Adolescence, Volkswagens & The Importance Of Discipline

March 20, 2021

I’m a late developer. Not “slow” late, no. More like Didier Drogba late. Olivier Giroud late. You know, like, late to the party the way Jesus and his premium wine was. Perhaps there is more good that comes out of arriving well after you’re expected to.

I say this because I remember when I first drove a car. Those who know me would burst forth in extreme descriptions of my driving behaviour. My brother says I have “a heavy foot.” My eldest sister, now considered a visitor to these hallowed parts, says our driving is “pure gung-ho lunacy of the death-wish kind.” I prefer to think I’m a product of my environment, which is to say I was overcompensating because I was late to the driving party, mine was an environment which was forged many moons ago in Nairobi traffic, inside “Street Legal”, “Jinx”, and “Kargo Wanga”, our disco-imitating transportation of choice as young students.

Back then, by the time my peers, neighbours, & fellow partners in crime in the estate were barely into high school, we’d set our eyes on being the next Shekhar Mehta’s, courtesy of our dear hard-working parents’ vehicles.

You see, they’d use public means, they’d carpool (why oh why don’t we carpool today, with even more traffic!) or use staff buses to get to work, in the pursuit of more savings (Fuel went up a few days ago dear reader, so you understand) and so they’d leave their cars at home. With all these spritely & idle ‘adolee’ (adolescence) boys lurking with intent.

It seemed like a recipe for disaster.

However, it was different for me. This is because my ma had a trusty 1988 Volkswagen Beetle, which now that i think about it, required both engineering and camping skills a la Bear Grylls to deal with, such was its spartan, unforgiving nature. My aforementioned siblings though, had no issues with it, repeatedly slinking off to Carnivore Langata and “Ka-choii” in the dead of night. (We called this operation “New-Jersey Driving” and they were extremely successful at this.) Please try and make off quietly with a VW Beetle of yore in the dead of night and see how far you get. I dare you.

So when it was my turn, when i had finally come of age, this once-trusty jalopy breathed its last, old and satisfied with days. No chortle, no sputtering, she just went in her sleep. Now, there was no car for me to pilfer and show off to Njeri who lived down the street, with her symmetrical face, curvier shape (adolee!) and even smoother tongue.

I was relegated to riding shotgun. Always the passenger, never the driver. In fact there’s a TLC song which still grates the ears up to today. Maybe it was symbolic. And herein is the moral of this story.

When you have to watch your “boys” picking up the girls, and asking you to move to the back seat, and sometimes the boot, it pricks at you. It is a bitter pill to swallow. Now, the antidote to this, now that I have the benefit of hindsight, would be to see the future then.
You wish there was a fast-forward button, or a crystal ball to show you how it plays out.

But maybe what you need is the pause button, or a slow-motion one. Because the current me would tell the ‘adolee’ me; “slow-down boy, you have your whole life ahead. What you do now in preparation for then is what matters.

And therein lies the power of fighting instant gratification. Understanding clearly that its how the game finishes, and not how it starts that determines the winner.

And so when I watched my friends drive their parents cars, as I walked and took the famous #15 & #11 matatus to and from school, I swore that I would do what it takes to be a“non-walking” member of society.

I vowed to work hard, to put away my coins, and to see the end at the beginning. With financial discipline comes growth. These days we have a lot of help towards this goal. You could stash your loot under your mattress, that’s fine, though you’d probably have to have the discipline of a Tibetan monk, and his martial art skills as well to entertain the unwanted visitors. Or you could take advantage of some very new age technology like the NCBA Loop app and get a proper grip of your finances, and crucially, a clear vision of where you can go financially should you develop the discipline. And listen, there is more good that comes out of arriving well after you are expected to. It is after all about the arriving, if you know what I mean.

So don’t worry about the car now. It will come. Put your head down, put your best foot forward, and put some coins away and invest it through your NCBA Loop Invest feature.

Look, with the hard work, you WILL get from A to B. Even with Njeri from down the street, with her symmetrical face, curvier shape (adolee!) and smooth tongue.