Age, believe me, is not just a number

DEPENDING on the circumstances, I’m either a young, energetic chap or mzee Malecela’s age-mate.

Living in this land of Mama Samia, I cannot help but realise with great sadness that the energy that I had when I was courting Mama Boyi is gone and replaced by aching joints and regular headaches.

Although as I said earlier, sometimes this will also depend on circumstances, because I can easily become a young, energetic young chap when duly inspired by frothy beverages going down my throat.

Those are the times when I might find myself on the dance floor at Zakayo’s Pub, my local watering hole in Manzese, trying to impress the world that my legs and bones can do a thing or two to the sound of music.

I should warn you that doing a thing or two is imagining that every song being played by the DJ or by the resident band is “Twist”.

For old timers like me, I know you remember the ‘Twist’ dance with nostalgia, because those were the days when a stylish young energetic chap had to wear a trouser which could easily make three more trousers in the world we are living in now.

At Zakayo’s, whenever there is a song by a fellow called Diamond or Ali Kiba, or any of these dotcom musicians who make the heart of my daughter split in two, you will find me dancing twist like the champion twist dancer I was decades ago.

When they play some Ndombolo or Kibindankoi, my bones and legs once again imagine that they are hearing Twist and I go insane with Twist strokes and the situation is usually not much better if it happened that I have already swallowed enough frothy liquid to float a small boat.

Then I head home where Mama Boyi, that patient woman from the hilly sides of Mbeya is waiting for me with her dreaded greasy frying pan, and for two days I need lots of massage because my bones are screaming with pain.

The aching bones remind me that I am just another ‘mdingi’, and that instead of trying to prove to the world that I can do one or two things with my legs, I should stay at home and wait to be turned into a grandfather.

The dance floor is not the only thing that reminds me that I am not a dotcom baby anymore. There are many things that remind me that I am not the age-mate of Mandonga, who was born long after I was already declared the Twist champion back in the village.

When I am at Zakayo’s and in the company of the opposite sex who is neither too old nor too young, those are also times when I am reminded that I am not a bodaboda riding youth with a weird haircut called ‘kiduku’.

In those days back in the village when I was a dotcom fellow, the first thing I would do is to impress the woman that after God created Adam, He took a rest and then created yours truly.

I remember when I was courting mama Boyi, she was a sweet and innocent girl then, when I used to impress her by taking her to Mangi’s shop, where I bought her a cold Fanta.

Then in the evening I would take her to a bar where I would order one of those drinks with names that remind you of chemistry and biology lessons.

I remember those days when I was a bachelor and chasing after Mama Boyi, I was living near Kariakoo, and I used to take her to a certain joint run by a massive Chagga woman called Madam Aurelia Mushi.

I remember when we arrive there, I did not give her any opportunity to open her mouth and start ordering things with foreign names like Johnny Walker.

Those days when I went out with Mama Boyi, we would spend hours talking about everything and nothing, and it was a normal thing for me to escort her to the bus stop and then she escorted me back home, and then I escorted her to the bus stop again.

Nowadays when I go out with Mama Boyi, which is very rare, the conversation is usually about the children and her women’s group or ‘Chama’ and when the time comes for me to go to the gents, I drain my glass completely.

I don’t want to leave a drop in my glass or bottle and I tell her why. “You cannot trust anybody these days.

People have been known to put strange things in other people’s drinks.” In other words, I am accusing her of having the capacity to slip strange things into my drink, things that can make me start behaving like a half-baked man and surrender my measly salary to her every month.

But that is life, things do not remain constant, they have to change. That is why when I look at the occupants of my house, which consists of the domestic thug who happens to be my son and his two sisters, I sometimes envy their youth.

The few times that I am at home during the day, they still wonder how a sane person with his brain intact can listen to music from Jim Reeves and Super Wanyika or TPOK Jazz, instead of listening to Dulla Makabila.

They have this idea that Jim Reeves and Franco were two middle-aged terrorists who specialised in eating children and composed music during their spare time. They cannot understand why I nod to such “slow music” and torture them with it.

There was a time I was telling my daughter that in those days we used to walk to school barefooted for several kilometres and sometimes with only sugarless porridge in our bulging tummies and she asked me why I did not just call a bodaboda instead of walking.

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