Africa I: Moonwalking Boxer, Hungry Bees and Rachel.

Back when I was in grade Four I lived with my dad in Uganda, Africa. I studied there for 6 months but including the visits before and after that you could say I spent a year there. Africa was awesome. And I say Africa because even though there are several countries there, even the locals speak of everything as being African, not Ugandan, or Kenyan or Tanzanian. It was Africa.

I remember our class teachers had been given coupons at the beginning of the year bought by our parents, and these were used to fund our lunch meals. I, however, was a coward and was afraid to ask for the coupons (even though our teacher was super nice) and I managed to spend all my months in school without eating lunch.

There was this one kid, I don’t remember his name but it began with a ‘W’. He Always moonwalked out of the class and he told me one day that he was going to go to Nigeria to watch or be a boxer. I told him there was a primary school in front of our house where early every morning, several boxers came and sparred before school started. I think that impressed him and I was slightly cooler by association. He had also never heard of Onions, which I found extraordinary.

My best friend was Karim. He was small and agile, like a happy, Attention Deficit bee. One day he requested the principle to let him dance for the morning assembly. Being the ultra-introvert I have always been I thought that was insane. We remained friends. And I took a leaf out of his confidence book, brought it down to my level and decided to talk to this girl I had a crush on. Her name was Rachel  and she was running for School President. One hungry lunch I saw her in the middle of this galaxy of kids and said “Hey Rachel…” and immediately the entire galaxy started laughing. You see there is a thick African accent which does not promote my regular pronunciation of the name ‘Rachel’ and since kids are inherently bastards, they did not let this go, worse still, Rachel laughed with them. I melted, and then evaporated.

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Pockets, Friendly Enemies And Not Being Poor Enough.

I’ve come to accept the fact that I am, unfortunately, not poor.

Don’t get me wrong, my family is NOT rich, not even close. Seriously, I cannot emphasize how ‘not close’ to rich we are. We fall into that class people like my parents call “Lower Middle-Class” except we are in the bottom half of that sub-division as well.

I went to a residential school when I was a kid and I had a friend there, well not friend, more like enemy. However he was poor. His parents slaved to get him to a good school. His spectacles and his replacement spectacles were the same thing. When he got new shoes, they stayed locked in his trunk and he slept with the keys. But he embraced the fact that he was poor, and that made him fucking cool-ish. He could be arrogant and judgmental. I could afford to break my glasses, even if it was just once, but he had to have cello-tape handy. When he bought a comic book (yes ‘a’ comic book) and someone mishandled it, his lecture about his parents government job was tolerated. Once we had a fight and I ended up ripping out his shirt’s breast pocket. He Wore That Shirt To School The Next Day!!! Do you know what that feels like? To do that to a fellow classmate?

Anyway the point is my parents are just a hair above the poverty line. They worked to send me to a good school and they’ve worked all their life. But I was robbed of an opportunity to be a “people’s people” because my parents could just afford to get me another pair of glasses, pair(S) of shoes, a replacement to my tie. We’re Almost just as bad, but not bad enough where all that hard work can be ‘notarized’. I mean each and every one of my friends is way way way richer than me but I don’t get to stick out like the guy who deserves more. Damn it’s hard to be slightly more well-off and have a comfortable lifestyle.

But then again I guess my parents just worked harder.

Minimum Wage, Satanism and other blessings.

I was at work one night and a colleague and I stopped to chat for a while. Our talk ended when he asked me what my religion was. I casually said that I didn’t believe in religion. This floored my co-worker, so he asked me what my parents were, which would determine what I ‘was’. I said I didn’t know (I don’t want to be associated to a religion just because of my parents subscribe to one) and the beautiful awkwardness physically pushed us away. The next day another co-worker came and asked me what my religion was even before prior conversation had been established. I knew where this was coming from, someone was extremely curios. I wanted to say Satanist just to annoy, maybe intimidate them – if only I’d thought of it then

I don’t believe in religion,  in fact it actually annoys me a lot. I feel that every religion has an amazing message to deliver but through the centuries it’s just been raped by people for their own benefit. But that’s me, and I support the idea that everyone has a right to a view just like I do. But it bothers me that to some people, it matters so much what other’s believe. I remember watching the Louis Theroux documentary on the Westboro Baptist Church (The Most Hated Family In America) and that sort of dedication towards hate and fear-mongering is insane.

Also I read the Satanic Bible and the first half was actually awesome. It has nothing to do with the devil. In fact it rejects the idea of the devil, just like it rejects god. It’s like an Atheist’s Handbook. It tells you to (and I’m not kidding) ‘enjoy life as long as it’s not at someone else’s expense’ – That’s basically the derived tagline to the book if you read the first half. The second half unfortunately went into curses which was a bummer, but then I’m an intelligent, logical individual and made the decision to choose what I agree with (that’s in the Satanic Bible too)

The Bucket and The Wall.

There’s two questions I’ve always pondered over as far back as I can remember.

1. What happens when you die?

2. What is at the end of the universe?

It’s sad that I’ll probably only find out the answer to one of those questions. I can’t even begin to imagine what is beyond the ‘wall’ of the universe. Or what the wall is. And I probably won’t ever find out. However, when I was a kid, and I was a happy one, I’d fantasize about my death. Not because I wanted to die or because I’m fixated with death. It was just MY death, and a painless one, just because sometimes I couldn’t wait to know what happens next.

We’re going to die. Eventually. But it fascinates me that we have access to this big, red ‘Abort’ button that is suicide, which could potentially shut down my entire universe, with its billions of years of history, the billions of people who have shared this universe with me spanning back to millions of years of things that have happened right here on this blue planet, things said and done and seen and heard and felt by everything and everyone, all gone – in an instant. And I could know the answer to the first question.