yeetiopia biherawi budin limimid. peda meda, bdu.

I don’t know if I am doing the right thing and if it is going to detrimentally affect  our chances of beating Sudan and qualifying for the African Cup of Nations.  Here are some of the pictures that we were able to take from the training session this afternoon. Later this curmudgeon/field caretaker  would come and start all kinds of trouble.


Shout-out to Mu’s phone 😀

let’s get thirty

My Savior did not really get to do His thing until he turned thirty.

I was born a premature baby. Not to mean I am anything special: most people are born prematurely. They burst into the scene; head first like they knew what they were doing, only to wonder later –was it the right thing to do?

So far as I know, childbirth is generally painful in only one of the millions of species on Earth: human beings. This must be a consequence of the recent and continuing increase in cranial volume. Modem men and women have braincases twice the volume of Homo habilis’. Childbirth is painful because the evolution of the human skull has been spectacularly fast and recent…. The incomplete closure of the skull at birth, the fontanelle, is very likely an imperfect accommodation to this recent brain evolution.

The connection between the evolution of intelligence and the pain of childbirth seems unexpectedly to be made in the Book of Genesis. In punishment for eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God says to Eve,  “In pain shalt thou bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16). It is interesting that it is not the getting of any sort of knowledge that God has forbidden, but, specifically, the knowledge of the difference between good and evil-that is, abstract and moral judgments, which, if they reside anywhere, reside in the neocortex.

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence

Carl Sagan

Before the little digression, I was about to make comparisons between Him and I. I mean why shouldn’t I? He is supposed to be my Role Model: Very Knowledgeable. As a matter of fact, He invented knowledge.

I wish we could stop capitalizing (on) His name and instead, start and finish the day with him; have a capital day.

Me on the other hand, I have been known to be in the lookout for the knowledge; and if and when it has been acquired, to kick said knowledge (since I am in the business anyways) to anyone who wants it kicked to them. In the meantime, I have been tied down by the collective of paltry things that calls itself day-to-day life. What little knowledge I have gotten is of the sobering and frustrating kind:

I’ve learnt the voice of new ambition

I’ve learnt new sadness but in this

the first will never find fruition

the earlier griefs are what I miss

o dreams , o dreams, where is your sweetness?

where (standard rhyme) are youth and fleetness?

can it be true, their crown at last

has felt time’s desiccating blast?

can it be  true, and firmly stated

without an elegiac frill,

that spring with me has had its fill

(as I’ve so oft in jest related)?

Can it be true, it won’t come twice-

and I’ll be thirty in a trice?

Eugene Onegin. Alexander Pushkin

Yes, He (I mean he) performed a host of miracles after the year thirty and told us that we could do the same with the littlest of exertions. Well, the only miracle I have got to my name is the courage to get through most of my shitty days without alcohol. Let the record show that I concede that I have got ways to go before I can be called an accomplished drunk; before I turn into someone who constantly fights the urge to break the looking glass, kill the messenger like. I am not sure which of the feelings shown below I can ascribe to myself:

My troubles

Forces of nature, air and water

I looked to thee for this exorcism

But sighing,  yawning could not cut it

They stayed inside

I was left out in the cold

Maybe another try

Stretched out my arms, for the wind to take them

Away like the chaff they are

They insisted on their importance

We are the grains you see!

Let’s see, if trying to drown you

Might work like a charm:

a.      For all their weighing me down

They remained afloat

b.      It gave us a well-deserved break

My troubles and I both

They returned well-rested, stronger

c.       By-and-by

The din died down

Laid me down, the bed with

Its aura of wake up!

It was time ages ago

Unbeknownst to them, they wanted me to dance sans alcohol. Very happy that he got married–a very cute couple!–will sure miss him around the house, but oh,  for fuck’s  sakes, stop asking me to join in the dance! I fucking hate ale gena ale gena* , stop pushing me to the center of things! I can’t handle all this (imagined) attention that you have lavished upon me; and my sister.

I am happy but don’t force my smile. Don’t try to remind me that next year, it’s my turn ass because it is not. What part of “gidibu siyalq new yemagebaw.” are you having trouble comprehending?

* Still, you gotta give it up for TSegaye Eshetu for doing a one-eighty,  going from the sad, hod yemibela tone of lesergua teTerahu torecording 15+ minutes long, phew!, wedding songs for the bride, the groom and the crowd to get their groove on. I presume he is still in the same wedding from years back. But he is just drunk and decided to say fuck it, I will get the party jumping!

