Locked out !!

I’m wondering where to start this story. I could start with the flooded boat house … or the TZ stalkers, or the graduation … or the pointless keys…

Let’s start here. I’m doing some extra shifts at work. Which means I’m never home before nine. And that’s saying a lot, since I live five minutes from my office. People in Plot 8 usually hit the sheets early, unless there’s a soap on. Which means I get home to pitch dark flooded floors, and have to find some way to let myself in.

Now, tanzanian men have the strangest wooing habits on the planet. Not that I know much about wooing habits, since I generally do the wooing myself, and have no idea what it feels like to be katiwad. The TZ template is to pick a random suitable female and declare undying love to her, five minutes before she meets your parents.

It doesn’t matter that you’ve just met this girl, or that you don’t know her name. That can be sorted later. It’s happened to me a few times, and it must work on TZ girls or the guys wouldn’t do it so often…and also, the response to my refusal is always ‘We Mkenya, sio?

The second approach is to pick a random phone number, dial it, and whisper sweet nothings to whomever answers the phone. The more they hang up, the more often you call. I’ve had lots of phone stalkers, and the nothings can be pretty sweet, but I must say, it’s gets pretty old pretty fast.

I have called them names, ignored their calls, threatened police, and even asked my workmates to pose as irate husbands, but bilaz. The stalkers just keep calling back. And when you mark their number, they call from a different one.

Now the logical solution is to stop picking unknown numbers. But since my DNA includes genes for lost phones and ‘private calls’, I can’t quite do that. My relatives regularly hide their caller IDs, switch lines every three days, and you never know if that unfamiliar number is a dream job offer – it’s happened more than once.

So, what do phone stalkers have to do with anything? Well, Nelly, my governess, has a whole series of them. So when it hits 8 pm, she puts off her phone. Stalkers like to call after hours, coz that’s when we have longa longa and all those other ‘free call’ offers.

Now. My landlord, Babu, has a short temper and rebellious teens. So if he asks you to get home early one too many times, he just locks you out.

And last night, he did just that. I got home at 9.30 to see the said teens hovering in the neighbourhood, cold, soaked and hungry. And when I got to the gate, well, it was locked. From the inside. This is fine, I have a key, I can let myself in. BUT, when it’s locked from the inside, it needs to be opened from the inside.

It’s 9.30. I’m so tired that I look drunk, and I can’t get inside my house. So I called Nelly to open up. ‘Samahani, mteja wa nambari uliyopiga hapatikani kwa sasa.’ Her phone was off. Great. I stood there weighing my options. I could go back to the office, but it was locked. I could scale the wall – nah uh, he just raised it some inches. I could call the neighbours…hehehe, I don’t fraternize, so I don’t have their phone numbers. Plus it’s saturday night, they’re probably out. Just one option left.

Twelve rings later, the phone is answered. Sounds mad..and very sleepy. Not a good sign.


“Samahani, nimeshindwa kuingia.”

“Huna funguo?”

“Ninayo, lakini imefungwa kwa kitasa.”

“Sasa unataka nifanyeje?’

“Uko ndani ama nje?”

“Kwani wewe uko wapi?”

“Niko hapa nje, ndio nimetoka ofisini…samahani kwa usumbufu.”

[Eh, *M*, basically apologizing profusely for waking him, and explaining that I just got home from WORK and I can’t get in coz it’s locked from the inside. Then he asks me what the F {it was in his tone} I expect him to do about it]

The phone is hung up with a grunt, and a few minutes later, my grumpy landlord sends a kid to let me in. He doesn’t say a word – he’s still in semisleep – so he just zombies back to his side of the house. I am so not looking forward to morning.

PS : The graduation was da bomb! It was a beautiful ceremony : lights, gowns, cake, and Princess was starring in five different items including a Turkish song and some comedy sketch that I could make no sense of.

There were some kids who kept hogging the stage, but I think they’re staff children so nobody bugged them and they were, what, two years old? I felt sorry for the eight year old big sis who had to keep dragging them off kicking and screaming while the mother hid her face in embarrassment.

