PROCASTINATION; MY UNDOING

My brother’s school is very close to our house. It’s literally a minute’s walk to that school. They had their prize giving day yesterday, a day that also counted as their official closing day. My elder sister was the parent for the day. As for my Mum and I we were to travel. Actually she was to travel but she extended an invitation in my direction and I said why not? For us to leave the estate, we have to pass through the school’s field. As we were passing, the MC or someone was calling out names of the kids receiving gifts. Best Student, Most improved. Then came the most discipline. And without even thinking, I quickly said ‘mummy hapo nae wako hayuko’ and to my surprise she was not even mad. Instead she added ‘ingekua ni naughtiest ningekubali…na si leo wamedrag hii event yao’.

It was only then that I realised it was already 1pm. Yet our scheduled departure time was 11am. This is where the relevance of the topic comes in. We were late. Not because I did something but because mum picked that day to be a tailor. Work she had procrastinated for months. If this thing is hereditary then I got it. And I got it big time.

My procrastination does not choose when to manifest itself. It can happen anytime.

Back when I was still a student, ok it’s just been a month but still, I was never on time for my classes. I tried, I failed. If I had a class at 10am, I knew deep down that I was supposed to start getting ready latest by 9am. But somehow I would convince myself that there was still time. I would end up getting ready past 10. At which point, I was already late. The same applied to studying where I would keep on telling myself ‘I will do it’. I would reassure myself of the abundant time available, only to end up doing it in the last minute. The only thing that motivated me was the last minute pressure associated with studying. But I have survived school; I should be able to handle anything.

While writing this, I have left a month-old pile of clothes back home that are in desperate need of my services. I know am supposed to do my laundry but somehow I keep finding clean clothes and that has sort of made me very lazy and succumb to the spirit of procrastination. A week ago, I told my sister to wake me up while she leaves for school so I can get time to do my laundry. She kept her word. She woke me up. I woke up, looked at the pile on the chair (you know that designated chair whose sole role in a house is to carry clothes that just can’t find their way to the wardrobes or wire lines? That chair), looked at the time, and told myself 30 more minutes of sleep won’t make a difference. Well a week down the line and here we are. This is just not right.

To prove just how much this is a problem let me give another scenario. I have known since my last post that I will be posting exactly after a fortnight. But what did I do about it? Nothing. I kept telling myself ‘there is still time’ over and over again that I believed it. Until there was no time and I just didn’t know which of the five unfinished stories I should focus on for publication. Since I could not decide, reality is I postponed even making the decision, I texted my partner Lewis to write this week instead. He wanted a reason. I mean how was I to tell him directly that my procrastination tendencies are closing in on me? So I evaded the question all together. I then told myself that by the end of Monday, I will have written something, we edit and wait for Wednesday to publish. Well, you’ve guessed right, I had nothing by the end of Monday. It’s not like I don’t have something to write. I have tonnes to write. Tonnes. I just can’t stop postponing.

In related news, I have a 100paged document I should be editing, and a business plan I should draft. Both of which I have not even started. I don’t know when to start. What I know is I should start. ASAP.

I love travelling, but only when it’s spontaneous. If it’s planned, I will just come up with the craziest excuse to push it. I should have been in Nakuru weeks ago, but I kept postponing that for weeks. Until there was no other chance. My problem is real.

Have you ever sent a message to someone and you are still waiting for an answer? It could be as you are reading this or even before. The wait could be any duration. From one minute to one day and to infinity. Well, I have this problem even with messages. Sometimes I get a message, I read it, I draft a reply in my head and tell myself I will get back later to reply. Then I just don’t. Because with procrastination, comes forgetting. It’s a very bad thing I know, but sometimes I just can’t help it. I am working on that though, it can be an emergency one day, right?

I am beginning to imagine my procrastination is fuelled by my deep love for doing nothing all the time. In other words known as laziness. One of my most peaceful moments apart from sleeping is when am doing nothing. There is no pressure in that. Because of this, I have a habit of cancelling things.

The other week I had a meeting in Maseno scheduled for 11am. I did my best to ensure am not late. But that procrastinating spirit embedded deep in my core kept telling me ‘how about we just push this meeting to I don’t know…later? Next week maybe…or just another time. Let’s just do nothing today’. I was almost making the call to cancel when the other party called and rescheduled it to half past 11am. It was the best the universe could give me for my dilemma. I took the deal.

