First of all, I hope this finds you in a good place, perhaps by the beach with a glass of whisky in you hand, the sun kissing your skin and the cold breeze wiping sweat off your brow. If not, I hope it finds you in the comfort of your home, in your pyjamas maybe and a cup of coffee on the table beside you.
It’s half past 11pm as I write this, I’m seated in our dining room, laptop placed on the polished table. My palms are sweaty because I’m nervous – trying to find the right words for us to finish the year with, for it would be treacherous to let this 2017 go just like that with all the mixed fortunes that it has brought upon us. So, fam, allow me to take you to a good place tonight. I’ve bought wine, coz tonight we are going to make a toast to the year that has been. Let’s sit by the fireplace, enjoy the warmth as we fill our glasses to the brim. Then when we’re drunk and our inhibitions are low enough for us to let our guard down, we can make a toast. I’ll go first because I’m the one who set this up, and also because I’ll be quick, so let me cut to the chase, for I have a list of things that caught my attention this year and I’d like to get them off my chest. Here goes;
I remember the first time I saw a written piece from the ‘highest office’ of the boychild ‘leadership’ about the plight of the boychild. I was in the office, slumped back in my seat, my right hand lazily supporting my chin and my left scrolling up and down my Facebook feed when I stumbled upon that controversial piece of literature. I recall reading through to the end, all the while squirming with discomfort because it is rare to experience such a raw expression of emotional display from a man, which is not a bad thing at all, but you must understand where I am coming from. I grew up in an era when men were stoic, when manly problems were dealt with over a bottle of whisky or a couple of beers, and only when men had had enough to drink would they be comfortable to show a little bit of emotion and speak about their problems, and even then, the information would be classified and only a few other men (and the favorite bartender) would hear of it. The bar was a safe place, more like a mental institution where men went to unwind and reclaim their sanity, and these favorite bartenders were like counselors – they knew more about these men than the men knew themselves. They knew when the men were broke, when they’d just gotten paid, when they had issues with their wives, who their mistresses were…
Nonetheless, times are changing. Men still drink, but now they do it in exclusive joints like 1824 and Jiweke Tavern. And on expression, men now have blogs through which they express themselves (like yours truly). These are the new bars, where men like myself come to unwind and reclaim our sanity. At least with this there is no hangover to wake up to. So, a toast to the changing times.
When I started this blog a time like this last year, I had no idea of the staggering amount of effort it would require to maintain it. Thank goodness that ignorance is bliss, for if I actually knew what I know now, I probably would not have embarked on this journey. For a blog is like a baby. The way you have to figure out why a baby is crying – is he hungry or just sleepy, or does he need a diaper change – is somehow the same way you have to figure out what you gonna blog about, then when you have crossed that bridge you have to figure out the best time to publish, then you have to wait for people to notice, and when they don’t notice you have to figure out why. Heck, you even have to figure out why you have more ghost readers than the other readers who’ll actually leave a comment or a like (statistics don’t lie – you know yourselves, hahaa). Worst of all, sometimes you lack the inspiration to write something worthwhile, and other times you’re overshadowed by a strong feeling of self-doubt that whatever you are trying to put across might not actually make sense but then once in a while you push yourself and start typing.
Either way, I am really grateful for you who always pass by here to see what’s new, even when you never announce your presence. I promise this coming year I’ll be here more regularly than I’ve been, and we can have chit chats and talk about the boychild amongst other things.
We have had a long tirade of political campaigns. It has been tiresome trying to discern who to vote for and why – who is the better wolf in sheep clothing. Nonetheless, I hope we never forget that regardless of tribe, we are a people with shared troubles. That tomorrow Kamau, Omondi, Njeri and Atieno will walk in Nairobi CBD in the midst of the scorching sun trying to avoid being hit by matatus and all of them will be thinking of one and the same thing – how to put food on the table. Meanwhile, the politicians whom we spent time and energy hating each other for will be laughing (together) at us from their guzzler machines on their way to their lavish homes to watch themselves on TV and laugh some more.
So anyway, enough about me, I hope that the year has been rewarding to you. And if you don’t believe so, I pray you’ll be in the frame of mind to have gratitude for the mere reason that you managed to come this far, that whatever curve balls life threw at you this year, you are still here and you are reading this blog. So, perhaps we can meet next year at this same place? Hopefully.
In the meantime, let us finish our bottle of wine as we watch the dying embers of the firewood in the fireplace, let us reminisce about the year that has been, and let us hope that 2018 will be kinder to us.
It’s a wrap.
Picture Credits: Firehouse Wine Bar