He always carried his laptop around. Always. If people who knew him were asked if they were sure he had two legs and a laptop, the prompt response would be something like, “Well, I don’t know about two legs, but he definitely has a laptop.” It was like he was joined to it at the hip. Almost literally because its mode of transportation was a brown, leather sling bag that was definitely not manufactured a week ago. You could smell the vintage off it from a planet away. What can I say, nerds got style too.
Okay, not this nerd. He was simplicity itself. And not in a there-is-beauty-in-simplicity kind of way. His was just simplicity. Plain. Uneventful. Boring even. Absolutely nothing to write home about. Well, except the laptop. It was actually pretty cool. His jeans were old and faded and of course frayed at the hems of the pant legs. If he were a hell’s angel roaring around the jam-packed streets of Nairobi on Ghost Rider’s fiery motorbike, the jeans could be considered kinda cool. But he wasn’t. He probably didn’t even know who or what Ghost Rider was. He didn’t use his laptop to download movies. Or to upload new grossly edited photos on Facebook. Photoshop, he was told it was called. He looked up to Mark Zuckerberg but not because of what you think. More because he created an empire that enabled him to wear old jeans and a grey t-shirt everyday of the week…important business meetings notwithstanding.
His shirt and sweater were both as plain and stark as his face as he walked. His countenance was clean-shaven. Goatees were for those who liked to act the goat…those artists, possibly. His spectacles had a black frame, functional. A necessity, not an accessory. His head hosted no mop of hair; at most his hair could be considered a thin film upon his head. No, he was not an artist. He was a nerd. A geek. Not the breed of nerd that constitutes a group of young lads and lasses traipsing about in lens-less glasses about as wide as a truck. Not these, who consider themselves techno-savvy because they use their iPads as phones and their phones as iPods and are comfortable enough with technology to cross Mombasa Road as they update their status. Not that kind of nerd. He was the real deal. A scientist.
His kind was about to go extinct as everyone groped about in pursuit of the title ‘artist’. Artists. That bunch of people who grew their hair wild and dyed it wild, or shaved it half off and still dyed it wild. Then they justified themselves with claims of self-actualization or freedom to express who they really are inside. Oh, he knew what they really were. Confused, that’s what. They were against all things conformist and strove with every part of them that wasn’t pierced or tattooed to define the term ‘unique’. He didn’t understand them.
He could feel their stares as he walked past a group of them on Sunday after service, his laptop bag swinging at his side. They thought him strange and boring. He thought them insane and attention-seeking. Yes, they sang, or painted or designed those ridiculous clothes he once saw on a fashion program on TV and was sure no one ever actually wore…but so what? After they did all that beautiful artsy stuff, they settled onto beanbag chairs or whatever it was artists sat on, because he was convinced they probably didn’t want to sit on normal chairs like the rest of normal humanity, they opened their laptops and used his kind of beauty.
Oh yeah. He created beauty too. Maybe, if he didn’t have such a negative attitude towards them, he could call himself an artist too.