wetwool

because you never forget that funny smell

Month: December 2014

Christmas cheer and small talk

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

Frosty

I am writing this on December 29th 2014 and I think that if I hear that greeting one more time I will do someone an injury. But no,seriously, what is it about the end of the year that makes it the season for small talk? I wish people would just stop being so……fake! πŸ™

Check it out : There are people whom we never talk to all through the year. I am not talking about total strangers, so stop shaking your head. I mean work colleagues, people from my local, my street, my estate, my neighbourhood. I also mean estranged family members – people who barely acknowledge one another for eleven months of the year. Suddenly come Christmas week and hey they are all smiles and politeness, with good wishes for the season, asking if you are all ready for Christmas….and then, after the event asking if you had a good one. Everybody being kind to one another. How nice. Ptuh! If I wasn’t made of sterner stuff I would ask for a bucket!

Don’t get me wrong now. I am not a Scrooge and I love Christmas like everyone else (perhaps not always for the right reasons). I find the religious celebrations and the coming together of family and friends most enjoyable. Christmas comes but once a year but who says we can’t we spread this politeness and kindness across the whole of the year?

And the other thing that got me itching today. What is it about people and small talk? I am always amazed at how people behave when they meet others for the first time. We seem to have an unwritten protocol that states: make everything and everybody awkward.

Humour me for just a moment here. You meet someone for the first time at a big house party and the busy host/ess is not nearby to do the formal introductions. How do you break the ice? For kids in a playground in all their innocence nothing could be easier. They just ask β€œWhat is your name?” Could you simply ask someone for their name? I’d love to see you try. What about those funny types that like to ask directly what one does for a living. It tickles me no end.

So the small-talk continues. You ask the stranger, β€œDid you have to come far?” or even β€œWhat did you think of…( insert some inane subject that will not offend on the grounds of religious, cultural, gender or ethnic sensibilities) And on it goes. We have become a mobile nation as peoples from every corner of this great republic live, work and more recently party together. So we speak about the weather and the shortage of green peas, the traffic and the cost of petrol and leaving small children with suspect nannies. Bleh You wonder why people are constantly consulting their watches and smart phones?

I don’t know if, like me, you are unbelievably hopeless at remembering people’s names. How do you honestly tell someone with whom you are having a conversation and has already referred to you by name that you can’t remember their name. Most awkward. It happens. A third party, a friend of yours, say, suddenly comes over, and wait for the introductions. Put yourself in their shoes. Have they forgotten me because I am a random, inconsequential person.

I learned a trick this Christmas, how to get out of that one unscathed. All you do is say to the person, β€œSo sorry, I forgot your name..” Making sure to use healthy gestures and body language, eg. pointing to your head like you’re a bit eccentric (screw loose). The person will say β€œMariah” with all the dignity that she can muster. Now you, in your most charming voice say, β€œI knooow that silly, what’s your suuuurrrrnaaame!” Try it, really… it works!

The closing year has been one of achievement and tragedy. The best nature of man was shown as each day health workers from around the world joined their colleagues in Sierra Leone and Liberia to treat and care for victims of Ebola. The evil that we are capable of carrying out is also playing itself everyday as al shabab, islamic state, boko haram, and other misguided religious bigots wage a bogus war at home and abroad.

As we give thanks for the blessings of 2014. I wish you a very happy, safe and excellent new year. Enjoy the song again. πŸ™‚

Lost in space

Fred Msumari
The Royal Palace
Kingdom of Kerugoyes

December 2014

Dear Jaki,

Greetings to you from the ancient kingdom of Kerugoyes

I hope that you are in fine health. It was such a wonderful treat the other morning when your letter arrived. Thank you so much. There was bemusement and much wonder in the domestic quarters as the palace staff watched me read and re read your letter before folding it neatly and locking it away in the safe with our other valuables. I did not realise how expensive postage had become, your envelope was covered in stamps! The kids here collect stamps, bless them.

How have things been in our Fair Republic? I hope they are not keeping you too busy in that peoples’ garage. The description you gave about your typical day filled me with horror and distaste. You know Jaki how much I hate talk of blood. I even refuse to look at a mutura, knowing what it’s chief ingredient is. I fainted that time when I took you to donate blood for those poor leaking petrol explosion victims, remember?

Now, si I told you about Binti Pepo doing her bit during the independence celebrations? Well, the King enjoyed that performance so much, now there is talk of starting a kind of music academy right here, for the young Kerugoyenese. The King wants the young boys and girls to sing like his so-called nightingale, Binti Pepo. His Majesty says that he will only start an academy if Binti is the Director. They have been holding long talks, late into the night, just the King and Binti. Some nights they ask me along to give my opinion and we have also been joined by the Cabinet Secretary for Music & Entertainment. I realise now Kerugoyenese are very big on culture and that sort of stuff.

I tell you all this,Jaki because it seems that we will be here for a little longer than was envisaged. The South Africa leg of Binti’s World Tour is also in question because all the talk in the country right now is about the forthcoming Ndarabara event. I have been told that we will be travelling right up to the great mountain, Kidevu, where the King will perform the ancient Ndarabara rites which are traditionally important for the fertility, health and prosperity of this kingdom. Once these are done, His Majesty will consult the oracle, Abacha, to learn what the coming year holds in store for Kerugoye.

Binti and myself will be the first foreigners ever to witness a Ndarabara at close quarters. I am excited and a little bit nervous, if the truth be told. I will let you know how it all goes once we are safely back from the mountains.

I think I may have written too much! πŸ˜€

Have a really good week!

Fred.

