Familiar Much?

The time is 10.28pm, Monday 4th December 2017.

I am not yet asleep; I am watching a movie. It’s a Marvel Studios’ production. I am a huge fan of Marvel. Other than the fact that their movies are awesome, they know how to cast. If you are not enjoying the movie, you are enjoying the view. Greek gods…

My phone is ringing. It’s a new number. I stare at my phone, then mute it. I would probably sing along to my ringtone; but it’s late. So muting is the only option. I recognize the number from earlier in the day.

I was meeting my friend after a really long time. All we have been doing is communicate through social media. Comment on posts. Like posts. Spruced up by occasional chats in the inbox. She was in Kisumu, and we decided to meet at around 11am on a sunny day. Levine, beloved sister, am just bringing to your attention, next time we meet you are probably going to wait for me for at least thirty minutes. It has got nothing to do with you keeping me waiting; I just feel deep down in my heart that on that day, I may have a valid reason for being late.

We headed to Naivas Supermarket, for some refreshments while catching up.

Just as we were in the middle of exchanging the latest gossip (please read important data exchange) a young man lurch at the edge of our table. Not tall, not short. Dark complexion. I hadn’t noticed him until he spoke. It really is wrong to interrupt such weighty discussions between ladies. I was hoping this was important. Part of my mind was convinced he knew Levine. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Hi…” he said in a tremulous voice.

Hi”, Levine reacts.

My name is Kevin Omondi

***awkward silence***

Levine stares at her phone. I stare at him. He suddenly had my attention. A man who walks to a table of ladies confidently grabs my attention. It doesn’t matter if you speak gibberish, you have that courage, you got my attention.

Ok, I have told you my name how about you also tell me yours…” he says addressing both of us.

Hahaha… I didn’t realize that was the trade,” I remark.

hehe… ok, so what are your names?

Paula

Huh? Pau…

Paula. P-A-U-L-A

Wow. Ok. And you are?” addressing Levine, who has now kept her phone away.

Levine

Lavine

No. It’s Levine, not Lavine

There is actually a difference you know”, I add.

Wow. You ladies have unique names.” He declares, and immediately adds, “But I told you two names and you’ve told me just one each.”

You made the choice to tell us two of your names. That doesn’t mean we are bound to do the same. Does it?” I politely asked. It may not look so in writing, but believe me, it was polite. Sort of. Let’s not dwell on that.

Not really. Anyway, am not sure if you noticed me, but I have been observing you from where we were seated. I just had to come and say hello.

Oh… No we didn’t notice you…” It’s really good to be honest.

You really look familiar you know. I think I have seen you somewhere…” he said with his eyes fixed on me. Levine, God bless her lack of self-restraint, burst into laughter. A cruel mocking laugh with no pretense of sympathy. I could have laughed too, but one of us needed to play the composed role.

Ummm… Let me try to get this… Could it be that I look familiar because a few minutes ago he was busy staring at me before having made the very brave decision to come over and blurt it out… In the process, he suddenly realized how I am familiar because like I said, he had just been observing me… Which makes the issue of my familiarity in his memory (which is still very fresh and dependable) abit confusing. To an extent that his mind assumes I may be familiar from a past incident… It’s possible because it all just happened in less than an hour. Therefore, deducing that I look familiar is simply an affirmation that he has a good and working short term memory; but does not in any way mean am actually familiar.

Ok… I know, I got a little carried away in my thoughts there. It would have easily been a labyrinth in my mind had he not spoken again.

Could I have any of your numbers?” His voice flat and steady.

Wait, you actually want to choose between us whose number you want?” Levine asked him.

Yes. I will appreciate any number…”

Before we discuss whose number you may or may not get, how about we go a little back to the matter of my familiarity to you. Do people still use that line? It’s really getting old you know…” I told him.

Am serious. I must have seen you somewhere…” Hahaha… Like am going to buy that. It could be true. But pffft…

Hahaha… nice try. So whose number do you want?” I asked him.

I will appreciate anyMaybe even both” He scoffs darting his eyes across the table.

You really need to be more specific than that,” I insisted.

She is my sister. You can’t ask for just any of our numbers. And you can’t have both. Just tell us which number you want,” Levine said coolly.

I can even take yours.” He says pointing to Levine. “…as long as it helps me get to her,” pointing to me. Wow dude. Wow.

Aha… So it’s my number you want?” I asked in a calm, unhurried voice.

Yes” accompanied with a little chuckle.

Well why couldn’t you just go straight to the point…” Levine said (gesturing at a bottle of soda on the table) “If you needed this soda, would you have gone in circles before picking it up?

hahaha… no

At this point I was convinced he would just drag himself  away. But he didn’t. He reached out and handed me his phone. I graciously took it. Keyed in my number and handed it back to him. I didn’t save it. How he saves my number on his phone is his business. I just hope he doesn’t include ‘h’ somewhere. To confirm if it’s a real number, he calls me. (this is why I recognized the number)

Ok, thank you. I will give you a call later we talk…

I nodded.

Just then, he rolls away. My number the latest acquisition in his contact list; probably saved with the wrong spelling.

