When we are born, our parents have hopes that we turn out a certain way; society expects us to live by certain rules and standards. So we walk through life clutching invisible scripts acting in this great movie called life. At times we are so scared to forget our lines, to forget the parts laid out for us. Then we realize that even after following the script to a T no one will give you an Oscar for going through life as expected. Then you chance upon people who will challenge your belief system.
I met two such people this weekend. Two people who showed so much fluidity in what we classify as men and women roles that I was astounded. The story begins with me wanting to give myself a birthday gift. The gift is simple or so I thought. It cuts into my new resolutions quite nicely which is to visit a different town every month. So I decided to go on a hike. I know what you are thinking. Like who gifts themselves with a hike? Well, it’s among my New Year resolution so sod off. The day started off well enough with a perfect cloudy morning, not too hot or too cold. I was thirty minutes late and could see the murderous looks on the other people’s faces as I boarded the bus. My punishment was simple; I was forced to sit on those folding seats in the middle of the tour bus. The ones you always get up when someone wants to go in and out of the back. That’s what I get for being late.
My two Outliers are sited at the front of the bus. I didn’t see them until later when people were introducing themselves. They looked like a couple and not like a couple at the same time. Couples should walk around with stickers on their foreheads or something to stop our guessing. Or they were probably friends who liked each other but not enough to get into a relationship. The man is tall, light skinned bordering white. He has an accent that sounds like a mix between Armenian and Somalian. I couldn’t place it. The one that makes you feel he just might spit on you. He is easy on the eyes though and that is always a good thing. The female on the other hand is dark skinned with braids. She is of average height which is taller than most of us.it was simpler to place her accent as it was definitely Nairobian. Twangy English with a dash of Swahili, the sort folks from the capital population has mastered so well.
The trip going up to the summit was uneventful save for a lot of heavy breathing for some of us who haven’t been exercising since the holidays began. Everything changed on our way down. The heavens opened up and rain came down in torrents. There was water everywhere soaking us to our undies. Then I saw a streak of blue dash in front of me. It is Armenian guy passing by with a blue umbrella clutched tightly to his hand. When you are being rained on and you are on top of a mountain there are two things that scare you, 1) you may slip and fall 2) lightning may strike you. But I found number three, a man with a blue umbrella dashing down the hill. At the foot of the hill he stood and waited for the female who is umbrella less and soaked to the bone. That is when I started paying attention to this odd couple.
My eyes follow them, their movements their actions. The man goes to wash his feet and the female follows right after telling me to watch her backpack. She gets out a packet of crackles and hands them to him. My eyes wander around. I don’t want to be caught staring. They come to rest at this buxom light skin that had walked with me down the slope. She is the sort of woman you dismiss at first glance thinking you will have nothing in common. You know the sort that men always fantasize about with generous hips and huge tits that make you feel like a fourteen year old boy. Her legs where a little bit on the thin side but men don’t notice those sorts of things. Like show a guy some boob and a cute face and he forgets everything else. So I get into it with this woman I had assumed only talks of boys and sponsors. And she explains about outliers. ”You know when you are drawing a curve on a graph and some points are just so far from the curve”. I nod thanking God for the statistic lessons I took in campus. “Well, some people are like that. They just don’t fit into the curve. Good, I just found a name for my odd couples.
It’s time to head out so we put our shivering behinds into the bus and set off. Ten minutes later we have to get off the bus. ”We need to get out so that the driver can get the bus past the lorry”, the tour guard tells us. There is a lorry left on the road and the driver is nowhere to be seen. We file out of the bus and wait at a safe distance. The driver manages to pass the lorry but then starts skidding to the edge of the road. We are horrified first because it will mean that we will have no transportation and second we were shivering to kingdom come out there.
“All men come and help push the bus”, someone yelled. Being a man is tough at times I thought as I watched the soaked individuals walking to the bus. There is one man who stood out though. The Armenian is standing there with a red bag slung over his shoulder. He stands at the edge of the crowd watching as the men go to push the bus. I look at him and then look at the soaking wet gentlemen who because of their sex had to act macho while we sat pretty on the side lines. They push and the stubborn bus keeps spinning out of control. The Armenian stares on.
I notice a female in the midst of these men, pushing and pulling. It is my outlier female I think seeing her Cutting out branches and leaves and laying them under the tires. Why are they adding leaves below the tires?” I ask.
“To stop the car from sliding” someone points out. That makes a lot of sense.
I am intrigued at this point. This is the sort of woman you never ignore in a crowd. She pushed and pushed giving directions as she goes. This was what a true feminist should be. Preaching equality and then getting down and dirty to practice it, the sort of woman who probably changed her own tires. The bus is now spinning crazily. The Armenian steps in and says, “Everyone step in and help”. He beckons for the female to move in and start pushing. It’s about time he stepped in and helped his fellow men I thought with my biased mind. He wasn’t doing it alone though; he wants the females to step in as well. I am cold to the bone. I will sit this one out.
My two outliers had just proved that this gender role thing is fluid. It would be nice if people would just do things because they know how instead of doing them based on their gender. Probably that is what makes great relationships.
P.s when you are going for hikes, carry your boyfriend
a) He will give you his jacket when it rains
b) He will carry your heavy backpack when going up the mountain
c) He will be obliged to wait for you every five minutes when you get tired and won’t complain
d) He will give you back rubs afterwards ;-).