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
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:
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
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: