Sometime back, a friend and I engaged in an experiment that involved comparing the past and the present. To be able to come to a suitable conclusion about which of the two ruled, we were each supposed to pick a side. We flipped a coin and as fate would have it, I took the old side. This meant that I was supposed to try to live an entire week like I was in the 90s as my friend attempted to do the same but like he was in the modern era (which wasn’t much of a problem since we are in the modern era after all). I was supposed to consume items that were from the 90s, speak like I was in the 90s, dress like I was in the 90s and literally be in the 90s.
I was extremely excited by the prospect; obviously by then I had not factored in things like how much embarrassment was awaiting me in this rather bogus experiment. Nostalgia engulfed me as I thought about all the awesome things I was going to re-live. But Alas! This turned out to be one of the roughest and most pathetic weeks of my entire life!
I shall attempt to break down what happened during this one week when I took a time machine trip into the 90s. I will deliberately leave out some details because, well, there is only so much embarrassment a brother can take.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my week in the 90s.
Baptism – the name change
The first thing my friend and I argued about was the issue of names. After minutes of argument and near blows, I was baptized Habakkuk and he became McGigabyte. Habakkuk was as 90s a name as I was going to get and McGigabyte was more like a 2013 name. During the week, everyone else still called me by my real name but McGigabyte never called me that. He continually referred to me as Habakkuk and mentioned it louder than he should have, just so everyone could get the point. Now, don’t get me wrong people, Habakkuk is a fine name. I am a Christian and I know for a fact that it is a Bible name. However, based on the experiences I went through in this week of experiment, it is safe to say that today’s parent might want to stay as far away from such a name as possible. During the week, we happened to be looking for a new TV for McGigabyte at Game stores when a couple of nice looking girls walked in our direction, they were smiling. McGigabyte quickly distanced himself from me and shouted out loud; “Habakkuk, the black and white TV you want is not here.” The girls instantly had a change of mind and moved to the section with stereos. I could not retort because the rules demanded that if one party delivered a spot on blow, the other party simply turned the other cheek. Clearly, McGigabyte had hit me with an upper cut. That was one nil. I swallowed.
I was resigned to hitting it off with such ladies. All the rest avoided me.
Now my friend McGigabyte made emphasis on the fact that I had to dress like a real 90s chap or else I was losing the bet. As hard as it was, I managed to come up with some 90s combinations that did not exactly seem antiquated but were a little bearable to the 2013 eye. McGigabyte was obviously rooting for more eccentric 90s fashions like the suspenders, demin overalls, parachute pants and wallet chains but I was having none of that! I settled for the ordinary slightly bell bottomed pants and bright coloured polyester shirts. Most of the ladies I talked to during the week didn’t seem too impressed by my strange fashion but I was focused on seeing out this bet so I didn’t back down. I had to borrow a plastic pair of shoes, buy a couple of pairs of long cotton socks and a pair of UMOJA gumboots. On one of the days, McGigabyte invited me for a small get-together at his place. (I only discovered later that it was intended to humiliate me in front of all his friends). When I arrived, everyone was comfortably flashing their smart phones and iPads and looking like they just stepped out of a new TV Show. Enter Habakkuk; looking like I just fell out of a black and white TV from Sembule Electronics. I could tell that most of the ladies were keen to stay as far away from Habakkuk as possible. A few were intrigued enough to try and find out what was going on but the rules of our bet demanded that I disclose nothing so I innocently told them I just liked the new style. At the end of the night, two of the ladies seemed interested in my style. As it turned out later, one was a whole 18 years older than me and the other had been divorced twice with 4 kids. It seems my style only attracted the elderly, the young fresh juicy girls stayed away. That was Two nil. Again, I swallowed.
I must have looked like this the entire week. Pathetic!
Music & Hanging out
This was really going to be easy for me because I am a traditionalist when it comes to music. I will have Led Zeppelin, Kool and the Gang, Def Leppard, Manowar, The Beatles, U2, AC DC, London Beat & The commodores in the place of Drake, The Wanted, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga & 2 Chains. I was in musical heaven for the entire week. The only time I had a problem was on Friday night when McGigabyte asked that we hang out. Naturally, I was keen to find a place with old school music. After about an hour of moving from bar to bar, we finally settled on a joint somewhere in Ntinda. They played old school music but occasionally interrupted it with some bogus music from YMCMB. McGigabyte and I agreed that in terms of music I was only ever going to get my 90s dose if I listened to my own collection back at home. So we left the bar, passed by a Supermarket, picked a few beers and headed to my place in Kiwatule.
Since we had female company, there was no forgetting the fact that the ladies had to be entertained despite what we knew would be a boring playlist for them. I had to convince the lady I was with that I was in the mood for some 90s music. Luckily for me, she was a little too tipsy to even bother asking since she had unknowingly been taking Uganda Waragi – this used to be the spirit of Uganda in the 90s. The rules of my bet with McGigabyte also demanded that before I took a lady home, I had to first check with her parents; that was the 90s way after all. I was not about to risk my dear life calling up a random girl’s father to ask if she could sleep over so I just decided to let that one slide. This meant that I had to let the lady go back to her place; no matter how late it was. McGigabyte on the other hand was at liberty to take his woman to whichever place he wanted because after all, this is the modern era where girls don’t really need permission to lower their standards. Also, I had to drop off the lady I was with before midnight because once again, this is how we rolled in the 90s. By 11:43pm I was returning from the gentlemanly drop off and heading back home alone. As for McGigabyte, he had one heck of a wild night and only called me up in the morning to have me say hello to his woman who from the sounds in the background seemed to be preparing breakfast for them. Three nil!
There were so many things I had to subscribe to or sacrifice for the entire duration of a week and even though McGigabyte never found out that I visited the ATM, or that I logged onto modern sites like Twitter & Facebook, I can comfortably say that it was tough for me – very tough!
For an entire week I felt like was in chains!!
When the week ended I had had it up to my neck in 90s embarrassment because I was really making an effort to look like, speak like and act like I was in the 90s but no one was amused or even impressed. I increasingly found myself having to turn down a number of invites to events that would otherwise defile my 90s self. My friend McGigabyte on the other hand was having the time of his life and shoving it in my face along the way. When we sat down to compare notes, it dawned on me that attempting to go back to the past was pointless. The least we can do is simply look back at the past, smile and then swipe left at the iPad or touch screen phone to let a fresh image show up on the screen – an image of the present! The past may have been wonderful while we were in it but attempting to relive it is just but impossible.
This question below sort of sums it all up…
“How many people long for that “past, simpler, and better world,” I wonder, without ever recognizing the truth that perhaps it was they who were simpler and better, and not the world about them?”
― R.A. Salvatore, Streams of Silver
The Talkative Rocker