I have this strange condition that I like to call … oh, I shan’t name it. I’ll just say that my ossicles, like a few other body parts, are extremely unfit. I could take the easy way out and blame it on too much wax, but I’m obsessive compulsive about cotton buds [er…cue-tips?] and shiny glass surfaces, so that can’t be it.

My lazy ossicles make it quite hard for me to communicate. Coz I suck at small talk to begin with, and thanks to my spiral ear thingies, I never actually hear anything until three seconds after it’s said. So depending on who you are and what you mean to me, my conversations have ‘what?’ and ‘pardon?’ instead of full stops. It’s why I write so much.

Here’s what happens. I usually talk in half-sentences, when I talk at all. So says my brother – my other brother, the one who sometimes has trouble understanding us. But my first brother, the one who sometimes knows what I’m saying, well, a typical conversation between us goes:

“Have you seen it? The shoe?”

“Near the door. For the kitchen.”

“Cool. And the ninii?”

“Nani kept it there near the ninii.”



At this point, my [slightly more] normal brother sighs dramatically and asks for a translation, and we wonder why. How I love my brothers. Christmas makes people think about family, and for the first time in many Christmases, I fully appreciate mine. Thanks guys, I love you. **hugs** I shall be working through Christmas, so I won’t see anyone who doesn’t reside on my office walls, but I’m with you in spirit.

Ahem , ahem, end of mushy moment. Moving along. Back to my condition. I think there’s some kind of delay between my ears and my brain. Someone will tell me something, and I’ll ask then to repeat it. Then before they can, the signal will reach the brain and I’ll respond.


Ranter : CB, where’s the cake?

CB : Huh?

Ranter : I said where’s the-

CB : Fridge, in the red dish.

Ranter : If you heard me, why did you make me repeat myself?

CB : Ati?

Ranter : If you heard me the fir-

CB : Oh, I didn’t.

Ranter : Are you making fun of me?

CB : Pardon?

Ranter : Just that you seem to be enjo-

CB : No, why would you think that?

Needless to say, I’ve spoiled a lot of dates that way. I usually hide my…problem…by saying yes and nodding a lot during conversations. I find most words can be correctly replied with ‘of course, that’s nice’. But I have found myself in messes where the Ranter was left in shock while I nodded and smiled at…inappropriate moments.

Like today when the boss asked me if I’d eaten, and I nodded and smiled, then as he was walking to the food area, the delayed message was delivered and I had to yell after him that the food hadn’t arrived yet. Ouch.

Or when I asked my landlord why he hadn’t fixed the suspended wiring, and he said he was sorry, and I nodded and smiled, and wondered why he was daggerizing me – then I heard the rest of his statement – he’s been bedridden with malaria for a week ! Oops!

So now my formula is the smile, without the nod and the affirmative. That comes in handy with nosy questions too. I find that when people are prying, they will answer their own questions if you smile quietly for long enough. It saves the effort of fibbing. The only thing harder than small talk is false small talk.

So that’s how I ended up with a date. Or at least I think it’s a date. I’m fairly sure that I got asked out today. I think.

He’s cute, warm, super flirty, fairly muslim and very married. We talk small sometimes, and I’m fairly fond of him. [Not that one *M*, this is a different one.] He asked for my number – well actually, he said in the corridor, in front of about 5 other people, that he’d like my number so he can pick me up and take me out for fish tomorrow.

Well, it was more like yelling, coz I was like 3 feet away, and he had just considered [out loud] getting my number from the receptionist before he asked me for it. Then he told me to make sure I kept my phone on this weekend. Not quite how I pictured my first un-perso-stigated date request.

What I’m wondering is, if a guy asks you out by yelling randomly in a crowded corridor, does he actually mean it, or is he just showing his boys that he knows where you live?

18 thoughts on “Amusement and delayed reflexes

  1. The ear brain dilemma is an interesting one, and more interesting is you communication with your brother.

    About the guy, I’m not sure I’m able to help on that one. When anyone asks me out for lunch, unless prior relations dictate otherwise, I take it at face value; 2 people feeding their stomachs, so if they say they’ll take me for lunch and never do, it’s forgotten.

    Merry Christmas, let’s enjoy working over this ‘festive season’. Will be on duty too.

    you too 🙂

  2. Good read CB. You are not alone. I know a friend who seldom listens to people but mouths some ‘That’s nice’ absentmindedly. Once someone said that her sister had died and the guy said ‘That’s nice!’ He just can’t seem to stop saying it! Or listening to peeps.

    The ‘say it again’ is also natural. Perhaps that is the long forgotten language called Kenyanese.

    So you have a date? With a Double M? Married Muslim. (Searching for emoticon…)

    Seasons greetings!!!

    The Double M didn’t show, he claims I was mteja. I admit I’m disappointed, but on reflection… I’ve seen his wife, and she’s pretty scary. I’d hate to be a second to her first!

  3. I can’t remember the last time I lol’d this much at a post. God knows I could have written the part about hearing but not listening. Do you also do the thing whereby someone is talking to you and you just go ‘hmm’ and ‘yeah’ and you know they’re talking to you but you’re so lost in thought you can’t respond… and give a half-yelled answer as they’re walking away in a mild huff?

    Can’t wait to hear how this date goes.

    unfortunately, it didn’t, sniff sniff. i’m not sure i’m entirely sorry though 😉

  4. Hehe, I also have issues with my hearing and I always say ‘huh’ even when av heard. Can’t seem to control it. Lets not even go to the spoken English, if the other party understands Swahili, I find it hard not to stutter.

    hehehe, i stutter more in swa, especially when i get excited

  5. I could have sworn I commented on here and it was a gem, practically Pulitzer-winning as far as comments go.

    did you?

    I forgot what I said though but there was a bit of lol’ing and… uh… I forget.

    But it was LEGEN…. wait for it…. DAAARY!

    i’ll go hunting in akismet

  6. Seriously? My 2nd comment has also kwama’d?

    Well, in the absence of supporting evidence, you just have nto take my word for it that I posted two AWESUHM comments.

    found ’em ! akismet was PMSing your new ISP 😉

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