Zoom in on the bride and the groom. Boy oh boy!  (and girl oh girl!  too. I mean, we have to be gender sensitive. Kind of reminds me of what one guy said on a conference. Jesus was the one who introduced affirmative action; to wit, after he came back from the dead, it was Mary Magdalene whom he first revealed himself to) critical acclaim!!  They, along with their posse, are enjoying their day as it is supposed to be enjoyed. They raise the bar so high for posterity. My bro gets on stage with his wifey, grabs the mic, mizewoch on the guitars, percussion, …, speakers play this song twice, by popular demand. I used to hate the song. But ever since the wedding, I can’t get enough of it:

Tesfaye’s song reminds me of my sister’s wedding and Betty, she is just singing my life:

And so, as the comedy goes, sininesa and fishale ena and shiguT bicha neber yizen yetenesanew. Thirty years later, we are still as fucked up, confused and afraid to act as we were back then. We still need stuff to be converted to filename.tib (Tibebe format) in order to get the hang of them.

They make sure to find ways of letting you know that you are getting older. Twice in the past year have I been told in public places that youth encompasses ages 15-24, implying that I can’t attend such and such gathering. Your loss! Plus that sporadic single white hair on my beard deigns to reintroduce itself on the week of my birthday, just to spite me.

Taken on face value, turning thirty may not seem like that big of a deal — it is just the thing to do after twenty nine; just another year. But once it descends upon you (yes, descends), I tell you, you would be hard put to know what to do with yourself: run for cover or figure out the right-colored wire to cut. It is like a countup:

Regardless, I keep on moving, take the bomb with me.  I can do thirty more of these, easy!

I keep on moving, change or no change. Truth be told, there is change. My other bro and his wife tried to give me a makeover, physical and mental. The jury is out on the outcome of the latter. But as far as attire are concerned, it felt like I was behind green and yellow (like the sites of new construction that one would find in Etyopia);  and when they were finally done with me, I was looking as dapper as the pigeon below:

Turning thirty is so stressful. My advice to you, don’t try it! The post celebrating your thirtieth birthday, you would want it to be so perfect and meaningful, that you ruminate for two months and you come up with this hideous motley thing. But it sure feels great to get rid of residual thoughts.


It looks like I will be moving back to Addis Abeba after a stint of three  odd years in Bahir Dar. No surprises there. All this time, my clothes were in the luggage they came in:

after 30

We are duplicating exam papers and are told that there is going to be a staff get-together tomorrow. Comes tomorrow and we are at this swanky place getting our dinner and drink on. Then we are supposed to come out in couples and introduce each other to the crowd, you know, all in the spirit of the event.

Side note: Some days earlier, I had appealed to the Academic Council-otherwise affectionately known as AC- to fix me up with a chick. Come on, what was I supposed to do?!  They asked why I was leaving and what it would take to make me stay. It’s always been said that anything and everything that we fail to deal with at the personal and departmental levels, to bring it to the AC. Bring it I did and they had said that they would take care of it no doubt . I suspect they had me (among other people) in mind when they put this thing together.

Now normally I get frisky even at the sight of beer. So it does not exactly ill behoove me when I start the introduction of a friend with “I could have introduced him better had I been sober”

No one laughs. People are looking down at their tables, ashamed for me: “siyayut eko dehina sew yemesil neber!?

That was 3/2 beers and a glass of wine later.

I talk about how he is a Bob Marley head (although his hairline is receding dangerously) and how he had lent me his PC speakers. He mentions my “alleged” Italian descent and how Adowa creeps me out; he finishes up by stating that I had turned thirty and am in an urgent need of a wife.

Another glass of wine, more introductions, speeches, comments and applause –we vacate the place.

A couple of guys suggest that we take the party to the next level. My adventurous self is in control and I get on board. But since I was not sure what the next level consisted in, I was a bit worried about things like hooker money and manscaping.

The four of us hit a place with a live band first. The band is a somber affair but we dance sitting down, remembering the songs that are being butchered on stage. Truth be spoken, the singers are not that bad. I even decide to bestow a gift of 10 birr (cheap!) upon this traditional singer when he decides to get off the stage and do some induction on the maximum of 10 guys that were in the place. Not only have I become adventurous this night, I am also innovative. I look for a decent place to put my gift on his person. Sticking it with saliva on his forehead is out. I put the money in the fold of his collar (are you afraid that people are going to call you cheap?)  It falls down and methinks the guy tramples on it after a cursory inspection.

It is loud up in here; we are straining to hear what the other person is saying. The paper labels  on the beer bottles come to our rescue –we communicate writing on those. It dawns on us-although it is still ninish- that if we are to continue sharing our thoughts, then we are going to have to drink more beer. More beer = additional paper to write on. We drink under the watchful gaze of Emperor Tewodros II. He is staring at us accusingly like we are his subjects whom he had ordered to carry the cannon up the mountain –and here we are eyecheleTin!  Chill out dude! All in good time! I question his decision to take his own life. He should have let himself be taken prisoner and when in London they wanted to display him as their latest conquest, he could have literally brought the house down, Samson style.

Next place we check out turns out to be a lounge bar kind of establishment where even the guy in the CD gets self-conscious when doing his thing.  We get in and get out.

