Boredom is but lead nitrate before mixed with potassium iodide, but a calm pond away from catching a fish, but an idle bomb away from an explosion.
I confused a firefly for a meteorite.
I got excited and then not,
But I quickly realized the firefly was a rather beautiful streak across the starry night.
It’s a trick of the mind really, this excitement of mine.
As a kid I used to get too excited for vacations. I was, although I couldn’t admit it happily at the time, my father’s son. He would set a “be on the road” deadline of 4 in the morning. I wouldn’t sleep those vacation nights. At 3:30 you’d find the two of us going over last minute details while the coffee brewed. My sisters and mom stirred reluctantly from the last minute dreams that women dream.
Mom forgot something, without fail, every time. Dad used to get so mad, it drove him crazy that you could forget something every time, but I know they love each other more and more with the passing years. We all forget sometimes.
Rasha rasha, rain on the tin roof. This is excitement that I used to have. The circumstances a bit different.
I spent the last hour soaked, transferring bucket after bucket from the tin roof draining. I pour the water through a sieve made from an old t-shirt with the top of an old water jug inverted as a funnel. I pour the water through the sieve into an old battery acid jug. We pour the water through another sieve into a big clay jar, and we have drinking water for the next few weeks, and this is excitement.
Church can last all day, so I’m a Catholic here. The songs and sermon may be Swahili, but the timing’s not.
I was sitting in mass yesterday and in walks a guy with his head covered with a checkered scarf. By all outward appearances, this guy’s Muslim and he’s shaking madly.
He’s doing all sorts of unpredictable gestures; standing when he shouldn’t be, hands poised, then twitching, shaking unnaturally, as if something is really disturbing him.
The primary school girls with their beautiful voices and blue school dresses start whispering. The adults who can see what’s going on start wondering, start praying…
You’ve read the news I’m sure. Some idiots making a film that never should have been made. The Libyan ambassador murdered, Sudan and Tunisia pulling all but essential U.S. government workers, and Kenya’s at war with Al Shabaab. Garissa, Kenya; Churches have been blowing up since last year. A few months ago a grenade attack planned for my church was stopped at the next town down. An IED was diffused in a local hoteli in July, and here’s this guy, this guy wearing a kufiya, four rows up with a packed sanctuary behind.
Bam. Here it goes…He stands quickly and starts up the center aisle for the back of the church. All the while he’s yelling something about the holy spirit in Swahili at the top of his lungs. He pulls something out of his shirt and starts waving it around. People are frantically searching for an answer to what this troubled man is doing, or about to do, or whether he’s doing anything at all except being mad.
Hearts are racing, beating out of chests, like that time I saw a wild lion growl from five feet away. He sits back down. He starts dancing in front of the church to the last song. We finish the service.
God must be mad. Or maybe we’re supposed to laugh in church, or maybe we’re supposed to fear Him. Or maybe, during an otherwise exceptionally boring sermon, we’re supposed to be excited. Maybe he had a grenade packed away and God answered our prayers. It was exciting. The circumstances different now than then.
My journey has changed some things. I’m old enough to start my life. I’m weird enough not to care about what they think. I’m ready now.
I’m excited; for so many things have passed, for so many things to come.
This excitement of mine, but a figment of my imagination, or experience, or possibility…I’m excited not to worry about the little things anymore.
See you soon, and I’m excited for that.
This is it, thanks for reading.
This is Mista Kuti, signing off from Marsabit.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)