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.