Third place…

Before that, we discuss the wisdom of painting the town red, the town plagued as it is with students some of whom may be our own.  Relief comes in the knowledge that we have fixed their exam for the day after tomorrow. They are probably in their dorms, painting their handouts red instead. How about those who are not our students? Well, it is their city too, what the heck!

Third place is yeazmari bet. I was looking forward to hearing lewd lyrics, something in the lines of “cute guy with glasses” lyrics but they kept on talking about Abay, limat and… yuck! I would have been equally pissed if it was the other way round. That’s just me —Mr Opposite.  Noteworthy stuff from this episode: my tongue is in free flow; I am still riding the buzz which I caught three bottles ago. That’s the beauty of being a novice drinker, as one of my friends had remarked sometime ago: the buzz is not hard to come by; seasoned drinkers on the other hand have to toil and move a lot of bottles to get that same buzz. My shoulders are yet to loosen up; but that does not prevent me from doing the eskista with one of the female traditional dancers. The milliliters are going so fast that I am forced to wonder if someone from the crowd is guzzling my drink unseen.

The next morning I would receive comments that, in the foreseeable future, I would  be in the running to win the Sponge d’Or (The Golden Sponge)

Then to shooting some pool. My performance on the table could be summed in what one of the guys said: yaltegerezu ejoch

Here, the walls do not speak patriotism. Images of scantily clad ladies posing with the stick and what not. There is this one poster where a naked guy is about to shoot some balls into the huha of an equally naked lady lying on the beach, legs open. A couple of us surmise that another person is behind the guy, trying to do the same thing to him. You know, the hunter becomes the hunted.

Someone back me up on this: I have always thought that the purpose of those kinds of posters in pool houses is to enhance the performance of the players. Men are wont to make  shows of bravado when there are women around, two dimensional women regardless.

And out of nowhere, comes the impromptu list of some of the stupid things I have done in my life. Drum-rolls please! Off the top of my head:

  1. I once tried to impress a Protestant girl by blasting a new and very dirty rap song (no Lecrae)  from the  laptop. Maybe it was the right thing to do under the situation. I hear she sees a potential to be saved in everyone; and my potential must have been off the charts  😳
  2. Around  the time I started to frequent the internet room in school, I responded (phone calls) to a “You are the one millionth visitor to this site; you have won a prize”  I even told my moms and pops about the good news 😳
  3.  I crossed a busy street checking the other way for cars 😳
  4.  I gave one hundred birr to a hustler whose plan was to hustle me out of fifty birr. I even provided him with the place he supposedly knew me from 😳

Now, where was I?  Yes, the pool house. Gigi was doing her thing:

Night is getting deep. Last place we hit is a club with a shy DJ. At least that was my perception of him at the time. Perhaps I was comparing him with myself:  I was on the dance floor, getting down; I have loosened up all over; I am snatching imaginary trumpets from my friend. But the DJ, he is just fiddling with the CD player –why ain’t he dancing?!

Then come the dancing girls. For all the watts of sound coming out of the speakers, club falls silent, people hold their breaths, male and female alike. Their attire are swimming suits of an earlier and a bit more conservative era; not to say, midriffs and thighs were not in full display. The girl with a full behind and pleasant face goes first (was I thinking La vache qui rit?)  She keeps  pulling on her shorts. I take it to be a signal to put some money in there. I have watched enough movies to pride myself on my smattering of strip joint etiquette. But then I think the better of it: what if the bouncer (who, in all likelihood, doubles as her man) first tears my money in my face and then proceeds to tear me into pieces in full view of my friends: “here! put your friend together if you claim to really know him!”

Second girl  has got an Amy Winehouse in/on her. Everyone must have been thinking “she must be a real barracuda in the sack!” She goes on to try and bludgeon my friend over the head with her booty while doing her wall routine aka the spiderwoman. Esu ager selam new bilo gidgida teTegito eyeTeTa neber. She could have done some sweet damage had she been the other girl.

List of accessories on stage: a full length mirror which Amy seems drawn to. And a set of steel bars which remind one of the meat hangers that one would find at the butcher’s. My pious self interjects here: isn’t that essentially  what we are here to witness –women being treated and treating themselves as  pieces of meat?

The condominium of one of us is chosen as the place where we are going to crash  tonight. It is 2:00 AM. The biochemistry in us (ethanol inhibits gluconeogenesis, duh!) prevails and we have a hearty meal before going to bed. I could also attest to the fact that ethanol inhibits deep-seated inhibitions. I mean, I was dancing my ass off!

Next day someone goes as far as to suggest that we should be impartial, and we should continue the party in the sun, in the same vein we did it under the moon. Another exclaims that it had been a month since he had a decent night out, and that he needed this. Comparisons are made: 30 years vs. 30 days. Sure I have experienced bars and clubs before. But this was my first out-and-out night out. I guess another 😳 is in order.

But what was turning 30 like?

To be continued from the beginning.


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