Am speaking to a friend of mine called Salma. She is a tactician…no, not that, i think the word was statcasticianly……ah, i give up, let me check it out from her Whatsapp thread, yeah got it…STATISTICIAN! This here, good people is a career that requires good performance in Algebra and sciences, you have to be a friend of Carrey Francis, Einstein and those other bright chaps. You gotta have them on speed dial for you to succeed in this.
Salma is the kind of chic who would make any man happy, and i mean this in a very good way. First time i called her and am like ‘hey, whatsup?’ she was was all ‘hahaha twahahaha’ and i asked whether she laughs like that every time she gets a call.
No, she says, well ok, most of the time i do, am just a happy girl and you caught me off guard with this call, and am still laughing from the last whatsapp message you sent, that about eating 5 chapatis for dinner coz you are on diet!
So i laughed too!
Salma loves the written word, she is into books and intelligent conversations and i love that quality in a woman. We speak about Russia and Ukraine and The Tea Party, hell we even talk about growing Beetroots in Mars!
Every man would love a girl who has beauty, an awesome brain and who laughs at his jokes. Makes him feel wanted, appreciated, funny (even if he has lame jokes) and would probably be inspired to blog about it!
In the process of talking i mention to her that the highest marks i ever got in maths while in Nyeri High school was 22%, i swear! And that was the very first midterm exam we did in form 1; from then on my performance in maths took an intriguing, mysterious, downward spiral to the 02,04,10 level. Ground zero was familiar ground and it didn’t even give me any sleepless night!
I remember we had this little red torture books called logarithm tables; they were my worst nightmare. I could never get around reading them. They made my head spin, made me hate math lessons. What i lacked for in maths i made it up in literature, i could see a story’s plot from entirely different angles and narrow down on the tone and characters with such utter precision a drone would stand no chance.
So yes, we all have our different paths in life and that’s how it’s meant to be.
Our high school math teacher, an extremely short mama called Miss Chira, was around 3 ft tall with plump bow legs and went by the nickname ‘ka quarter’. The furthest she could reach on the black board was only the lowest part, and she used to wear high heels. In flat shoes she could pass under the table comfortably!
One day instead of teaching math she does a psycho analysis class, trying to find out why some students (yours truly) were performing poorly in her subject. It was a nice pep talk, people opened up about their issues with numbers, how they have nightmares coz of logarithm tables, how they only think about her plump backside as she is busy scribbling on the board(ok, they didn’t say this but it was a legit factor), how finding X is next to impossible, how probability should be in Physics and not maths…..the boys shed real tears!
Me, my mind was on a novel i had been reading called ‘Mama‘, about some Russian kid who was a chess maniac and escapes an assassination using chess moves….
Miss Chira asks a question begs us to be honest.
“How many of you performed well in their KCPE math exams?”
All students raised their hands; mine remained perched on top of the locker, like a boss!
She looks at me, am not sure whether pitifully or disdainfully. Could have been both, i didn’t like her or her subject and i didn’t give a rats pancreas whether she liked or hated me.
I would have raised my hand and lied but again that would have invited a whole new level of interrogation about why am now performing poorly in high school blah blah blah.
“Dennis, what did you score in your math KCPE?”
“74%!” i answered, proudly. I did not see any problem with that, 74 is a good enough score, deserves a Grammy even…i mean, compared to 22 it is good, but let’s face it, math ain’t my forte!
“Why do you perform so dismally in maths?” ok, she didn’t use the word dismally, i just put it there to add some colour to her mathematical speech.
I wanted to tell her i hated math since class 6, since that day i discovered that am good in the written word. I hated finding X, i disliked math teachers coz they disliked me too, logarithm tables gave me hiccups and blood pressure…Math to me was like a jealous Ex hating on me coz am dating this beauty called Literature. The list was long, am sure she didn’t have the BODMAS (sounds like bored mass!!) to go through it.
In Primary, my math teacher a certain Mrs. Mwaura almost killed me, i swear she almost did. As usual my mind used to stray a lot during math classes. So this one time we are doing a subject on hours and minutes and eish and she notices my mind is not even in the classroom, i was thinking about Betsy and her cheekbones. She asks a question which i totally miss.
She comes near my desk and asks the question again. It was 23H 10M minus 1H 35M. Something that i would never find helpful in life, it would never add any value to my life, as it were time was never on my side!
I gave her an answer, a very wrong answer. She does the unthinkable; hits me so hard on my back i almost threw up my breakfast. My eyeballs popped out of their sockets. My spine curved in and out, kissed my duodenum even; luckily it didn’t break. It caught me totally by surprise and the cry that escaped my lips was one of anguish, agony and pain. I chocked on saliva. My entire life flashed before my popping eyeballs!
Eva my desk mate, the headmistresses daughter was looking at me in pity, covering her mouth. I think she had never seen a boy get hit so hard. I looked back at her, ‘woman do something, have her fired, your mum owns the goddamn school…….’
I had to spend the rest of the lesson kneeling down on the cold concrete. I muttered under my breath and swore to visit Mrs Mwaura’s crib and shit in her water closet toilet, drop something so big and angry and African that not even the Army would manage to unblock. That was my quest, i would even write a composition about it. I smiled an evil smile.
So yes, mathematics beat me and i didn’t even fight back. Literature embraced me, and i went to bed with it, like a boss!