It’s always said ‘denial is the first step of acceptance.’ I am done denying my procrastination. I now accept I have a problem. And am afraid it may be my undoing.

WHAT IF MY MUM BLOGGED ABOUT ME?

The other day we were having a talk with Princess; sharing on how friends and family are not into the business of sharing some stuff with us without having to remind us how we can turn anything into a story. I have a friend, whenever we are in a group, he tells the others to mind what they do or say because I might ‘broadcast them’. After doing a story on her house, how she was being deprived of sleep the day she decided to catch some, guys now think she will pull one again. Even I think that. Well, it’s good I don’t go saying things my Mum does to me. Like when I inform her of my birthday and the best she tells me is that she is busy. I am not planning to tell people about it. In fact, I won’t share it. I can’t tell on my mum, the spirits can not allow it. Well, what if she was the one doing the writing and had to write about me?

One thing that I know, if she were to keep a blog about me, she would definitely start from my birth. She won’t talk about the long nights they had before forming me, some things are better kept between the parties involved. She will dive straight to me causing her the wildest morning sickness she ever envisioned even in her wildest dreams, most definitely how she had dreamt about episodes of having me; how the thought of me growing inside her made her feel. The first time I kicked in her and how she went to share with Dad. She would go to him and tell him how his good work was kicking and strong. Then they would throw giggles at each other, as my Dad would move closer to the protruding belly to feel those kicks as well.

Some days after my birth and fast growing, she will wake up and talk about the relationships I keep. She would say how I was this soft collected kid. A kid who doesn’t pull tantrums at the wrong time and place, like a kid who throws tantrum when there is no one else in the vicinity. What is that? I mean when you want to pull a tantrum why not wait for visitors to come then pull the mother of all tantrums, you will definitely win. She would be taking the credits for making me grow in the right way. She will be talking about my first times, the first time I used potty, the first time the neighbor’s kid claimed that I hit him and the kind of talk that ensued between the parents. How I reacted when they brought home my younger brother and how after years, I would still breastfeed with my bro. I bet that explains the thing I have with boobs. You should also realize that denying me access to boobs is torture.

She must talk about my schooling life. The way I wore my school uniform for the first time ready to go to school only to return home crying that the sun was too much for me. If there is one thing that would have made me drop out of school when I was young, it was the sun. I mean if you have been to Kisumu, you understand what am talking about. I think scientists are right when they claim that the sun first hits the ground before it bounces back on us. Even though experiments rarely use human specimen, I am a walking experiment. I was able to beat the sun, am convinced nothing can stop me in my journey of knowledge acquisition now. I have this feeling that I am going to learn a lot and that I have some years of ‘class’ ahead. I also know my mum would muse over the report form talks we had. How I was a bright student (all parents thinks their kids are bright) who couldn’t just do it right, by right I mean ‘top 3.’ I do believe that explains the reasons why letters attended most of my parent days if not all.

One day she might decide to humor her readers by telling them stories of how she always won any ‘war’ between mother and son. She will talk about her eldest son asking her to pay back her debts. Debts that were actually her own money if you did a critical audit trail, therefore justifying her refusal to pay. She would write about how sometimes her attempts to instill discipline in her son were translated as wrong doings, and how she saw no point in apologizing for such moments.

How about the dreams she has for me? I do believe that parents have a given way that they picture their kids growing. They have everything laid out in their minds. How you should grow, how you will be wearing, the kind of people you should interact with, the kind of courses you will study, the life you lead and at what age. I know she would write about how worried she is that I am done with campus yet I have never taken someone home. How her efforts to try hook me up with ladies before has failed. I tell you if those attempted hook ups were to all to go through, then I would be a man of many ladies at the moment. I mean how can you afford to break a heart that is given to you by your Mum. Isn’t that the epitome of disrespect? I know she will be sharing how concerned she got when she had to inquire if my brother can be able to be laid in my house. In short, if I had chapni to officially open it. Given that she is free spirited, I don’t think she had a hard time asking, it’s only that she was getting worried I might to be slow. Which parent wishes for a slow kid for the elder son?

