a school concert a few weeks ago at a neighbouring school’s open day that we attended,me and my partner,Daisy.

By some accident of nature,I don’t have my own kids,neither does Daisy,my partner.

They were a whole bunch, dancing up on stage to Eddie Kenzo’s song Sitya Loss. Chubby boy with a gorgeous smile that never left his face and that boy could dance!

He had such a robust spirit, such a vim for life and he was there dancing upfront,
moving his chubby limbs, his large
cheeks strained in that lovely smile and
he was killing it!

I wanted to adopt that one even though I could tell his appetite would get me bankrupt in a week. Boys eat.

A boy eats anything.

If it doesn’t cause him convulsions,he will eat it.

I told some pal of mine this story, the
story about that boy, and he said it was kind of creepy.

He said that he has NEVER looked at someone’s child and thought he should adopt them.

Which made me wonder if I was growing to be a kind of a creepy middle-aged man.

Then another lady friend of mine mentioned that I should try meditation and yoga to- and listen to this – “calm my mind.”

This “craving” for other people’s kids must be coming from a “disturbed mind”,she said.

That I needed “clarity.”

You see a kid who dances in a school concert and suddenly people want you to have clarity!

Yogis are always trying to get the world to seek clarity.

They want you to “centre” yourself. I feel centred enough, thank you very much.

If I didn’t feel centred I would be jay walking.

I saw this other kid once at Kengele’s,ABC place,Waiyaki way, Lavington Curve, speaking on the mobile phone.

She was about 5/6years old,
protectively clutching a doll under her armpit.

“I was not sure what to order,” she was saying,”…yes, but last time I eated chicken wings…I ate chicken wings,…yes,….yes, but will Cynthia take me to see Garvin?…Why mom?”

Then she did something extraordinary, she looked at her phone and said, “ Wait, dad is calling me, wait a moment mom.”

And she pressed a button on her phone and said, “Hi dad… I’m fine…at Big Square, I am talking to mom, can you call me back after five minutes?” then she pressed another button and said, “That was dad, he was aksing where I am,” then at that moment the little spacecraft thing they give you when you order food started vibrating and lighting up on the table and she looked at it and simply told the mom, “Food is ready, I will call you
later,” and then hung up, pap without
any ceremony! Haha.

They always hung up fast when they see food.

I watched her and her nanny go to the counter to pick their order and I was completely mesmerised and in awe.

I sat there and thought, heck, what school does this kid go to?

I particularly loved how she said,
“aksing”, not “asking.”

Dad is aksing where I am.

I didn’t want her to leave. I wanted her
to stay there a little longer with her doll and receive a million calls for me to eavesdrop on.

She had these small podgy fingers with nails painted silver and with some princessy things on them.

Her feet dangled from the edge of the wooden seats.

Pretty as a goddamn picture,till it hurt my eyes,just looking at her.

I watched them leave.

The nanny carrying the food and her hopping and skipping along beside her confidently, with her doll and her
mobile phone that connects her to the
world.

A little girl who knows how to keep you on hold, pick another call and then put you off hold.

I struggle with that stuff, yet she did it one fluid motion and with such class: “Dad, can you call me back in five minutes?”

My God, I bet that kid eats Weetaflakes for breakfast and flosses her teeth twice a week!

She has always stayed on my head, that
kid.

I know this might sound crazy, but
I wanted to adopt her.

I wanted to show up with her in my house and my partner would ask, bending to greet her with a smile, “and who is this?” and I would tell her, this is Winnie-The-Doll and she would say, “OK, I know but who is this other pretty one?” and the little girl would speak up and say with confidence, “My name is Brenda,” Of course she is Brenda,nowadays nobody calls their kids Jane or Milka or Pamela.

That’s like buying an antiquated Motorola phone.

And Brenda and Winnie The Doll would sit and have milk and biscuits with us at the dining table.

Later,Daisy,my partner would summon me to the bedroom and ask, Who is that kid, is that your kid? and
I would say, No, relax, I saw her at Kengele’s food joint and I took her.

And she would look at me like I’d gone mad and ask incredulously, “You took her? Like you would take a free magazine?”

And I would say, “I mean, she didn’t mind, I think she is too cool, I heard her hold and unhold a call and I just had to take her…don’t you like her or her Winnie the Doll?” and she would hold her head in her hand like it’s going to explode and then motherly put one hand on my shoulder and say in a very slow tone, like I’m slightly younger than Brenda, “You can’t take other people’s kids from restaurants because you think they can swap through calls! It’s illegal. Now I
want you to take her back right now, her
parents must be sick of worry!”

Then I would ask if she can at least finish her milk and she will say sure, of course
then watch me leave the room with a
very worried look on her face.

Anyway, Daisy, my partner and my resident shrink on the house,sent me this Russell Simmons book called “Success Through
Stillness” co-authored by Chris Morrow.

It’s about how Russell, a hip-hop mogul,
found his stillness but I really never read
past the third paragraph and every time
she would call and ask me, “Ben, have
you finished the book?” I would say, “I’m
taking my time with it,” until finally she
asked, “You aren’t reading it, are you?”
and I said I wasn’t.

I said I had a clot in leg calf vein and
I have been waiting for it to disintegrate
first because really, I don’t think you can
“centre” yourself when you have a clot in
your leg. So now that the clot is no
more, I just have to read it.

