You haven’t been drinking for some time now, and this, to the chagrin of grocery associates such as Uncle Kich the ex-headmaster. “You aren’t sick, you say, yet you aren’t drinking like a man should, why?” he had queried when you informed him of your ongoing one-month break.
“It’s just a vow I took, check out if life is possible without beer and allied liquids like Konyagi,’ you reassure him. However, he remains concerned, most likely worried over what’s wrong with his uncle (read “nephew”)
“Okay, uncle, but if there’s something you’re hiding, I’ll wait…we’ll know the truth in due course,” says Uncle Kich as he polishes off his second big Serengeti while you continue nursing your first bottle of Club Water.
He’s at least pacified, somewhat, that you’re buying him beer. You see, as we all know, fellows who patronise bars ‘kupiga tu stori” while having sodas, including Fanta, as if they’re school children, have the tendency to drink for free, courtesy of boozers.
Indeed, when teetotalers join the table and asked by the barmaid, “Unakunywa nini?”; their answer normally something like: “Soda TU —naomba Fanta.” Ouch! And their thinking, you’re certain, is: why should I give a round that includes Heineken which costs a whole three thou, yet I take ONLY a soda sold at only six hundred bob?”
The proprietor-cum-manager of Halichachi Bar, Mzee Salewa , isn’t amused either by your self-imposed drinking ban. As you walk past his “grocery”, he waves and shouts: “Hey, Mzee Muya, you aren’t seen nowadays, what’s wrong?”
You’re certain it’s not you he’s missing, rather, he’s missing your hard-earned Bongo shillings you normally spend at his grocery.
“Nothing is wrong,” you say, “but I’m just off beer for now and shall remain that way for quite a while.”
“But you’re not sick, are you?” he asks.
“Not at all, actually I’m now much fitter than ever before, having abstained for three weeks,” you say. You read disappointment on his face and feel sorry for him as you decline his invitation to have at least one on him since, he argues, you haven’t stopped drinking on any doctor’s orders.
And, contrary to your expectation, your abstention hasn’t been heartily welcomed by members of the mini-tribe that share a roof with you either. The very people who’ve always mumbled of “a dad who wastes maelfu at the bar even as we survive on ugali with mchicha”, are wishing you could as well go back to your boozing ways. You can’t be sure why, but you suspect it’s because by being at home early, you at times grab the TV remote and make them watch “boring things” like news bulletins, health or wildlife documentaries, while everybody else wants to watch those “interesting” soaps.
Yeah, soaps in which characters you’re a hundred-plus per cent sure don’t know a word in our national language, are featured speaking perfect Kiswahili. Arrgh!
It looks like you might as well go back to your beer much sooner than later—oh yeah!