There were some pretty cool slide shows that made me glad I cough up that ridiculous fee, and Princess was in all the shots. Seems they agree that she has a great camera face; it’s not just a mum thing after all. 😉

I could share the more embarrassing details, but then she’d have to kill me. Photos…we-ell, let’s just say I got through two films, and most shots have my thumb in centreframe, but I can be bribed with chocolate by the few, mnajijua.

Oh, we got so soaked trying to get to the hall that Princess’ fashion show outfit was ruined and she had to wear a pinker dress. That worked out great though, coz instead of modelling, she ended up being MC !! How cool is that!! She looked sooo cute with her … I shall say no more on-blog, I love my windpipe. 😉

Oh, and I was so proud of this English Medium school, and of the sound education my girl is getting, especially when she did a brilliant [unintelligible] improv stand-up, and when the boy made a speech. What. I’m a mother. And he’s the only kid in her class that’s taller than her – she’s pretty tall. And he’s not Turkish. And he’s a good dancer. And he’s athletic [they did a lovely dance-aerobic session with pompoms and cartwheels] All good signs.

The kids’ English was brilliant until it got to the fashion show and the kids started with ‘I am Ilham, I am wear long dress. I am Shamim. I am wear jeans’ and I wanted to crawl under my seat! Fortunately the MC did not have to ‘I am wear’ anything, since she …okay, I’m not allowed to say that one either, but it was goooooooood !

Oh, it turns out that Tiger, he of Asian descent and beautiful hair, is not called Tiger at all, but rather Taiga. Who’d ‘a thunk!

And speaking of [mis]pronunciation, a while back, Leo and Marcus had a field day playing a soundbite of Kalonzo pronouncing the word ‘caricature’ as /karikachua/. I had to dictionary that word today, and guess how it’s meant to be pronounced ! It looks like Kalonzo’s English is better than we thought, and that me, Marcus, Leo, and a whole bunch of other people need to rethink our grasp of the English language…

In other news, I’m thinking of treating myself to a Nokia 2630 so I can take phoneshots and videos. I’ll go to a real dealer this time and get one that has hands that actually hold. And that comes in a box. It’s just over 5K and is reaaaally pretty. Pros and cons anyone?

Platonic vs S/O – how does this stuff work?

Here we go again.

Okay, I’ve established that we need time with our boys/girls even after we hook up, and that the agreeable ratio is 2:5, where two days go to your girls/boys and 5 days go to your significant other, with some time inbetween for family commitments that you can drag your pals or partner to.

But now I have another question. How do you balance your platonics with your lover? And by lover I mean your missing/extra rib, not your bedmate.

Here’s the thing. Before you started dating/courting/whatever, you had this pal or pals of the opposite sex whom you could tell anything. He’s the guy you dragged shopping with you coz you needed a guy opinion about how that outfit really looks on you, and whether it will really knock your jamaa’s socks off. She’s the girl you tried out your cooking on before risking poison on your significant other, the one who helped you buy a girly gift for the new woman in your life.

This is the person you talked to about crushes, loves, heartbreaks, the works. They have a mental flowchart of proceedings between you and your lover from day one to the current. They have enough blackmail material to blow you out of the water, and you know they’ll never use it. You have done everything but sleep with them [and possibly you’ve done that too, but you are not ‘in’ them right now]

So now it’s official with you and your girl/boyfriend, what happens to this platonic confidante? Do they suddenly fade out of your life? Do you stop sharing intimate secrets with them? Do they back off now that there’s a new Number 1 in your life?

Or tuseme they have acquired a girl/boyfriend of their own. What happens now? I know there are some obvious do’s and don’ts. Like you can no longer call them at 2 am to console you, coz they’re in bed with someone else, and possibly preoccupied, pleasantly or otherwise. You can no longer invade their digs unannounced. You probably have to give back the spare key. And you can no longer drag them shopping for intimates, coz their S/O won’t like it very much.

But what exactly can you do? How do you handle this? Do you tell your S/O that you’re going for lunch with Jack/Jill, your tight pal, do you sneak around to avoid upsetting your lover, or do you stop the lunches altogether?

As the significant other, how do you respond to Jack/Jill? Do you make friends with them to avoid hostility and custody wars? Do you tag along on all their meetings with your S/O? Do you silently seethe with jealousy? Do you ban them from your radius?