I know she won’t miss sharing on the way things are panning out as compared to the life she had envisioned for me. How she feels when at some point, I display the characters that shows that I am inclined to my Dad’s side. How does it feel like raising a kid she doesn’t want turning out like the love of her life? I mean how it feels when the best warning you can give to a son is, “this line that I see you take, I see you turning out like your dad.” Some days she will also talk of the times that I make her proud. The times when I do things until she feels like being a mum, to me specifically, is the best thing that ever happened to her.

I can tell you if my mum was to blog about me, the rants, the advices, the moments and just everything she would want to tell the world about me would be too much. She would name her blog something fancy like www.adailydoseoflewismartin.com. This is something she would think about daily, because she will be posting after an interval of 24hours. I know she would make many parents want to be parents and just have kids to share their lives with. She would have a good supportive audience and will be making her life from that point. She would feed me by writing about me.

Well, for now she doesn’t have a blog. She only has me. I run a blog where I can write things about her like I just did this. She doesn’t know about it just yet, she won’t even know I thought of her blogging about me. I would say my mum is more of this old school in a cool way. She is into everything modern except tech. How cool is that? My little bro knows how to take advantage of that. He once told some clingy lady trying to get to him through my Mum, “please don’t disturb my Mum, she is old, she can’t even read the texts you send her.” I won’t even have to worry about making sure we aren’t friends on social media because we never know when I can get wild. Now I am imaging when I explain to her my blog. She will tell me, “I bust my ass to pay all that money in campus for you, expecting to see you in television or the Standard and Nation only for you to come here with this joke!!” So for the sake of peace, let me keep this until I have had a good reason to present it to her. A better reason other than passion and from time to time touching lives.

All in all, if my Mum blogged about me, it would be the blog to watch for. It would give many a run for their money.

Meeting Old Friends

The other day, I was to meet my class 5 crush for the first time since I transferred schools in class 5.

He suggested Tuskys. It is one of the few places I avoid in Kisumu. If you ever lie to anyone that you are away from town, do not and I repeat, do not show up in Tuskys, you will meet. I assure you there will be no way you can hide. Tuskys is the ideal meeting spot for the people you intend to avoid. It doesn’t help that it’s the only mall next to the main stage. It also hosts the only KFC place in Kisumu. I still can’t understand Kisumu people’s obsession with this place. In short, Tuskys is a place to avoid if you don’t like crowds. Human traffic is guaranteed. It is this same Tuskys that Crush chose. So I said ‘why not?’

When we met, we had the usual pleasantries, which were full of ‘I can’t believe it’s you’ ‘waaaaa’ ‘so we finally meet’ ‘you look so lovely’ ‘I still can’t believe it’s really you’ and my favorite ‘you are beyond what I expected’. A girl can be flattered. A girl can blush. We decided to find a place to seat and talk. We had over a decade to catch up on. Just after passing the security point, which by the way I found to be shitty, we met another class 5 classmate, the best friend to Crush. I immediately knew there would be a change in plans. We will call him Best Friend. I am not using anyone’s name here today.

We catch up for some time creating a minor traffic at the shitty security checkpoint. Finally, we all agreed to go for bhajias. When you visit Kisumu and you happen to be in the mood for some bhajias, the place to be is at Mama Hassan’s. It’s located in Ondiek estate, just a few minutes from Tuskys mall. Best friend was in the company of a petite girl, who looked like his girlfriend (I will justify that) and another guy who was in denim. I hope you are all getting their names. Just in case you are lost, there is Crush, Best Friend, Petite Girl and Denim Guy. Now keep up please.

We leave Tuskys and head to Mama Hassan’s. Let me tell you why this place is sacred to those like me who have no problem eating junk food. Mwitu to be specific. One, Mama Hassan has been there for as long as I can remember. Two, her bhajias are just heavenly, mouthwatering. Three, there is something called loyalty. It cuts across several avenues. Salons, Barbers, and now as you have all learnt, food kiosks. Four, my sister recommended it sometime. So the fact that my sister, who does not know Kisumu so well, found this place means it is the best. I could go on and on, but this is not a marketing post.

Just as we approach Mama Hassan’s, Petite Girl says she knows a different place that is actually good. She gives us an impression of this new place; there is no waiting and that we would get seats fast. Unlike Mama Hassan’s place, there are few people. She goes further and tells the rest of the group to go to Mama Hassan’s if they are not for it but as for her, she was going to the other place. Best Friend, or as I would say Suspected Boyfriend, asked for our opinion. Now I knew it was just for formality purposes because the facts were 1) There was no way Best Friend was going to a different place from Petite Girl 2) There was no way Crush was going to a different place from Best Friend and 3) The moment that division option was brought up, we were all going to the new place. These were facts. A chain rolling out.

