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Monday, June 13, 2011

ignorance

There are a lot of things I have no idea about. I can't write/make/code a website for example, I don't even know what the right word is for when a person constructs/creates a website but that's OK, I can't fly a plane and I can't build a car. There's so much that I can't do but its OK because human beings can't do everything and I tell myself there's so much more I can do and I should just get better at those things. There are a lot of historical facts I don't know geography was never a friend and when it comes to current affairs... well let's just say I am not about to substitute any political analyst out there. But I can't know all these things.

However there are a couple of things I should know but don't. A good example is the vitz. Now I know exactly what a vitz, its some small car that makes everyone around it feel the need to assert their masculinity by making fun of it and simultaneously vowing never to buy one, it doesn't matter that all the choice most of these people have when it comes to mobility is whether to take a loud matatu or not. Anyway for the longest time I had no idea what a vitz was. Till last year, late last year I had no idea what this vehicle was that brought such bile to people's throats. I went through months of hearing the vitz being compared to anything that was easily available. I went through months of pretending that I had an idea what people were talking about. I have no idea what it was that finally prompted me to ask or be shown. I had reached and passed the point where shame at my ignorance was a valid option. It had been months since I should have asked about these kind of things. I couldn't suddenly admit my ignorance and so it festered. I could have googled the answer. Yes I could. But...

it just didn't happen and then I found out what a vitz was and I was pleased with myself. I feel sure it must have been a moment of cunning, of smartness and fox-like stratagems, I was so proud of this new knowledge I extrapolated it to everything. Everything here being supras. This is a word that sounds like it's a vehicle. A supra sounds like the name of a car, the kind of car Toyota would make and market. So it's not my fault that for months and months I thought a supra was a car. I heard all these speeches about the supra generation. I heard that they were these kids who sagged their jeans and wore sunglasses and had supras. I burned with envy. I had never owned a supra. All my life I had walked around in shoes that got more and more dusty with every step. I was like an ancient traveller, the first thing I would do when I entered the house was get a glass of water. At the end of every day my ankles would ache and need a massage, my shoes would need to be off my feet, I would shake the dust off before I entered the house and I would lie to myself that this was good exercise. But I knew I would much rather have a supra. Where oh where did these young children get supras. Why couldn't I be that spoiled, a car all to myself because I had made it past high school. Then a couple of months ago my 12 year old cousin came and showed me her supras. Before envy completely took over my body I looked at her feet to see these bright shoes, blue if I remember and looked up at her smiling face. Relief, shock and surprise fought each other to inflect the next sentence out of my mouth, “supras are shoes!”

I had another eureka moment just last week as we were driving home with the family from yet another family function. I must say though, I love these shindigs so much more since they allowed me to drink at them. My cousin was getting confirmed and we sat outside church as a three hour service was conducted by john cardinal njue. At the lunch later at their house, a 5 litre cask of wine was served. I will take this sentence to profess my love for the 5 litre cask. The aluminium foil where the wine resorts is silver, pure silver. There's a tap in these casks, a tap. They put a tap in every one of them, a feat of micro-engineering if ever I saw one. And that tap runs and runs, the wine does not stop, a river spouting out love with every turn. I was in a white trouser so of course I spilled some red wine on myself, Murphy’s flaw is that he likes me too much. But back to the eureka moment. As we drove home a vitz drove past us. The customary yelps about how much noone wanted a vitz came about then my brother said, and I can't stress how illuminating the next sentence out of his mouth was “Toyota vitz.” he said this with such derision that I knew he thought toyota had done the unforgivable by allowing their name to be soiled by having the word vitz attached to it. However for me this was a moment of revelation, of the kind of illumination that jay-z is now accused of and the sentence jumped out of my throat, “vitz are toyotas!”