You, as the platonic, how do you deal with the S/O? Do you give up all territorial rights to your pal? Do you back off unless or until your pal calls you? What do you do when you desperately need your girl/boy – do you call and let them decide where the line is by turning you down?

Let’s say it’s 3 am, I just had a big fight with my boyfriend, and I really need my boypal to hold me together. Or it’s Vals, and i need to test out my new little black dress. Do I call guy-pal? Or do I respect his girl’s feelings and sort myself?

There’s about a million nightmare scenarios.

1. The girlfriend is uncomfortable with our friendship and tells him to choose. I respectfully stop seeing or calling him. Six months later, it’s my birthday, and it won’t be the same without him, so I call the GFH [girfriend-from-hell] and ask to borrow my boy-pal for a night. She refuses. Do I ignore her and call my boy-pal up, coz I know he won’t say no to me, even though it will cause a major break-up level fight between them?

2. I need a date for a work thing, and he knows me so well, he’d be the perfect one. Do I ask his girl to let me borrow him, or go over her head and ask him myself, risking a major break-up level fight between them?

3. The S/O says I can’t spend any time with my boy-pal unless she chaperones. Do I play along and have her eavesdrop on tales of my latest backfired date, or do I see him behind her back – if he’ll let me – knowing it will cause a major fight of…

4. I am moving and I need him to help me shop for electronics and move my furniture. If I ask her, she’ll say no way. Do I ask him behind her back and…blah blah blah?

Mind you I have nothing against this girl, she’s a darling, and cute too. It’s just that she’s dating my boy, we’re both the jealous type, and I was here first so…

Common sense says don’t discuss your S/O troubles with your best platonic, coz you’ll probably end up in bed together. I mean you know each other really well, so when you start telling this human being (who knows you so well) about another human being (who doesn’t know you as well as they should), you’ll start comparing and things can get tricky.

Common sense also says to keep your S/O out of temptation’s way, which means don’t let them be alone with someone who knows them better than you do. But I imagine trust is something you can’t really fight – if someone wants to cheat, they will, no matter how tight or loose their leash is. People don’t cheat because they can, they cheat because they want to. So there goes your excuse for tagging along on your S/O’s dates with his/her pal for ‘security reasons’.

My longest Ex once told me that he wished I’d dated more before him, coz then I’d know how to do these things. He also told me to go out more and meet more people, coz I’m like the hermit of hermits. I haven’t really mingled much before the internet, and am only now starting to have friends and friends, so now that my friend, my go-to guy, is getting hitched, I’m wondering where the line is.

I mean this is the guy who guides me on everything from hotspots of the male anatomy to demystifying the sock drawer. The one who hugs me when I’m embarassed, and explains the rules of cricket so that I can impress my date. The one who cooks for me when I’m sick and drops everything to help me out. And no, he is not secretly in love with me [i asked, several times], though I am on-and-off-not-so-secretly in lo…I mean lust with him.

All ye of experience at handling these messes, help !

Feelings shmeelings

I’ve been feeling kinda down lately. Couldn’t justify booze or valium, so I settled for Heroes, Gilmore Girls, psycho notes and weetabix.

Apparently, some people feel the need to express themselves, to share their innermost thoughts, to show their emotions. I’m one of those people.

Other people can’t be bothered with things like that, they just don’t see the point. They’re not repressed or anything, they just have no concept of emotional bonding. They find it about as useful as yoga.

I always say the world would be better if everybody just said what they really feel. It’d be easier for me anyway, coz then I wouldn’t keep having to read between the lines and second guess every word I hear.

Of course that’s part of the fun, figuring out what someone is really saying. But it’s a headache when the person isn’t ‘really saying’ anything, and of course, I can’t tell the difference.

But I’ve realised something. Saying it out loud isn’t always the best idea. Coz people have mind frames, biases, interpretation. They don’t always hear what you say, and it’s much more than just Venus or Mars.

Like in Gilmore girls, somewhere in season 2. Laureli tells Chris that she has subconsciously sabotaged all her relationships because she was waiting for him. What she was saying is that she loves him, that he’s her soulmate, but that she can finally let him go. What he heard is that it was his fault she had never been happy.

So expressing yourself sometimes does more harm than good, coz the person you’re talking at [sic] might be hearing something else. And if they’re not the kind who do emotions, you could end up in a lot of trouble.