“For sensible men I prepare only three kraters: one for health (which they drink first), the second for love and pleasure, and the third for sleep. After the third one is drained, wise men go home. The fourth krater is not mine any more – it belongs to bad behaviour; the fifth is for shouting; the sixth is for rudeness and insults; the seventh is for fights; the eighth is for breaking the furniture; the ninth is for depression; the tenth is for madness and unconsciousness”.
T’s exactly a year after the event.
The day was Wednesday, 6th October, 2010. I felt the day with a certain morbid sense of déjà vu. The sun rose and set as it was expected. I thought that it would be another ordinary day. But whereas all others who do not live in the skies saw a setting sun, mine eyes beheld a rising sun, signaling the start of another day in a day. I had toyed with the idea of going to school, to go or not to go, in the long run, the not to thoughts carried the day. And seeing that my dancing days were at their prime, the next question was; Destination where? However, as good luck would have it, there was live music going down in one of my favourite joints in the CBD. Little did I know that by this choice, I was courting the jaws of death albeit unknowingly and the consequence of my decision would have a great bearing on my future life or put simply, a significant and cathartic turning point in my life was unfolding. It was a day to open a new chapter about my political, rhetorical, and ideological perceptions.
I met some friends in town but decided against drinking in the CBD. I therefore headed for one of my local joints, Sevens, the ambience was frolic and the music right. I had a conversation with a slew of regular members as I enjoyed my drink who had a precocious passion and eloquence on the topic of free thought for some hours; I remember that I thoroughly enjoyed myself before relocating to ODM. In ODM, I remember I met several friends who I discoursed with, one kitsch patron who I had not seen before was flaunting his supposed education and intellectual vanity refusing to pay his bill on the pretext that he had already paid. I must admit that I had had one too many and was tipsy when I left the pub, but this was not a carte blanche for anybody to restrict my movement for as long as I was not in breach of any law. I had all the rights to stand my ground in theory, but in essence, I was physically weak from the effects of the drinks and intoxicated kiasi tu but I would not say I had Dutch courage, I was still level headed.
The events of the transition from 6th to 7th October left an indelible scar in my life and a cicatrix on my head serving as a poignant reminder of the events of that day, but above that, they made me rethink my course of life and my love affaire with beer. As my head which was the vocal point of the attack was in the winepress of the diabolical hand-dogs, hot blood rushed down my neck, bathing my body, my single most prayer was that God saves me from the grip of death because I felt that this was not the right time and place to die at. To date, I still believe that it was a close shave and for that I give grace Adieu.
I recall that after I regained consciousness, I bumped into cops who knew me. They advised me to go and report the incident to the police station. When I got to the station, apparently some big shot had been carjacked along Riara Road and thus the police at the report desk were on the big shot’s case, I lost some good time before my statement could be taken but I should say that the cops were very civil. From the police station, I headed to my tint. I had to look for ways of removing the window pane before I could gain access to the house. Once in the house, I went to sleep seemingly oblivious of the effect of the wound on my head, even the First Aid training that I had undertaken some years back where I learnt about concussion and its causes had taken a leave of absence.
When I finally made it to the hospital some eleven hours after the attack, the doctor who attended to me was not sure on whether to proceed with the stitching of the wound due to the lapse of time, there was the risk of infection. However, after consulting with her peers, it was decided that the pros of stitching outweighed the cons.
I have to accept that I have never been a conspicuous consumer as I have never, and I still not been able to have the requisite money to spare or flaunt as is expected of a person who merely ekes a living. My upbringing meant that I had to choose my values from an early age, and life’s experiences were my teacher in many ways. However, I had over the years developed a symbiotic relationship with beer at the right temperature accompanied by music ( ile inaitwa muziki kwa big spika ). Beer drinking served as an avenue for me to unwind and meet people after a looong days’ hussle. Whether it was at Simmers listening to Le Marshal Bikassy Bijos, or at Sippers listening to Wakurugenzi, Octagon or Sevens, it was in these meetings where I got the chance to listen to armchair politicians’ debate about Kenyan and world vaunted politicians policies in contrast with their lofty rhetoric. I definitely enjoyed the maieutic discourses. However, we usually avoided ontological arguments.
It is in beer drinking that I have met people with a promptitude of world historical events and dates and a profusion of examples of world realpolitik figures and administrations over the cause of world history. It was in these symposiums that I would hear of “civil liberties”, heard it asserted that rights are not derived from human institutions, but from nature and God. Thus, government does not exist to please monarchs, but to promote the good of the entire society”, “extraordinary renditions”,“regime change”, “ the cave allegory and the television”, “filibuster”, “corporatocracy” an eon before the Arab Spring. I considered these beer meetings as a way of opening up my world view and perspective.
It was thus that I merely did not frequent conviviums for frothy liquids and music or other things, but also for exposition and socialisation. Beer was not for me meant for affirming to me the close connection between my own state of mind, inner peace and my happiness, neither was it a stress reliever or a panacea to my life’s little problems and struggles, it was a social thing. It was and it is still a place where one gets to learn from those who have been there. I know that when a person either willingly or otherwise acts under the influence of alcohol, he/she becomes in some instances oblivious to the impact of his/her deeds and words upon others. I have seen, read and heard of heartrending stories of lives which have been wretched by alcoholism and it has never been lost to me that a line should always be drawn between what is moderate and acceptable drinking and drinking till the cops come to remind you that it is not 1759 but past Mututho time.
It may not be a clean break as such, but I have tried training my mind to the mental acumen which accepts those things which are inevitable and not try to wish them away through pinting. I have become more structurally humanistic psychologically. I have changed a little my work ethics espousing the liberal ideology that life is just about work and getting results, it more than that and it ought to be lived and enjoyed. The youthful indiscretion that I once had has now been replaced by a focused but simple life of weighed choices. I have trained my mind to transform negative energies to positive outlook and achievement of inner peace without resorting to alcohol. Nowadays I don’t consider life as random, but programmed, to be had while it is still there. While blood was gushing from head, I pictured my epicedium being read, to friends and foes alike, about how I had lived my life fully, according to them. October, 6th 2010 taught me a truism, that the most important decisions in my life are not the things that I do, but the things I decide not to do. With hindsight, I shouldn’t have been pub crawling that night.
In the denouement of my note, as I proceed on this path, I’m reminded of some words from a movie I watched in 2008 “The Great Debaters“, where Melvin B. Tolson says “I am here to help you to find, take back, and keep your righteous mind.”…the righteousness bit, not sure! …but I’m definitely keeping my mind.