This is my 20th year since, I ventured into writing career. It was supposed to be a side hustle,as I angled for a real job with a corner office and a view. The side hustle became the main stay and people said we suited each other. It is a good time as any to write a short account about how I became a ‘meat wrapper’. Two decades is a long time in one line of work and I am certain I would not have traveled this far without the constant guidance of tens of mentors. The year 1998 was the turning point in my decision to become a writer.
I was mistaken for a techno sexual. It is a trendy word, such as metro sexual coined to describe a new generation of men. I never made it as a metrosexual. I lacked real street cred as a fashion brand consumer and I do not care enough for style trends to be bothered by the stagnant state of my wardrobe.
So, I was surprised when I made the grade for technosexual. I looked up the definition. A man with a strong attachment to technology as core part of their identity. Like those brothers who cradle phones, all day and night, who cannot bear to be apart from their gadgets. They would feel lost, detached and vulnerable.
Every Nairobian has a part of the city instrumental in crafting their identity. A place where they truly came to appreciate the essence of Nairobi and found belonging. For most Nairobians, it is the neighbourhood they grew up in but I found my inspiration elsewhere.
My favourite part of the city is ensconced in the area around the University of Nairobi’s Main campus. From Uhuru Highway onto the University Way, down Muindi Mbingu Street, connecting the grid to Kenyatta Avenue and all the way around to the Arboretum Forest and back. It is packed with endless memories and makes a fascinating treasure trove for history lovers. I was in the University for a four year pursuing a Bachelor degree in Anthropology and spent a good deal of time crisscrossing this part of the city. My daily commute cut across Nairobi University main grounds, past the fountain ‘of Knowledge’ on the same path that Senator Barack Obama walked on his way to address students about a hopeful future at Taifa Hall in 2006 when it seemed ludicrous that he would be elected as the first black President of the US.
I have avoided wading into the boy child debate raging online for the last couple of months. Mostly because a good portion is dominated by ignorance. The boy child debate is a reaction to the empowerment of the girl child and the misplaced idea that elevation of our girls has accelerated the demonization of our boys. It does not help that media has mainstreamed these terms and the public is now accustomed to the gender juxtaposition of the enlightened progressive girl outshining the pitiful emasculated poor boy mourning over a lost position.
Its his beard. It grabs your attention, overwhelming the features of his face, demanding a private audience, a gatekeeper to his thoughts that I have to pay tribute to before I can be granted access. Beards and whisky. It is the latter that I am supposed to be mulling over but I cannot get past the full growth of his beard.