There’s a baby crying really loudly.

There is a wild ass baby in my block that starts screaming every night between 1:30 and 2 am like clockwork.

It’s been happening for about a year now. And because I’m nocturnal, as you can see from the time I am writing this post, that child is forming the soundtrack to my writing tonight. Today.

That baby is wild. I’m not sure what’s going on in his house. He’s been upset for a year now. It must be pretty serious. I’m not even sure it’s a baby. It might be a cat. Because you know how cats are alien. They can imitate crying babies and all that creepy we-are-gods-and-you-serve-us shit. But I’m pretty sure it’s a baby and not, like two cats fucking or something.

I’ve begun to assume that the parents of this baby, let’s call him Dababy, are finding it super difficult to sleep train him, and it’s easier if they go outside and walk around with him until he slowly but surely, falls asleep, within the half-hour that they torment the nocturnals and light sleepers of the block. If you live here, you’ll hear him; where they walk him (look at me assuming gender, because men are disappointing) is right in the middle of the block, which towers up a couple of floors, and has what basically serves as an echo chamber for Dababy’s wildness. Meaning it’s like a haunted house, but if you don’t want or like kids or generally don’t like being woken up, it’s your worst nightmare.

I feel sorry for Dababy’s parents. They must never sleep. They must be so so tired of sleep training. They must just feel like at this point they’re going to wait Dababy out. They’ve probably tried to give the kid Calpol. Or tire him during the day. Or feed him so that he sleeps from the itis. At this point, they’re willing to try weed. If it was legal. Even if it wasn’t. Just a kalight fume. Just from the distance na umbali. I mean, scientifically, not sleeping can make you crazy. Crazy enough to have 4/20 every day (Americans must just start to get on track with the rest of the world. The date comes FIRST. What the fuck?).

I miss what used to be the soundtrack to my late-night posts before Dababy hit the scene (quan). Next to my flat, is a club. This club is a legendary club. The kind that has been around for years and always has big cars in the parking lot, the kind of big car that shows people you stole money last week and therefore they must hear your money loudly like the music from the club. This club’s music is always very loud. They have the same playlist, it seems, because I always know which music to look out for. Same beginning chords, like Pharrell.

I miss the loud music from the club. I miss Nairobi, as it were. I miss Nairobi as it was. Loud and raucous and having just stolen money from someone. I miss ridiculously priced brunches full of posers dying to post on Instagram because they’re with some rich guy whose jacket they’ll have to get from the car. I miss nights of nonsense that are mostly inspired by youth – more youth, less liquor, honestly – that end up being the stuff of urban myths and disbelief. I miss twerking in a crowd, in a line of bums all bonded because of our sole desire to booty shake. I miss the absolute chaos of the CBD without a mask, fighting with people at Afya Centre to get on a jav and fall asleep from the fumes (Dababy would have a field day). I miss taking people to the stupid airport with stupid cops. I miss not knowing that a pandemic was coming my way, and living accordingly.

The new normal is weird. It’s still weird for me, even though it’s been a whole year later, and the government has done fuck all. You would think we had it figured out by now. I think COVID showed us some important truths, important gaps in the so-called system we so-called live in, and those were so important: our healthcare is shot, Sakaja is a master jester, and loans are like breakfast for the president. But man…I miss ignorance. I miss innocence. I miss the lack of innocence in Nairobi. I miss Nairobi.

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