Bikozulu : Welcome Home Summer Bunnies
The tragedy of life is that we are all dating/married to a summer bunny’s Ex. Worse still; we might even be dating/married to an ex-summer bunny.
At work we sit across a summer bunny’s cousin, or step brother, hydrating from the same water dispenser. When we leave the office and walk to the lunch place, the little dive with three tables and a small metallic sink, and order those divine chapos the size of KOT’s ego, you will hear a summer bunny’s cousin say, “Madhe kwani today you didn’t make managus?”
When you are in traffic and you refuse to give way to that elderly lady bulldozing her way into your lane with her vintage 420 SEL, you could be blocking a summer bunny’s mum. And God is seeing you. The radios will suddenly sputter with the summer bunny’s favorite songs such as Fresh Prince’s summertime.
Bars will have theme nights for summer bunnies, selling buckets of beer for a discount because really, what do you drink when you are in the summer? Are you wearing the “new” Kenneth Cole scent? That was a Summer Bunny’s scent last year. This means, to the summer bunnies, you exist in the past. You also need to upgrade your Whatsapp before you chat with a summer bunny.
And so you might not know it, but our lives are irrevocably intertwined with summer bunnies. You might say we are joined at the hip – but only if you have had too much to drink.
Humor me. Walk up to your window, look up at the sky. See those dark clouds? See how they hang heavy? Well, get a strong wide umbrella because it’s about to rain summer bunnies. They are coming.
I have a friend who’s coming down from Minnesota. Oh, I’m sorry; did I not pronounce it correctly? “Minnesorra.” By all intents and purposes he’s a very fresh guy (when you can get past his annoying electronic cigarette). I’ve known him for 10 years now. Which means when he asked me to pick him from the airport when he touches down I said yeah, because he’s my boy and it’s been a while.
He will land pretty late, at about midnight and then of course he will have to go through immigration and get affronted and get indignant when our terrific KRA guys stop him and ask him what is in his mountain of suitcases. There will probably be a sleeping eye patch stuck on his forehead or hanging under his chin, and he will most likely be in white sneakers and a heavy coat with silver buckles and a hat. He will be clutching a Blackberry – which means he will be the only soul with a Blackberry between JKIA and Kinungi.
I will be standing there at International Arrivals, hands so deep in my pockets I could be touching my knees, standing in solidarity with that wall of humanity huddling for warmth in the midnight cold, some holding up name placards, others just holding their chins against the cold.
He will finally walk out pushing what seems like his whole life on that trolley. Of course I will be thrilled to see him. His skin will look richer. He will most likely be heavier. We will embrace – five years’ worth of an embrace. He will most likely smell good; of cologne and of Schiphol Airport.
We will walk out, past the army security guy with a semi-automatic weapon slung across his chest, and he will look at him briefly and I will secretly dare him to comment on anything that starts with “security”, “terrorism” or “safety.” I will be thinking, “Collo, go ahead, ask me how safe it is now. Go ahead. I dare you.” But he will be jet lagged and he will be happy to be back to motherland so he will not say a word. JKIA will surprise him as it surprises everybody else because you really have to go through most African airports to appreciate JKIA.
My summer bunny pal has said that the first thing he wants to do when he lands, even before he removes his shoes, is to have a Tusker baridi (pronounced Tusker beridi). If for nothing at all, you have to be there to watch a summer bunny drink his first beer or his first bite of nyam-chom. You have to watch as he pours his cold beer in his glass, something he has been dreaming of for a while now.
Question: Where else can you take a summer bunny who has just landed on a Thursday?
Answer: K1 Klubhouse Reggae Night, of course. Where else? Thursdays at Klubhouse is full. It’s loud. It’s hysterical. It hum and thuds.
K1 on Thursdays is where two conflicting worlds collide. A stunning cultural intersection and here is where I will throw Collo, the summer bunny, right in the deep end of it. I’m sure he will mostly likely run into some fine bird he went to campus or high school with (they always do), a lady in a very small dress will dump her pals three tables away. She will be laughing at his Minesorra jokes, massaging the back of his neck, until she turns and shouts at me, mid laughter.
