I know. I’m silly a lot of times and I write some utterly stupid lines that make no sense like some of what you’re about to read. I don’t set out to put down such ridiculous words but look, here’s the thing.
I’m shaking in my pants right now, holding in a fart that’s making its way down my colon. You might think this is a joke. It isn’t. I’m as serious as can be. I don’t want it to come out because it might shoot out like a mini-bomb. That will be disastrous in this cafe I’m in.
A fart like that will draw the attention of those guys behind me. They’ll stop the natural flow of their breathing system. They will deprive their bodies of oxygen and keep carbon dioxide locked in their lungs. It might elicit a laughter that will follow me all the days of my life. It could make for saucy gossip among the women here. At my age, I have no business farting in public. I’ve got to keep it in, hold it up and not write about it. But my stomach won’t let me. It’s howling. I’m in trouble now.
I can’t explain why I’m rambling on about environmental pollution from my backside. A silent release might be too poisonous it could leave my neighbours in shock, their systems suffering a mini-stroke. That’s a dangerous direction to take. This is something I wouldn’t want to see happening to those around me. I love my people.
My thighs are jerking. I’ve taken a sip of water. I’m scared. I’m afraid of what I’m doing. What if it doesn’t stick, again? What if a speeding car crashes into it? What if a flood comes and washes it away into a swamp of nothingness? What will I do? Start over? How many times will I start over?
I’m thinking about the many attempts I’ve made at this thing; the times I’ve opened an empty sheet and filled it with ink. I’m thinking about the struggle of getting the right words to string together into sentences that makes sense. They all seem to have ended in a pit of oblivion.
I’ve jumped off this cliff before, thought it was a challenge worth taking, a dare I could handle. And what happened? I fell flat to my face, hurt my testicles and cracked my head, broke my ulna and radius. That shit hurt so bad. It made me feel like an imposter, a failure, a personal disaster. That’s what life is like sometimes.
We set off to achieve an ambitious goal. We pump ourselves with what motivation speakers tell us to do. “You can make it,” they say. “Take the leap,” they repeat. And by the time you’re done listening to them, your blood is flowing so fast your muscles feel strong enough to tackle a lion and your brain tells you, “My guy, you can do it.”
So you get into the car and strap your seat belt on. You step on the brakes, ignite your car, and push the handbrake down, step on the clutch and engage gear one. You get the car started and hit the accelerator. You’re on the road now, switching from gear one to two. But as you keep driving, at a junction where you are supposed to make a turn to the left (which goes uphill), you forget to change gears and get into a mix-up of the clutch, brake and accelerator. Your car notices how confused you are.
The taxi driver behind you utters profanities. He says you are a useless driver and asks why you’re on the road in the first place. He wears a mean grin and tells you to go drive in fields where you can improve on your skills.
“Manual cars aren’t for weaklings,” he’ll shout. “Grow a pair my ssebo, grow a pair!” he’ll repeat. He’ll bully you off the road.
You’ll panic and fail to re-ignite the car. There’ll be people hooting from all sides of the road. Traffic will pile up and other drivers will create their own lane. They will be in a rush to nowhere except that woman whom you noticed was overtaking unnecessarily. Maybe she has an emergency. You can’t guess what that emergency is.
A boda boda guy will drive close to your car. He will scratch your tail light and get away with it. He won’t apologize. He’ll accelerate on as though nothing happened.
You’ll gather your strength again and re-ignite the car. You’ll drive and park it by the side of the road and move out to assess the damage caused by the boda guy. Sigh!
All will be well.
I’ve started this race several times before but failed to make it to the finish line. I’ve fallen short. I’ve run out of steam. I’ve feigned injury and sat by side of the track. I’ve rolled on the ground and beaten myself for not going all the way.
I tried the relay, couldn’t get the baton to the next runner. The next runner was me. I dropped the baton and kicked the air. I felt as though I let my team down. My team was me.
I’ve felt deflated, wondered why I just couldn’t get it going. I tested the depth of the river with both feet and sunk. I was saved from drowning by a life guard. Her name is Bett. She probably doesn’t know it. She once sent me a calming and reassuring email that made me drop a tear. You can never forget a girl whose email made salty water fill your eyes.
I’m scared to my toes now. I’m scared of letting myself down again, of starting this again and running out of gas before I get anywhere close to what this is supposed to be. I don’t know if I can do this again. This is another of my attempts at not sucking at writing.
The older I grow, the more I realize there’s’ no finish line for this craft. It’s the kind of stuff you keep doing every day. This vocation has no retirement age. It’s a lifelong adventure. It’s a passion, a skill that keeps sticking out in every situation. It doesn’t care whether you are tired or if you’ve failed before. It doesn’t give two shits how low you feel about yourself. It’ll whoop your ass for not waking up and getting things going.
It’ll nudge you to the point of nagging your nostrils. That’s why, even when you don’t want to, you’ll still wake up and do it. It’s like an addiction. You can go to rehab for it but for the rest of your life, you’ll remain an addict or is it a recovering addict?