Drama follows you,” Levine says with a cheeky smile on her face.

You have no idea how much, I thought to myself.

Back to this moment. Am staring at my phone as it rings; still not sure of how or if to answer it at all, until the screen goes black. It is late. I am not picking a call from someone I just met earlier in the day; who had all day to call me but chooses this time, and who may or may not want to ‘interrogate’ me to figure out how to manipulate his speech into making the topic of my familiarity sound more believable.

Men, or the boy child, please stop with that line. It may be true, but we are sick of it.

I expect the phone to ring for a second time. But it doesn’t. I go back to watching. Then my phone beeps. It’s a message. It is awash with the words (these are not even words) ‘plz’ and ‘dia’.

I keeeeeeennnnnntttt!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, for those waiting for me to clear the way, am sorry to disappoint you. As long as am still ‘dia’ and familiar, something I will never buy, the jam is going to be here for a while.

I have said this before, am not a popular person. There is no way I am familiar to people. (Remember paranoia?) Even if I am, don’t tell me. And if you tell me, then you are lying. That line is dead.

***************************************

The time is 7.54am, Tuesday 5th December.

With my earphones plugged in, I am listening to music. My phone rings. It’s the same number…

To pick or not to pick… Decisions… decisions… decisions…

Hello Ex Friends

Hello Ex friends,

It’s been a while. I am doing really fine; how you are doing is your own personal issue right now. Why am I writing to all of you now? Well, lately I have been thinking about all of you. How my time with each of you was, and I just felt I should write something about that. I initially planned to write an anonymous story on another blog that would have featured all of you, but well, here we are. I know you all wouldn’t mind; and even if you did, you have no say. Anyway, just know none of your names will be featured here.

So straight to the main thing. What happened? My time with each of you was wonderful, some of you made me almost believe in the whole life-time-BFF thing; then the inevitable happened. We went our separate ways. Was it me? Don’t answer that, really irrelevant at this point. But it would be good if some of you would one day send me the cliché message ‘hey, it’s not you. It’s me’. Then maybe I would have gotten some closure and wouldn’t be here right now writing to all (is it 5, 6 or more) of you.

Ex 1. Remember that one time when we all, for lack of a better word, hated that other person? No? Well I do remember that time. Because you and I made such good memories and had fun times finding faults and things to laugh at in the other people. It was so much fun because in as much as it was your idea, I found it interesting to have something to do with you. Can you imagine my shock when the two of you actually became BFFs? Trust me, the look on my face at that point was priceless. I was hurt; not because of the new bond, but because you dumped my ass so fast and hard I think I broke a bone. Anyway, I accepted it. I did my best to be friends with you on my lower level, but time and distance may have been on your side. I moved on.

Ex 2. Wow. You have broken my heart more times than I would want to admit. Sometimes I think I have learnt my lesson with you, then you show up, all humble and needy and I fall for it. You shower me with love like never before; and it really is intoxicating. You my friend, might just be my drug. You know, cocaine. You are bad for me, but am addicted to you. I should know better, I know, but damn! Anyway, the numerous times you broke my heart, I always rose. I would take you back in the blink of an eye, but am not sure if I can do that anymore. See, before I considered you as family; and now? Naah… You and I were more than just friends; I would do anything for you. I kept your secrets. I advised you where necessary. I loved you. I confided in you. Then one day you left. You changed your number; and you became tight with all those who hated me. It still breaks my heart. It is because of you that I actually decided to write this. And since we are being honest, I still stalk you online. Maybe even daily. You look happy with your new life, and in as much as it hurts me, am happy for you.

Ex 3. Where do I begin with you? I only added you to this list because I started thinking of all my ex friends. Among them, you were the bitchiest. (Since Word didn’t underline that it means it’s an actual word). Why am I saying you are the bitchiest? You deliberately tried to sabotage a good thing I had going. I tried my best to forgive you, but you and I, nope. You were a mistake from the beginning. How’s your new life by the way? Good? I don’t really care about it. Just enjoy your life. Bye Felicia!

Ex 4. You are among the latest. You and #2. You haven’t fully settled down at the Ex zone but you are already there. All I need to do is shut the door on your face now. And that will be done shortly. I just have some things to get off my chest with you first. Expect my call anytime from wherever. You and I started really well. I being the conservative type decided to take some time to know your intentions before ever opening up to you. So when I finally did, it felt good. Because you always had my back. I would come to you with a silly thing I did, or was planning to do and you were on my team. Then one day, you met one of the people that actually made my life a living hell, and just like the others in this list, you drifted. (I am noticing a pattern here.) Your betrayal hurt me because it happened right under my nose. I mean, I saw it coming, but somehow I just hoped it wouldn’t happen. But it did, right after I opened up to you. Why would you do that? Anyway, I will revisit your situation. Am still in shock.

Ex 5, 6 and the many more. There is nothing to tell you. Some of you are history. No hard feelings though. You don’t expect me to talk about all of you now, do you?

