Thursday, June 16, 2011

Uniformly Unique

Half a loaf is better than none. This applies to bread and other edibles. I maintain that as soon you find yourself in half a relationship because you are in it alone (say your partner is making a stereotypical farce of love), it’s time to up and go. You have two options: either jump ship or cast your bread upon the waters – in my case, preferably both.

Readers who think it is time I got over my hangover for Ailis are right, actually. It’s about time I left the past behind. Writing this blog has revealed to me the great obstacle that is my pride. Or else I would never admit that the whole messy thing still burns me even unto the core of my bones. Which I have not admitted. Yet.

To the point: I was refashioning myself in preparation for my big return to the single life. Clearly it takes more than just a nominal change of one’s marital status in the CV. A wardrobe change helps; a revitalization of one’s outward appearance; a makeover. The problem is, I have never been at par with my age mates at any stage of my life in terms of fashion. Admittedly, fashion has never been an overarching goal of my life. I call it “the fastest way to judge a book by its cover.” So, as a matter of principle, wardrobe upgrade was out.

My whole life so far, there have only been two periods when my fashion sense was at par with my age-mates. Most recently, I was in a secondary school whose uniform was quite a sight. Even other high-school-goers disdained that color clashing get-up. It is rumored that the color concept was historically conceived as an anti-camouflage measure. The school at first catered to street urchins who, after being rounded up from diverse streetscapes by the government and deposited at the school, naturally and quite expectedly plotted to run away by creeping back to freedom through the surrounding bush. (Un)fortunately it was an Impossible Mission when the urchin was a brightly colored contrast of red and blue attempting to hide amidst earth tones and greens all around. That is the rumor. In my experience, the uniform had the additional disadvantage of displaying the gangly knot that one’s knees had become - it covered neither them nor the three-inch expanse of flesh immediately above. “Indecent exposure” was ever on the tip of the tongue. Topping it all off was the irony of being required by a legion of prefects, captains and their sidekicks (aka “campaigners”) to complete the ensemble with a tie, socks and a blazer or half-sweater. To each his own. Atrocious! Everyone else called us Caltex.

Prior to high school, the only other time I was fashionably at par with my age mates, I was rocking napkins! Seriously, as I look in old family albums at photos of my naïve and energetic childhood, I am overwhelmed by the extent and severity of repeated criminal negligence of fashion. It simply never crossed my mind to add value to my own outward appearance.

With such a train-wreck of a past fashion record, it should surprise no one that I opted for a whole other means to refashion my image as a therapeutic post-break-up palliative. I had a frank consultations with a mirror for the first time in months. There I discovered thick clumps of tough hair growing wild and kinky on my scalp. This, at a time when I was discovering that the philosophical tenets of Rastafarianism resonated well with my own ideals...

Need I spell it out, what I did to my hair?

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Game by Any Other Name Sucks Just as Much

I’m back! And I must apologize to my Followers for imposing a forty-day blog-fast upon them. Its objective was unclear anyway. It just seemed like a thing to do. The value of randomness is underrated.

What has been happening during the break? In my naïve mind, based on admittedly tainted observations, I have come to one sweeping generalization - that there are only two modes of thinking. Now don’t get me wrong – there are many things to think about. But we think about them either in terms of their direct relevance to ourselves or in abstract universalist terms.

(I know its time to lay off the coffee when I start hallucinating philosophy.)

So there I was, away on holiday, minding my business and being harmless old me (aka strategically avoiding The Ex). Who should call me but Ailis, asking me to visit her in Malindi. My response: “You broke us up, remember?” She hung up immediately. You must understand: she was on the East Coast, I was on the ”West Coast”; and yet the space between us was still too small for my pride.

Later on, thinking about it, I realized that the whole relationship/fling/whatever thing had really been a series of games. Not the kind of games one enjoys; no. Rather, power plays; the kind that can be played, won or lost in total ignorance of the fact! There is probably much less to it than my fertile imagination is shadowboxing with. And we must bear in mind that my experience in romantic relationships is wanting, which makes me the last person to dare to comment on matters cupid. But I’ll go ahead playing intellectual dice with far-fetched ideas anyway.

It is like this. In relationships, one member may unilaterally decide to set an ‘exam’ for the other party - a little test, in a controlled environment, where the subject’s behavior is tested in the furnace of truth. This beats asking direct probing questions because – hey let’s face it and grow up already – actions speak louder than words. It is hard to ‘misquote’ a thing when you do it. Therefore, the partner who seeks to really know the other sets a practical experiment. Sometimes the candidates spot these practical puzzles from a mile away and ace them or expertly dodge them, sometimes they spot them from a mile away and flunk the quiz intentionally - just for the hilarity of it, ambitiously aspiring to transcendence. Most often a candidate, operating within the bliss of ignorance, actually completes an examination on whose outcome depends the very future of the relationship! Is that enough theoretical background?

The summarized version of all this beating about the bush is that these games madden me! There should be a law! For example, if someone expresses a desire NOT to continue a relationship, as Ailis did earlier on, you’d think a good opportunity had presented itself to demonstrate respect for their wishes and ability to comply – even if things aren’t going your way at all. In my case I immediately agreed - in fact, an instant more, and I would have thrown in a ‘Heil Hitler’ and a matching salute. But by so doing, I failed her test. The correct answer, apparently, would have been to put up a massive fight to reject her so-called wishes to break up. Her puzzle demanded that I, the candidate, demonstrate jealousy, passion, zeal, fire, will, stubbornness and lust in the mold of Lorenzo, Hector, Alejandro, Luiz or whatever the blazes they call male protagonists in Latin American soap operas nowadays. My reaction – a flat “Alright let’s break up.” *yawns & arm stretches* – betrayed failure to grasp course content, low concentration, poor effort, little understanding, limited ability to accurately conceptualize a problem. Naturally, this earned me a failing grade. Yet quite apart from the dire aspect of my score, we can enter a debate about the justice of administering exams to unwitting candidates while making their correct answers so convoluted as to defy common sense. Try me.

Somebody say “Trick Question”. It is a favorite weapon of our womenfolk. Such is life. But that’s a whole other blog.