“I’ve so missed Collo, this guy is like a brother to me,” and Collo and I will exchange that alarming look when you realize that you have just been friend-zoned.
I will see him drain his beer faster than I can blink so that he can cut his losses and go get some much needed sleep at the hotel.
The last time I wrote about the diaspora folk they got quite sore. They said I was too negative. But if we are being honest, most of us will tell you that you – summer bunnies – are hard to love. That you are mostly annoying. You are like an antibiotic without a capsule. Why are you hard to love? Because when you come home you make it look like you have come to shags. Almost like you are surprised that we have on shoes and have instant hot water shower. You come here and act like you have just been transported to 1998, and that the hottest song in the county is The Boy is Mine, by who was that again, Brandy? And that when you hear us sing along to Fetty Wap you seem surprised. Well, we hate that condescending stuff.
I also would like to say that some of you are cool. It’s the bad apples that annoy us. So this isn’t a blanket generalization.
But we want to get along with you; we have to get along because we will drink with you and house you, and drive you around and hook you up with girls if you want. So we have to get along.
We would like to welcome you with your dollars, pounds, Euros, rands and rupees. But we would also like to have you know that we are going through some trying times and all back here at home.
We want you to remember that this is our home, YOUR home. We chose to remain behind to keep the lights on. Someone has to.
It’s broken, and it keeps breaking and one day, we may hit rock bottom and then maybe we will start rising again, but it’s still home and we remain touchy about it. Ask the South Africans and the Nigerians on Twitter, who we burnt at the stake.
But please when we sit down with you for a drink, you can tell us what’s wrong with Kenya but please don’t say “you people,” when you express your comments. Not even when you are the one buying the drinks. Also don’t act surprised at things that don’t work. If a matatu cuts right in front of us, don’t look like it’s the most insane thing you have seen in your life – aside watching Fox news.
And please we beg you to keep it quiet. Just so you know, you guys are always easy to pick out in a bar. You know why? Because most of you are loud. If you aren’t loud in person you are loud in your dressing. Seriously, shades in a club at night?
So, come home, keep your head low, go to K1, smoke shisha at Tambourin rooftop lounge at The Kempinski, adopt a cheetah at KWS, fly down to the coast and try and rescue Mombasa from the small-pox of Travel Advisories and maybe go look for land to invest in around Athi River. But don’t say anything that will set us off, because we are dealing with too much now.
To fellow Kenyans I think it is our duty to quiet the Summer Bunnies down, and the quickest way to do that is to take them to Thika Road. I love how Thika Road always surprises summer bunnies, especially those who were last here when Bubbles was THE club. But don’t take them Thika road when it rains, because then it will remind them of the Thames (which I’m yet to see).
Every Kenyan hosting a summer bunny owes it to the sanity of the country to drive them to Thika Road. Thika Road is the only thing in Nairobi that says we have moved an inch. Thika Road says, look at us, we aren’t doing so badly after all. We have lit tunnels, eight lanes, street lights and speed bumps. The roads are marked as C32 and A2. And when you look inside matatus, nobody stands anymore. Thika road is our glass half full. Take them and let them see the wonder of development.
But mostly let us be very accommodative to summer bunnies even if they want to drink with us daily. Or keep asking silly questions about the speed of our WIFI. Or ask loudly why cops control traffic at working traffic lights; because we have not noticed this ourselves.
Mostly we ask God to give us the strength to accept them as our brothers and sisters because they have brought us pounds and dollars which God knows we need now. Most importantly we want God to give us the patience to explain that it isn’t as bad as it seems.
That we – human beings – actually live here! That we haven’t perished yet, and that perhaps when our leaders finally find the secret of good food out there in Europe and Asia, and carry it back in small vials, we will finally flourish from that imported nirvana.
We wish to remind them that we are much better than most of our neighbors because look, Obama came here first, didn’t he? And so did The Pope. And we took them all to Thika Road.
Karibuni nyumbani summer bunnies, so great to have you back again. I think Brian Mungei from Safaricom will be sending you the WIFI passwords in a few.
Read more on Jackson Biko’s blog