That was my cue. I should have just created some ridiculous story and excused myself from the group but I didn’t. I also needed to hang with old friends. Crush to be specific. It had been a decade! All this, for my class 5 crush. Dude you owe me better bhajias.

The other place wasn’t as promised. One, there were no seats. Two, there was a crowd. Three, there was a waiting line. We were group #3. Each group waited at least 30minutes. Do the math. In short, I was missing Mama Hassan’s place. Petite Girl decided to look for seats. As for me, I was targeting the group that was doing literally nothing next to us. They had eaten. They needed to leave. Well, they did leave and we got their seats.

And so the wait began… and my observing eyes began to work…

When you use observation for content, you need things to be real, not stage-managed. Therefore, I was counting on that just in case I decided to write about the place. Crush however decided to issue out a warning to everyone. “Be careful what you say, and how you act. She is a writer and she can be savage. The other day alimulika a guy just for tweezing”. How do you get real content when everyone is now on the alert? You employ patience. Eventually people let their guards down. Am not savage in my posts. That’s just a misconception. Sort of.

Let me give you all a picture of how the place looked like. It is an outdoor eating shack with two possible seating areas, outside the compound and inside the compound. The seats are plastic chairs that are available depending on your arrival time and the willingness of the previous occupants to vacate the said seats. Everything was being done manually or rather traditionally. The potatoes were peeled with knives, and later cooked using three stones and a huge black pan half filled with oil. A duck kept patrolling the area at intervals of 10minutes. A baby was crying, I never got why. She was a lovely girl in pink. Her mother however thought it wise to plait her half-haired head. I think this was just torture. Why punish a child like that? Maybe that is why she kept crying. The cooking staff were for lack of a better word, very slow. For a place with that much traffic in form of customers, their service delivery was uncharmingly (this is not even a real word) slow.

It was half an hour since we had arrived and still we were nowhere close to being served. Petite Girl later suggested we all move into the compound and not outside as we had initially positioned ourselves. Best Friend had to ask (formality) if we are ok with that. We had to be. Refer to the facts previously stated.
Inside the compound, I had no view of the activities going on outside, like the progress of our ordered Bhajias.

After minutes of waiting to be served, the lady in charge comes and takes our order. Five plates of bhajia. Pretty simple huh? Well it wasn’t to her. After all that waiting and finally getting some hope she comes back with just two plates. Two plates! We were five! She smiles at all of us and says, “Aki nikienda kuosha plates ule aliuza order yenu”. You don’t play people like that when it comes to food. I pitied Denim Guy most. He had reached out for a plate, which he had to let go, so that the ladies in the team can have the first share. Being a gentleman needs its time-outs. I did feel for him. Unfortunately, it’s only he who was waiting. Crush joined me. Best friend joined Petite Girl. (I promised to tell you why I suspected Best Friend was Boyfriend, right? This is the place. They shared Petite Girl’s plate. She gave him her juice when Denim Guy snatched his and I could swear it was during this time that I heard one of them calling the other ‘babe’. It could also just be my overactive imagination)

Best Friend was making some calls to other friends to join us. His only problem was giving the directions to where we were. Petite Girl took it upon herself to confuse the crap out of the guy more. ‘Tell them to come near the old VCT’ ‘tell them to come to Akinyi’s (not the real name) place’ ‘tell them to use Ondiek’ and many more tell thems. Well, somehow the friend found the place. I was expecting a crowd. It was just one person.

The whole team got to some catching up. I noticed Petite Girl did not talk much. She just stayed in her corner as if studying all of us. It was sort of like what I do when am in a crowd of new people. Denim Guy would join in only when there was a jab being thrown at someone. I guess he feared whatever he said might be used against him in this piece. The talkers were Crush and Best Friend. One discussion however caught my attention. Straight guys really feel a strong sense of repulsion towards the gay guys. Everyone except Denim Guy had an experience with a gay person and the tone in their voices when speaking of such moments oozed nothing but disgust. I will not share the stories. This is already longer than I expected.

