So, in my quest to find a decent barber, I walk into this place off Westlands Road that doubles up as a pub, barbershop, hair salon, restaurant, real estate agent and car wash. I think the only business they didn’t dabble in was organ harvesting. Or maybe they did.
At the barbershop/hair salon, there’s this talk chick in a short dress, terrible weave and lots of makeup. And long fingers. I have a thing for hands, so I notice these things. She was the barber. Or barberess, a term I was recently introduced to.
The haircut was actually one of the best I’ve had. She took her time. Ensured every follicle was the right size. She even cut my hair down to a good length, concealing my aggressively developing bald spot. That devious bald spot. And it’s at the back of my head too, so everyone sees it except me. But I can feel it, smooth and conniving. Like a politician.
But Ms Barberess had a good word for that bald spot. She told me it was sign of wealth. That I’ll run into money, if I haven’t already. I looked at her through the mirror and she smiled and winked. I’m waiting on that loot I’m to run into. I’ve gotten a few texts with the news that I’ve won some millions in various competitions I haven’t entered. Maybe she’s right. Of course I have to send some money via M-pesa to a particular number before I can claim my prize. Nothing comes for free I guess.
Then came head massage time. Yes. It was one of those barber shops. The experience though; pitiful. That massage was as disappointing as a vegetable samosa. Or worse, a minji samosa. Especially if you’re expecting a meat samosa. I felt so cheated. Like I had bought one of those packets of crisps, that when you open is half air, half crisps. Or when you order that quarter kilo of meat, and the quantity displayed raw doesn’t compare to that of the end product. I really thought those long fingers would do it. But clearly, they’re probably only good for picking noses or ears. Hers, not mine.
I only bring this up, in case you’re wondering from my previous post if I found a barber. I haven’t. Just like finding out who killed Tupac, the search continues.
Now on to why I started writing this post. I recently moved house. From the leafy suburbs of Kiambu County, which was more leaf than suburb, to the concrete jungle of Kileleshwa? Now this was a decision made in my home based on changing dynamics concerning transport to my workplace and the missus who had just changed jobs. The decision was made jointly, which means she suggested it and I said ‘Yes’.
I didn’t bother looking for a house to move to because any decision I made would be shot down. Even if the price was right and the location perfect, the home would have too many windows and thus there’d be the need to get new curtains, and the old one’s would not complement the walls. Or the kitchen would not have enough cabinets for the missus new set of pots and pans. As a man, I would not win that fight. So, I delegated. And the missus came upon a house she fancied. With the right number of kitchen cabinets. The price tag though, my bank account didn’t fancy.
It just so happened I was meeting up with the chief and I had a discussion with him on my impending decision. As soon as I described the situation to him, he looked away from his newspaper, put on his glasses and sighed.
‘You “men” these days. You’re so weak. Maybe it’s because you paint your nails and know things like cuticle’
‘Surely. It was one time only, and it was because I was in a wedding line up,’ I tried to defend myself
He grunted. An ox like grunt. Then he went on.
‘Oh baby, let me cook for you. Oh baby, let me rub your feet. Oh baby, akiang’owa’
He made a terrible impression of us ‘new age men’. The mockery run deep.
‘Here’s the thing my friend. You’re married now. You have to provide for your family. Physically, emotionally and materially. I don’t care how much your wife earns or if she earns anything at all. And neither should you. In fact, be happy if she earns something, because now you don’t have to pay for her hair, or her clothes. Or her nails…. Clearly you already have yours to think about’
He let out a guffaw and slapped his thigh as only old men do when they laugh at their own jokes.
‘Do everything within your power to provide my friend. There are no limits. Don’t buy into this new age thinking. This 50/50 concept you people have of relationships. Handle your business and handle it well’
Those words cut deep.
‘But….but the house is expensive,’ I whined
‘Money is not everything my friend. You say the new house is close to your offices? Meaning you save on time and fuel. Time is the only thing that’s universal to all men. Wise men know how to use it to better themselves, and their situations. Time is money.’
He then sat back in his couch, proud of his words. I think he shocked even himself. I know because he rubbed his head. As if to confirm it belonged to him.
It seemed this old African chief possessed some wisdom. I thought all he did was communicate through gestures and grunts and that emotionless face.
He was right though. The new house would cut my daily commute time by 80 minutes. Enough time to write and edit this post.
‘Life is too short to think of why not to do things, rather think about how to do them. And then do them….Except paint your nails’.
He really wasn’t letting that manicure incident go.
Life is unfair. It only starts making sense the less of it that remains. But I guess there’s no time to sit around trying to figure out why, but to forge on ahead and make that new-found sense make cents. Or whatever makes you happy.
So after that scolding, I made the decision to move. To the new house. And to move too, my thinking. From that of a boy to that of a man. A real man. One who handles his business.