But she also asked me to download this app called Meditation Made Simple by the same Russell Simmons and it promises to reduce stress, anxiety attacks and Insomnia, and to increase happiness.

How about that, an app that will
increase your happiness.

Regretfully , it didn’t mention anything about urges to adopt other people’s kids.

So this morning I started on my Buddhist meditation again.

I woke up at 5am and went to the sitting
room and sat in silence, eyes closed and
I played the app which is essentially
Russell Simmons asking you to breathe
in and out while swami-like music plays
in the background. “…to recognise all
the pauses between our breath in the
second of stillness…” Russell says sagely.

The whole point of the exercise is to
empty your mind of thoughts and find
peace.

But my thoughts refused to leave,I couldn’t focus.

I heard the wall clock tick loudly above, I heard the fridge hum and the water dispenser purr and outside the neighbour’s cock make a racket. (Oh boy,
I can’t even find stillness in a sentence
like that).

It was ironic that I heard more sounds while meditating than when I wasn’t.

It lasted ten minutes of me sitting there shirt less in my sleeping shorts, legs crossed like a swami, breathing in and out and trying not to imagine my partner walking out and finding me there, which wouldn’t surprise her because she already thinks I’m a bit crazy wanting to steal other people’s kids just because they are cute. Hehe.

She almost said that I’ve started “behaving like a woman”.

Which is why I think people should
meditate in a forest, probably Karura forest.

Or Ngong forest.

Talking of forests.

There was this time I was coming from my home town in Kiambu.

Driving back I found myself alone because the person I had gone with decided to stay behind.

So I was in the car alone and some chaps –probably some carjacker were trailing my car.

The previous night, I was out having drinks with my childhood buddies from my village.
I slept at midnight. Stupid. I know.

But have you ever dozed off at the steering wheel?

It’s the scariest thing ever!

An hour before I came to Karura Forest at Ridgeways,I was woken up with a start by the front wheel getting off the road.

My heart was pounding so hard I could feel it in my neck.

I rolled down all the windows, and
killed the heating system.

I called my friend Gitau who had made a short stop over in Kiambu town and said, Boss, I’m nodding off, can we meet up somewhere in Pangani and do a power
nap?

He said, “I was nodding off too, but
where do we stop man, where is this
place?” I didn’t know.

It was dark. And cold.

All I knew was that in the middle of Karura Forest and it didn’t seem like a
bright idea to just stop in that ominous
darkness.

I might wake up and find that some opportunists helped themselves to my car tyres as I slept.

But i said Heck and pulled over at the side of the road in a small clearing and blacked out.

When I woke up at 6.30am there was an
old man tapping on my window.

He had on those grungy hats farmers those sides wear with some a heavy brown jacket with a red collar turned up.

His face was weathered and curved like
something from a slave-movie.

He startled me.

I started the engine and rolled down my window slowly.

Here is the weird thing, In my confusion, I
thought it was an apparition. True story.

I thought I had died at the wheel because
of sleeping while driving and now,a saint
was here with his grungy hat.

He said something in Kikuyu and I thought, aah this is just great, now even a saint has to be a KiKuyu?

I said something in Kiswahili and he
asked me if we were OK and I said I had
slept, I was tired driving.

And he said, Ohh, “poleni kwa safari” (Sorry for a tiring journey and he trudged on, hunched over.

I went over and woke Gitau and the
rest up and went and peed in the bush.

Then I realised that I really needed to
use the bathroom so I went to the little
boma 50-meters away and found the old
man standing near his gate reading
smses on his feature phone and asked him if I could use his bathroom.

He pointed at this drop-toilet and I walked in, past mud-houses, a cattle shed, past a kitchen with musky three-stone smoke coming out of its door and when I got to the drop toilet I realised it had no tissue pape,r so I walked back and embarrassingly asked him if I could get some.

He called out a name, Wanjiku or Wairimu, I can’t recall, they all sound the same, and said something in Kikuyu and Wairimu or Wanjiku, a girl not more than 13, brought back a bunch of old newspapers which was a bit insulting because really, how big did she think my ass was?

When I came out, I found her waiting with a jug of warm water to wash my hands
and she poured the water for me, that
touched my heart out of me.

They warmed water for me! A stranger!

My goodness!

You know, as we drove back I thought to
myself that the old man could have been a saint after all.

You know how Jesus washed the
feet of his disciples? What are the odds?
We fell asleep on the wheel, we stopped
at some random and who knows,
dangerous part of the road and napped
and some old man, with a curved face
and a red collar gave me his toilet and
his daughter handed me old newspapers
and warm water to wash my hands.

What is that guys? Isn’t that the hand of
God? I don’t know what the Bible says
but I think this is how Jesus shows his
hand.

We will wait for burning bushes or tall men with white robes or hymns and
harps but that might not be Jesus.

When Jesus shows up he will show up in a
different form and we will miss it
because we will be looking out for
something that we have been
conditioned to believe.

Then I thought about Brenda and that old man and his red collar when I was trying to “centre” myself through Buddhist meditation in the morning.

I’m sure I saw the face of a saint in that misty dawn.

I don’t think I need any more centering or
meditation or even to buy a yoga mat.

I just need to close my eyes and think of a shy girl,Wairimu pouring me the warm water to wash my hands as the old man
pretended not to watch.

That is my centre.

That is stillness residing in my mind!.

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