If the Boat sinks

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Patrick Sikana 1By Patrick Sikana

In April this year I saw this boy in the parking lot of Manda Hill shopping mall, lanky and bony, dressed like a hungovered Chris Brown on a winter morning. He looked 19 years 3 months old or so. He was wearing a Chicago Bulls cap and a grey sweatshirt with the name JASON ISBELL emblazoned across the chest. He had on those golden high-shoes that kids wear nowadays and ripped skinny jeans showing both of his knees.

The first time I saw ripped jeans was at the University of Zambia in 1992. Having come straight from Siasikabole village, and never having seen one there, I was filled with compassion when, during our introductory lecture in NELT, a course mate sat next to me, clad in a tattered pair of jeans that showed generous portions of her sensual flesh. At the end of the lecture, I asked my friend, Kennedy Kasimba, if we could mobilise a few people to contribute money for her to buy a few decent clothes and take that one to the tailor. Kennedy just shook his head and rounded me up with savage eloquence, saying he now understood why they say you can take a villager from the village but you may not take the village out him. “That’s fashion,” he sneered. It took me many months of bumping into them to reluctantly understand that torn jeans were in fact fashion.

So, back to that boy at the upper parking lot at Manda Hill. He was leaning on a white Range Rover Sport chatting up this equally young girl who looked delicate and fragile with brittle twig-like bones, wearing the shortest skirt invented by mankind. A skirt so short that if she sneezed too hard you would see everything all the way up to her lungs. She was on her phone, typing something and scrolling as the boy chatted her up. Rich kids. The driver’s door was open and they were listening to strange music, rap/hiphop/ pop music, one of those songs that are sung by shirtless chaps with golden teeth and tattoos everywhere. Smoke came out of that car. But it wasn’t barbecue smoke, it was weed. I know the smell of weed. My cousin, Samuel, used to grow it near the kraal. And he used to smoke it. Weed doesn’t smell like popcorn. Weed smells like weed.

You can imagine my disappointment. My utter indignation. What was this spectacle in front of me? If you are in my age bracket you probably had the same socialisation, so you can guess what I thought about that spectacle. I thought to myself: How, for the life of me, are they going to lower the dignity of a Range Rover like that?

No seriously. There are some cars that demand a certain level of respect. It reminded me of those guys who buy (or are given) those sleek Mercedes, the S or E-class, and they proceed to put those loud sporty mag rims on them, and add all these gaudy bells and whistles on the car, and then to add insult to immense injury, they play loud booming music from those cars announcing themselves as if an S-Class has ever needed to be announced. It’s pornographic.

It’s like writing “Mukelabai Constructors, P.O. BOX 940048, Kaoma” in small print on the door of a Jaguar XF. I mean, what kind of swag is that?

And so to see smoke coming out of that Range like that….I don’t know, it made the Range look like a traditional hut somewhere in Sefula district. It broke my heart.

I imagined how that car landed in the hands of those kids. Maybe it was mum’s “other car,” and the boy said he was thinking of going to the Manda Hill to “hang out” with his “buddies” because he was bored (only rich kids get bored by the way) and so mum waved him away telling him to take “one of the cars,” (there are six in the driveway and two in the garage) and to make sure that he was home before 20.00 hours. And off he went, picked his girl up from, I don’t know, Ibex hill, then picked weed from his other pal in Avondale and then, there he was,smoking weed and bobbing on his $200 flashy shoes, stinking up the upholstery of an affluent car with cannabis residue and feeling squat.

I just thought that if they wanted to smoke weed they could have done it somewhere else, not in a Range Rover Sport. There are so many trees around Manda hill or somewhere in Olympia Park they could have picked to go smoke their weed under. Even on the rooftop of a random building. Not in a Range Rover, guys. You can do your mischief in a Nissan X-Trail, a Toyota Crown, a Toyota Corrolla, and certainly in an Altezza . In fact, go ahead and be mischievous in an Altezza; that car was built for debauchery. Not a Range Rover. Not a Mercedes. Not an Audi. It’s like pissing on a war hero’s grave. Okay, enough about cars.

