Food & Drinks

Sober thoughts at Barrels and Stool



You want to think. It’s hard to think nowadays. Too much distraction; the neighbours dog barking, bills, your grandmother’s bad back and knees and wrists, the rider from Chupa-Chapa, liquor delivery service, asking you, “umesema hii njia inaitwa nini?” And this isn’t even starting with the demands of fatherhood. And of your manhood.

Sometimes you will get into your car and drive around looking for nothing, but knowing when you see it that it’s what you were looking for.

It’s like finding a wife. Who can claim to say that they knew they would be a husband in 2010? Women know. They’re deliberate. They think. We are led by our tails. Anyway, you are in your car, driving around. The window is open. You see a place written Barrels and Stool on a road you’d never seen before, on Lower Kabete Road.

On a whim, you drive in. Who said you can’t be spontaneous?

It’s an open space. A stage. Bandas. Barrels for tables. There is an open bar facing the compound, with an open upstairs seating of sorts.

It’s early in the evening. There are three rich-looking kids with wild hair standing at the bar. Maybe 19 or 20. Two boys and a girl. The girl is chewing gum. She has a belly ring. The boys are smoking. You sit away from them and order a whisky. Then you try and think.

Because that’s what you want to do. You sit still and look at the sky and you let your mind drift. Occasionally you hear the girl laugh or one of the boys say, “dude!”

The bar is mostly quiet. A few people join a few middle-aged Indian guys who light up and drink beers and talk about cars. Someone puts on the music and it joins the smell of cigarettes in the air.

You hope nobody you know comes in. Nobody you know comes in. After two drinks you get back in the car and you drive around again and do more thinking than you did in the bar.

When you get home you think to yourself; can you imagine what the caterpillar thinks of its life? Can you imagine what life awaits a butterfly? A life it’s completely unaware of?

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