How do mean people live together? Two hard-core mean adults masquerading as husband and wife, or whatever relationship that be. Do you feel scared the whole night or you wake up in the morning and smile that the mean person beside you is the best thing that ever happened to your life?
Google defines ‘mean’ (adj) as “hard to cope with; difficult or troublesome”. So how can two or more “hard to cope with; difficult or troublesome” people live together under one roof?
Imagine a Hard To Cope With; Difficult Or Troublesome telling a Hard To Cope With; Difficult Or Troublesome that the kids are very hard to cope with, are difficult and troublesome and that “I don’t know where they got this behaviour from. Nkt!”
Perhaps you don’t know what it means to be mean.
I also thought I knew mean people until I entered my second year at campus. Krevin, the asshole you all know, was my neighbour three doors down the corridor. I don’t mean to sound like the hare who decided that all the grapes were sour, but how do you describe a man who the whole afternoon locks himself in because his girlfriend has brought him minced meat? Dude plays scary music the whole night and will not smile at you when you meet along the corridor; won’t tell you what assignment prof gave; won’t allow you to copy in the exam room; dude just mean on everything. On his door was a sticker that said he hated idiots, but the guy hated anything on two legs.
Okay. I’ve just received a call of good news. Or is it bad? An old friend says she is marrying an old friend. Cool. Problem is, they are both mean. I mean, very mean.
You see, I have no problem with people marrying. As the joke goes, no man in this world deserves to go unpunished. I have no problem with marriage because I believe in the fallacy that marriage is the right-dose medicine to stupidity – for both non-women as well as women. Marriage is divine. Marriage is this compulsory calling of misery from beyond the human self. As a friend to many married people, I think marriage can therefore be a good idea sometimes. But whom you marry, bwana. Whom you fuckin’ marry!
We’ve seen marriages where the wife works and the husband works, yet children are ever back home because of school fees. We’ve seen homes where the parent is healthily fat and wears expensive perfume while the kids chase flies that want to hide in the holes of their clothes. We’ve seen all these and more. And we thus acknowledge the need for the right choices.
When I first came to the city, I stayed with a cousin. That was long, long ago. This cousin had a friend, and the friend would often invite a girlfriend to spend a week or sometimes a month over. Well, let’s just say my cousin was Tenis, his friend was Akri, and the most regular girlfriend to Akri was called Mweni. Now Tenis, Akri, Mweni and I stayed in one house.
The room we shared had walls made from Shanghai. It had one door, one mattress of three inch comfort, two bed sheets, a blanket, a kerosene stove, two spoons, two sufurias, two plates, a mug, a pail, the four of us, a bulb, a switch, a dump floor and almost a window. Nothing more.
I hadn’t noticed at first. With time, I started feeling some abnormality. Every time we ran out of provisions, the guys would start coming home very late and some of our guests would become total absentees. We would beg each other to contribute and buy salt, or to refill the stove, or to tip the landlord’s son to add us some more grace period. Members would become moody and members would become so very unwell that the only question you asked them was if they were feeling any better.
I remember one particular night when all of them almost slept out because there was no matchbox in the house and we were all broke. This night it poured. My uncle’s son came at around one. Shortly after, Akri and Mweni followed. They’d been hiding somewhere, watching out for Tenis. Mweni had even come along with another girlfriend and the house smelled like a brewery. Mweni, despite talking much, bailed us out the following day.
There is something I need to tell you about Mweni. As they say, alcohol can call someone and she heeds the call. That was Mweni. But her friend, whose name I keep forgetting from that first day, was worse. She was the kind of woman who could sell an earring for a pint. Not a surprise that first day she had only one shoe and her phone’s battery was missing. And not a single day after that did I ever see her complete as a girl: either the phone’s been pawned; or the ID card is missing; or she needs to go to the shop to get back her wallet (wallahi, WALLET) etc.
Mweni was mean in every sense of the word. If we asked that whoever received a favour from Mweni should raise their hands, and that if these hands be more than ten Mweni should enter heaven, Mweni would still go to hell. If we lowered and said five hands only, in the entire world, Mweni would still be Queen Mweni of Hell. Reducing the number to one would be the most unfortunate thing to heaven prestige and human understanding of the unseen, yet still Mweni would not see the gates of heaven. But we still liked her, anyway. At least she was better than her friend whose name I cannot remember.
This one was the meanest. There are days we never talked because she was a sadist too. She swore never to cook nor serve anyone food in the house because, according to her, that was demeaning women. But I never came to understand how she wholeheartedly washed our clothes. Girl had an obsession with being clean. We would be woken up in the night to give way to the mop rag, and at weekends we would be inconvenienced finding our shirts washed and wet without our consent. She fixed the electricity switch whenever it malfunctioned and hammered nails into our wall to give strength. I must say I liked her fashion of being mean, sadist and thorn in the ass, though I always made it clear to her that I didn’t like her.
So today I received a call and I am asking myself how. How can Tenis and that girl safely share one roof alone? Nature should have a better joke. How do you even trust that the house will not be ablaze by morning? The laws of genetics are very clear about such a case. We will have children who are afraid to walk out because someone will benefit from their shadow free of charge.
Marriage is planned in heaven, right? You need to quit smoking.
My cousin says it is coincidence the wedding is on the same day as his birthday, then goes ahead to ask if it isn’t a good thing that every year he shall have to only use one stone to kill the birthday party and wedding anniversary birds. Then he informs me that I’ll be his main man that day, that I’ll act as his guardian now that I’m the only kin available. Tells me to put on a good kanzu and nice shoes. He then asks what present, and how much, I will present as the wedding gift.
About how much, I tell him I’ll take a hundred times all the money he’s ever given me, which is still the one digit number. For the gift, I say I will buy each of them the Book of God and a motivational book on how to quit being mean. I hear his brow muscles twitch. The burger!
Anyway, this is a world of miracles. So I will be travelling all the way, back to the Royal Kingdom, to witness the start of a new generation of mean people.
Happy birthday cousin…..x2
Happy wedding Tenis and Amina….x2
Pay your debts….x3
Have many children….x93