A man slightly bewildered by his good fortune. God has been kind.
The real friends are happy when we are happy and make an effort to meet us and celebrate our happiness at our favourite moments. They seek us out, as if to quench a thirst for people like them; to see themselves in the eyes and journeys of people they believe are good enough. Our real friends make an effort to make us good by demanding more of us and disregarding our failings because they understand that no one needs to apologize for their failings. They don’t demand anything else.
We are comfortable with them because they are comfortable with themselves. It’s effortless. It’s not a show. It’s a naked revelation of who we are and what we stand for. They know where they are going and react violently to hypocrisy.
We invest our surplus goodwill on them because we feel that the world is a better place with more people like ourselves in it and therefore support each others cause. Friends are not people we see around us in hardship because every human, short of a psychopath has the potential to feel empathy – empathy exists even from strangers. Everything in the world tends towards atrophy and growth is a painful process. That is why friendship is not the same as kinship because while friendship is a deliberate effort, kinship (like the Big Bang) is an unfortunate accident of nature.
Friendship is an affirmation of who we are. It is an application of our emotional fecundity on the lives of others, and I will demonstrate:
For a long time I have tried to explain to D that the Merc actually has a very tight turning circle. You can imagine my arguments don’t go far as she’s the same person teaching me how to balance the steering wheel every other Saturday on a lonely road near Nazareth Hospital. So you can imagine how happy I was when my friends and I witnessed a Merc execute an impossible turn at an even more impossible spot – I thought I should have put it all on tape, but no sooner had I had the thought than my favourite car zoomed off. The turning circle represents something very desirable to me – a need to be flexible and not complain about circumstances.
As per Note 1 above, I can’t drive; won’t drive. So I board a Double M to Upperhill every weekday. (I’m the guy in a white shirt and red tie, listening to red music on my red earphones – it’s a cultural conquest). I’ve used Double Ms since I can remember, and I never use other bus companies. It’s because the brand I prefer is a reflection of who I am as a person. It’s a justification. I board a Double M as a political statement, saying we need more people like you. I do not deride other brands because that does not fit in with what I believe in – I support the brand that resonates with my values – I make this statement by paying 600/= to Double M every month and not to other brands.
I read the Business Daily for two reasons: First, my brother happens to draw a salary from NMG and it’s important to keep him in a job and secondly, I do not like politics – direct politics – I prefer the politics of business because I believe that good business can do the world a world of good. It is because I believe in the African story that I read African business, it soothes a part of me that there may be someone in Abuja or Luanda who has similar dreams to mine in Ruaka; it gives me courage to dream that I can be part of the new Africa – tech savvy and ambitious and confident and competent. That’s what I believe.
I know nothing about cars. So I Google a lot of car information. For a guy who got an A in Physics, I still don’t know what a gear box is. But I love the Passat. It’s doors are heavy and slam shut with little assistance – they know what they are doing. They are doors, to be open and shut, nothing in the middle. I subsequently learnt that the Nissan Teanna has two airbags and I was miffed. Everyone tries to cut corners; to appear competent. That’s not something you’ll see in a Passat.
“the best friends are people like us – smart, secure, cultured cool. The best sort of friends are givers, not the needy. We bestow our surplus goodwill on them because they are winners. They seek us out for fun. But they also respect us and so want to back us up, almost politically, as if to say we want a world where people like us do well. We are allies in the cultural conquest of the world.”