Sunday, April 13, 2014

Growing Old Can Be Bliss

The last time I was with Zimbabwe’s President, Rob Mugabe, it was at the African Union Summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo some years ago. Okay, I lie, I wasn’t really with him. I was standing at the entrance to the conference hall when he walked past and rather embarrassingly for me, he didn’t acknowledge me.
Mugabe is in his 80s and save for his knees giving him problems, everything else is in order. He has the same drive that he had thirty years ago. Looking at him up close, he’s aged gracefully. When I zeroed in to have a close look at his scalp before his bodyguards bundled me away, he doesn’t appear to dye his hair, he has not had a facelift nor does being old bother him.
Many people out there are petrified of growing old. Women, the moment and for the lack of a better word to use, if the ‘twins’ on their chests start to sag, they run for the surgeon’s knife and if they can’t afford the surgeon’s knife, they wear Wonder bra’s to uplift the them or resort to plastic surgery as another option.
I am getting older by the day that my 30-year-old ‘goatee’ is awash with white hair which, I won’t shave off even though I get looks of: “Eh, what is Jajja doing here” whenever I walk into Club Silk. And my scalp too, is also bristling with white hair and whatever Club Silk Teen may say, I will not dye it to look younger.
I’ve been helping out Friend with some work at his Wandegeya office and from his window on the second floor, you can peer into Neighbour’s house and see everything they get up to. Neighbour has two teen daughters who persist in having their morning showers on the veranda blissfully unaware that from the tinted window of Friends office, I can see them lather themselves with soap while water cascades down their nubile bodies. I am drooling as I type.
Teen Daughters have no trace of ageism on them. They don’t need to wear Wonder bra’s to prop up their twins and they have many years ahead of them before strands of white hair peek out.
Obviously I made it a point of getting to his office as early as possible – not to ogle at them (I swear!) but to reminisce, to feel young again. Then one weekend they moved. Just like that without even a farewell shower. Days later, the new tenants moved in with no teen daughters.
They are an elderly couple and I mean a very elderly couple. In the past two weeks, nobody appears to have visited them and they don’t seem to have family or kids who pop in to check on them. It’s just Jajja Boy and Jajja Girl as Gaana and Natal call my parents.
Despite a thick mop of white hair coupled with arthritis and much more that’s tormenting Jajja Boy, he sits and talks with his wife. If not, she reads to him. On one occasion when the top part of her gomesi fell open revealing her sagged twins, twins that even a Wonder bra can no longer help, he pointed to them, smiled and whispered something. She blushed.
Watching them, they delight in being old. She is unperturbed that he didn’t dye his white hair, has arthritis and that she has to read to him because his sight is failing. He too is happy with her sagged twins that Wonder bra cannot help and that she didn’t have plastic surgery.
However, if only they had family to check in on them, I would sleep better knowing they are ok.