I drove away and left that crime scene, wishing I had police tape to cordon off the area. I didn’t think about those kids again until I was narrating the spectacle to Mwansa. My wife is a Range Rover enthusiast. I thought about that girl in a short skirt and thought, gosh, someone somewhere calls her ‘his little angel’. Someone who is, what, 52-years old, and probably has no clue that she hangs out with Jason Isbell there, who has introduced her to weed and is definitely trying to get into her pants. Or maybe, God forbid, she’s the one who has been trying to get into Jason Isbell’s pants but little Jason isn’t too keen because he’s currently focusing on more important and urgent things in his life; you know, like weed.

He probably did everything right, this poor father. He worked hard, he took her to one of the best schools in the country, he kissed her goodnight, he bought her books, he talked with her, he did everything to build her character and self-confidence, gave her opportunities and prayed for her, and then he left the rest to God; and then Jason here showed up from Kabulonga and handed her a blunt. Amidst a haze of smoke, he told her that she had nice legs and all the self-confidence her father instilled in her made her smile goofily and say, “I know!” She giggled and her confidence blossomed because now Jason there with his torn jeans and golden shoes had validated her. Of course things start going pear shaped from there.

I then realised that as parents we are jinxed. We are in the hands of weed-headed Jasons. They have most of the cards and they can play any hand they choose.

Kids grow up and go off and meet other kids who may or may not have had the same up-bringing. And they might or might not change. Then they may want to try out stuff – alcohol, sex, cigarettes, weed, crossdressing, nudism – etc, and some get over it while others get committed to the cause. Then the parents say, “Gosh, is there something I would have done differently?” Maybe. But maybe not.

I think having kids is like building a boat. You get the best wood that you could afford. You build it without cutting corners. No compromising on quality. You use strong nails. You get the best sail and a strong mast and when it’s ready and you ask yourself, “did I build this boat the best way I could?” If it’s yes, you push the boat out into the deep blue sea, where you can’t control much of what happens to it when it comes into contact with the elements of nature. Storms will come. Maybe it will be toppled over by a menopausal shark. Maybe it will start leaking. You pray that it weathers all those elements because you built it well. You did your best.

If you PLAYED and PRAYED your full part as a parent and your little angel ends up wretched, don’t be hard on yourself. She just met Jason. It’s not your fault. Jason is an element. Or maybe that girl in a short skirt is the element and Jason is the boat you diligently built. If it sinks, it doesn’t occur because you built a bad boat, it sinks because something beyond you came its way. And there will always be elements beyond you.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing against the Altezza -LOL

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9 Responses to If the Boat sinks

  1. Patrick ! Your stories are so refreshing ! Please keep it up !

    Alien
    October 2, 2016 at 10:30 am
    Reply

  2. Pingback: If the Boat sinks - Latest Africa News, Breaking News, Hot and Daily News

  3. Great stuff Patrick… These are ugly facts and
    realities of life…

    nchimu nchimu
    October 2, 2016 at 2:21 pm
    Reply

  4. Nice one Patrick!!!keep it up.

    Ben 7
    October 2, 2016 at 6:21 pm
    Reply

  5. Hmmmmn

    Ulemona
    October 2, 2016 at 9:07 pm
    Reply

  6. Nice piece Patrick. Keep it up man!

    Mpundu
    October 3, 2016 at 3:26 am
    Reply

  7. This is the thing who knows she will choose to be ,well if you did your work to your best she will live to remember ; never theless they have to choose where they want to go.
    It is heartbraking to see them be so unkind to themselves, indeed as parents we hurt by such results to our treasured children.

    nshilimubemba
    October 3, 2016 at 5:20 pm
    Reply

  8. You are a really good writer. You have a way wiyh words. Please keep it up. If you write a book i will buy it. This is great.

    Mpinga mbizi
    October 6, 2016 at 4:43 am
    Reply

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