* * *

Jacqueline Salama
Accident & Emergency Department
City Medical Centre
Nairobi

December 2014

Dear Fred,

Your own letter arrived just this morning, thank you. I hope that you are still enjoying the mountain air in that remote kingdom. I’m very well thanks. Just keeping myself busy at the department.

We had 2 new doctors that started this Monday, a young man and a young woman. They are both very charming and everyone is doing their best to make them feel welcome.

So just today I had a chance to work with the female doctor. We’d just had lunch and we were looking at some paper-work when they rushed in this patient on a trolley. He was a young man in his late twenties and in a state of complete anguish. It was incredible! The poor sod had only managed to get his wotsit stuck in a soft drink bottle. My colleague was stunned. You see the portion of the wotsit that was inside the bottle had swelled up to a grotesque size and shape – it looked like a python, to be honest. In the end we gave him a couple of steroid injections to reduce the swelling and gently eased him out of his glass prison. He was then sedated and taken to a ward for observation. Fred, Isn’t it just amazing what young men on their own can get up to? Hahahaha

The weather in our fair republic continues to get warmer and some nights it is simply impossible to sleep unless one throws off all the covers. I don’t really leave my windows open at night as I’m not sure it is entirely safe. I would hate to wake in the night to find a stranger rummaging through my things!

The new doctors will be dropping in shortly. We’re going out tonight to try out this new Indian restaurant down the road. I’d better go and do something with my hair.

You haven’t said much about Binti – How is she?

Fred, keep writing those letters. They always put a smile on my face and as funny as it sounds when I read what you are up to I don’t feel so lost in space. Do be careful on that Ndararara wotsit up there on the hills. πŸ˜€

Jaki

Slumming it in Kerugoyes

Fred Musumari
Royal Palace
Kerugoyes

Jacqueline Salawi
Accident & Emergency Department
City Medical Centre
Nairobi

18th November 2014

Dearest Jaki,

It is with a joyful and rapidly beating heart that I pen these few lines to you. I trust and pray that you are in good health. I hope that all is well back there in the peoples’ garage, as you occupy yourself in the noble undertaking of repairing the sick and panel-beating the wounded back into shape. πŸ™‚

At this point I must send a quiet word of sympathy. Surely there was serious damage done to your finger-nails and to the keyboard on your lappy; you wrote some really hard-hitting words. I will not play the fool. I totally deserved all those horrible things that you said. I spoke to a pal later that day and they said that you did not mean to send that email. Ha! They don’t know you like I do. And today is not a day to reopen old wounds. πŸ™‚

If you have received this you are probably wondering why I have suddenly gone all analogue and sent you a letter by post. Has Fred lost the plot, you wonder – is Fred doing that thing of wooing me with letters in blue envelopes with SWALK written on the sticky flaps? No, my dear. The reason is far more mundane. We are slumming it in Kerugoyes – a small mountain kingdom bordering South Africa.

When Binti did that charity gig at the Herbivore, (I was disappointed when you did not show) apparently she made a huge impression. We were back in her dressing room afterwards when a young lady came in and said that the King of Kerugoyes, a chap in his late twenties would very much love for Binti to visit their beautiful Kingdom and to perform during their independence day celebrations. That was a fortnight ago. We’ve been here ever since.

Binti is treated like royalty here and she doesn’t want to leave. The royal palace is vast and has every comfort that one would desire. Binti has several staff at her beck and call. I was banished from the VIP quarters at the palace when I failed to stop the King’s pet cheetahs from eating Binti’s white rabbit – she normally has it on her lap when she’s posing for pictures. So now I chill out with the palace staff, downstairs kicking my heels and wondering when this novelty will wear off so that we can finally head off to South Africa!

There is no internet in Kerugoyes. The young king believes that social media is the tool of the devil and a source of so much misery. Ha!

Let me end by wishing you a very happy week. If our royal holiday should end before this letter arrives I will try and whatsapp you from Johannesburg.

Fondest best wishes

Fred.

Ps you prolly guessed – things between me and Binti are dodgy right now, hence my sleeping in the staff quarters. I blame the King. πŸ™

* * * * *

Fred Musumari
The Royal Palace
Kerugoyes

08th December 2014

Dear Fred,

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Kwenda wewe! Ati you guys are where now? Hahahahahahaha. Where on earth is Kerugoyes? I’ve never heard of it before. I hope you’re not just making stuff up!

Everything goes well down here at the peoples’ garage, as you call it. We treat patients from all walks of life who come in with all manner of complaints. Our part, the trauma unit is most busy with road accident victims but we also get a fair share of violent attack victims – robbery, domestic that sort of thing.

I am glad that you acknowledge that your actions might have caused serious damage to my keyboard. I had to vent all that pent up stuff. Who said that I did not mean to post that email? It was good that you wrote back though, despite the slow mail service. Your Kerugoyes adventure has put a big smile on my face. Fred, it doesn’t sound like you are having much fun out there in the mountains. Does it get very cold at night? Shall I get my sister to knit you a woolly hat?

You say this king was besotted with Binti at Herbivore and now she has pushed you to the kerb? (I could not come to your gig that evening as I was on a night-shift). It doesn’t make any sense. You and Binti – you were made for each other. I feel for you, Fred, really I do. Why don’t you cut your losses and come back home? You can do so much here with all your talents.

I know that was a difficult question. Do have a lovely week, wherever you are and write to me whenever you can. It’s good to hear from you.

Best wishes

Jaki

x

ps woi…. the poor rabbit! The boy-king has pet cheetahs? Nkt!

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