He really looked his normal, handsome self. I welcomed him into the house and offered him a seat. Mfana, how are you doing? I asked. “Ey ndoda. Nothing much,” he said. I went to do something not so important in another room and came back to him.
I sat down and faced him. And I noticed a sly smile on his face. I prodded him about it and like Raymond Reddington, he ventured into a story (I will paraphrase).
“So, I was sitting at the park near the Johannesburg Library this afternoon, having had lunch and was thinking of coming back home. I was listening to Anderson Paak and fiddling with my phone when a guy approached me. He got to me and asked me for a cigarette. Of course I told him I don’t smoke.”
At this point, I didn’t even think something drastic had just happened to him. He was relaxed the whole time as he told me the story. So, I did not panic.
What happened then?
“I noticed ukuthi lomuntu is not moving away. The next thing he says is, can you escape a gun?”
I jump out of my skin then.
“Then I woke up from my phone, looked at this guy and realised that this conversation was not going to end on a good note. So I look around me, the park and this guy is quick to tell me I should not try anything stupid and he began showing me different people around the park and said they are with him. All of them lightly raised their hands when pointed at.”
Fuuuck! These guys went all Italian Job and sophisticated on you. I said back. Now I was engrossed into his story.
“He proceeded to give me instructions. That I should hand over my possessions over to him and not even make a scene while doing that. After he showed me his colleagues, I saw no way out, so I relaxed even more. And I easily conversed with him instead. I took that opportunity to ask for my sim card. And while we were talking, another grew impatient and rushed over to us, sat next to me and placed his gun in between us and for show, started counting his bullets.”
My eyes nearly popped out. All these guys had guns on them, and it sounds like they aren’t the type of people who are afraid to use them when forced to.
“Jay! Understand, I was not even shaken. Not even a little. I mean, this guy is busy counting his bullets beside me and I’m looking at him without fear. The bullet counter then tells me he blows brains out when pushed to.”
At this point I begin wondering what they took away from him. I don’t ask, so as to not rush his story.
“The other guy comes to my rescue and tells him I am cooperating and there’s no need to do anything drastic. So I give them my phone, but take out my sim card first and then hand it over. I was surprised when the guy said that because I am a good boy, he’ll hand me back my memory card as well.”
I am not too panicked anymore. I think simply because Prince was not flustered himself. So he allowed me to listen to him without getting too angry.
“So lamajita demand money from me and I tell them I don’t have it. The guy with the gun demands another phone, I look at his colleague and he tells him I don’t have anything else. So, now, they then pretend to be giving me directions to some place so that other people in the park won’t be alarmed. And a few minutes earlier, there was a gentleman with his two children at the park. Not too far from where I was sitting. He noticed that I was getting robbed and instead of leaving, he moved a dew inches away from where he was sitting.”
I suspect he did that because of fear. He was paralysed by it. And to make matters worse, he was with his children.
“So after these guys were done, I walked off and left. At a distance, I looked back at the park and I saw these thugs walking towards the dad and his two children.”
When he confirmed my fear of what might happen to the old timer, my heart sank.
“So yeah, that’s what happened to me mfana. I don’t have a phone anymore.”
What intrigued me was that Prince had a smile on his face the whole time he was telling me about this episode. He was not as bothered as I was about this. I asked him how he was able to maintain his happiness. He then told me how he deals with loss and pain.
It was poetic.
He told me that he doesn’t get attached to things. And this makes it easier for him to maintain his sanity.
Is Your Phone Really That Valuable?
When you have a phone, it doesn’t have any value without you. Agree?
Look. A new iPhone 7 is useless without you using it! This means you borrow some value to the tool. Not the other way round.
So, when you lose it, you ought to at least cry for the content in it and not the phone itself. It doesn’t matter what brand it is. You are the value and you attach that to everything you choose to use.
I suppose the most important thing is realising that the phone is nothing more than a tool with which you create brilliant work. Example: when you shoot videos and take photos with it and upload all of them onto YouTube and Instagram, when you lose it, it won’t be a big deal because you only lost the vessel through which you make and carry your work.
Not your ability to produce the work.
Don’t Get Married To Your Pain
I remember a time late last year (2016) when Prince accidentally burnt his left foot. He readily admits that the pain was devastating, but he dealt with it by not fussing over it. And I suppose, not worshipping the pain.
Which, I immediately thought as I listened to him, we do so often. We get hurt by something — or someone — and then dwell on it. We feel sorry for ourselves and go on to try and get other people to give us their pity. For some reason, we feel that we deserve — that we are entitled even — to their pity.
If they know our pain, the least they could do is symphathise with us.
It is clear that when you deal with pain like this, you possibly won’t be able to get past it.
“Learn to let go”. He finally said to me.