Everyone got their share of bhajias eventually. It was lovely to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

It was getting late and I needed to go home.

GOODBYES ARE OVERRATED

Lewis was to write this week, but due to some very real reasons (that I will not mention), and definitely not excuses, he could not. Therefore, I will fill in this week. In all honesty, I had nothing to do so this wasn’t a big deal to me. Finishing school can have that effect on someone.

The past few days have been full of farewell parties, last time photos and ridiculous amounts of goodbye(s). Almost everyone I know is saying goodbye to someone or something. A good percentage saying goodbye to 8-4-4 system. I am among this group. It’s been a long academic journey from the times when we would draw grasshoppers to crooked Kenya and Africa maps to brains and the whole human body. In the spirit of appreciating the 8-4-4 system, maybe one day I will be asked to draw a grasshopper in an interview panel and man will I thank my teacher for the lessons, at the same time giving the interviewers an ‘I got this’ look. It’s a look full of confidence.

So back to the main point, goodbyes. In my opinion, just as the title clearly stipulates, they are overrated. How many times have you cried when saying goodbye to someone only to realize a day later that you did not even think of them in the 24hours you had? This is obviously rhetorical so moving on… How many times do we say goodbye to people with promises of ‘we will talk’ ‘keep in touch’ ‘I will miss you’ and yet never keep the very promises. The contact information becomes one of the many contacts in your phonebook never meant to be deleted, just in case. Just in case you visit a town they are in and you need a host. Alternatively, just in case you meet one day, you want to be the one who never deleted the number. It will be even more advantageous on your side if the person has a new number, and does not have yours. You can always pull the Your-phone-is always-off-whenever-I-call card. Works every time!

This is not the first time I am leaving a learning institution. This is not the first time I am parting ways with friends. And of course, I mean this with distance as the factor and not any drama. I have been in boarding schools most of my life so I know what it means to say goodbye to years of friendship when eventually everyone has to go back home and the probability of a meeting is at 0.05%. I said goodbye to my primary school friends. Those I am still in touch with are few, but still more than I expected. I expected zero communication. I can say thanks to social media. I said goodbye to high school friends and it is the same case with a little upgrade in form of auto books. They were ordinary books with many celebrity photos, and colorful writing with all types of pens. These books had five main categories, name, nickname (aka), hood, digitz (yes, that’s how we spelt digits back then), and the partying shot. Any other additional data was allowed as long as it was within your page allocation. The few special friends to the owner of the auto books would have the privilege of using two pages. That was an honour! This past week I said goodbye to my campus friends. The difference here is that this time round I was mature enough not to make a big deal out of a goodbye. The most my friends got from me was ‘safe journey’. And this is only for those I was in contact with while they were travelling.

What is the point of elevating something as simple as a farewell into a mountain of rushed, fake and unclear emotions that will only last the duration of the farewell after which everything resumes normalcy? Again, rhetorical.

As Africans, we have a ‘culture’ of making farewells such a big deal. Let’s take for instance a family member is travelling out of the country, especially when the destination is the USA. There will be a family get-together, a Harambee, and several meetings held all in preparation for the farewell of a family member. To me these farewells are just but a huge waste of money and time. At the end of the day, when this person leaves, chances of communicating with them are close to nil. The next time such a buzz will exist is when the said family member is set to return home. Then we start another episode of ‘Let’s waste money with an excuse’.

As I said earlier, I have had a week full of goodbyes. Classmates, friends, neighbours. Everyone was bidding everyone goodbye. Be it face to face, via a long emotional text that may or may not include an ‘I’ll miss you’ with a series of emojis that I find absurd, via social media with a long post about the journey of whatever it is you are saying goodbye to and its relation to you. In my opinion, we only say goodbye to the proximity, when it comes to people. I don’t see what else changes other than that. If there was good communication before, I do not see why that should change. If there was none, there is no point kissing each other’s you-know-whats (read that as a word that starts with an ‘A’) in the name of promising to keep in touch. It’s time to lose the façade. There is no point in creating an emotional environment with people when you know so well you have no intention of staying in touch with them. it’s better to let them go without any expectations. At least this way, when communication fails, no one is betrayed.

Do I sound negative? No? Wonderful.

In related news, we will be changing the design of this website soon. It’s a work in progress. But since am not one to make a big deal out of that, letting you all know is good enough for me.