The no hard feelings thing goes for all of you, except #2. I still can’t wrap my head around it. Anyway, why did you all decide to betray me? Do you people know how much of a good friend I was to all of you? Of course you don’t. How could you when the only thing you ever thought about was yourselves? Am I mad at any of you? Hell yeah! Am very mad. Extremely mad. I am a fragile person, and the moment you all learnt of that you ducked the other way. What is wrong with you?

You know I wouldn’t have been so mad if some of you had just walked away with some decorum. But no, you had to spill some of my secrets. You had to rub it in my face that I was just a phase and you were now moving on. I get it, it’s your life, now if only you wouldn’t use your lives to ruin mine we would be in a better place. Don’t you all think so? I think so. I kept and am still keeping the information about most of you as I know it’s the right thing to do. Spilling some of the things I know would ruin your current lifestyle choices and I don’t roll like that. Believe it or not, am a good person.

All in all, after thinking about my time with all of you, I realized one thing. It’s not me; it’s never been me. It’s you.

Yours Exly, (I’ve made this up)

Paula.

 

***PS. Hey future friends, when you see me hesitant with this friendship thing, just know am very skeptical, paranoid, and I have a lot of trust issues***

Whose Baby Is This?

By Agnes Opondo.

Earlier before that random Friday, I had the following conversation with HR after she looked me in the eye and told me, “You need rest! Take a day off.”

“How do you know that?” I asked

“I can see it in your eyes”

“I know my glasses have no tint but, can you actually see the fatigue through my glasses?”

“Agnes just take an off!”

“But there is a lot of work!” (Me pretending to be employee of the year hihihi!)

“Work will never run out, you look tired…..plus I have noticed with great concern that you don’t use lipstick lately.”

“Well…..pretty hurts.”

“What is so painful about dabbing some lipstick? Huh?”

To cut the long story short, I took an off day on that random Friday. Not because of HR’s concerns, but because I wanted to. I wanted to wave my middle finger at the universe and tell it, “No matter what you throw at me, I run my life, motherf*cker!” (Breathe Agnes, take it easy). Have you ever been at a point in your life when you feel like you are losing control? Have you ever wanted to do something crazy like get a tattoo? Or an extra piercing? Or even propose marriage to a random person? How about get into a relationship with a random person and make sure that it is as peaceful as Rob Kardashian and Black Chyna’s romance just to prove to the world that you run your life? OK, don’t look at me like that, I didn’t keep up with their reality show. That is general knowledge.

Anyway, because I was not going to work, I decided to do some cleaning. This may sound weird, but dirt removal and organizing my stuff is super therapeutic for me. After cleaning, I showered, dressed up and headed to the CBD just to prove to the world that I can go to town if I wanted to because, it’s my life damn it! (OK, enough of this proving to the world madness). I boarded a matatu and while the conda was wooing pedestrians into the matatu, I noticed two women standing at the bus stop. One was carrying an infant and the other was carrying a toddler (there is a difference guys). They were deeply engrossed into a conversation which I could tell was either good news or gossip, juicy gossip for that matter. I mean, they looked happy. The conda approached them and asked them where they were headed and after talking with him, the two women exchanged the babies they were carrying. The one who took the toddler got into the matatu and took the seat next to the conda’s seat.

Hell broke loose immediately the matatu took off. The baby began crying she became louder as the matatu progressed. At first I thought that crying was caused by fear of motion. I hear there are babies who are terrified of being in a moving vehicle and considering the seat that this lady had occupied, that could be true. The lady tried to silence the baby lakini wapi! The baby had no intentions of hiding her protests to this journey. This attracted the attention of other passengers and one man turned to the lady and asked her if she had breastfed the baby. The lady who was now beyond frustrated, ignored that question. I could tell that she was about to cry, the veins on her forehead began to show and eyes were getting bloodshot. She kept trying to calm the baby down but her efforts hit the wall, a good one.

A certain middle aged man seated in front of me turned to the lady and asked her, “Madam huyo mtoto ni wako ama umemwiba?” This sparked murmurs among the passengers. A lady seated at the back seconded the middle aged man, “Exactly! Tumwambie kama mtoto ni wako!” Hobee! The lady with the child was now already crying, “Sijaiba mtoto, mimi si mwizi” This argument irritated the baby and she cried even louder. The conda, who by now had an assistant, (ama what do you call that guy who dandias the matatu along the journey not as a passenger but as a conductor number 2?) asked the passengers to calm down.

For some weird reason, the assistant conda caught my eye. I don’t know, maybe it was his blue black complexion or his big dry cracked lips. In fact for the purposes of this read, let’s call him, ‘Crusty’ in honor of his cracked lips. I like the name already, I will call my next pet Crusty, sounds so exotic, right? So Crusty, sat next to the lady with the child looked her into the eye and asked in his heavy Dholuo accent, “Madam hii mitoto ni chako ama wewe nilikuja Narobi kufanya opareson kama mwisi?” If the DCI ever needed someone to coerce criminals into confessing the truth, then trust me, Crusty would do a legit job because this question triggered the tear glands of the lady! Elnino style! This interrogation was interrupted by a sweets vendor cum preacher who boarded the matatu some few kilometers from the CBD. He was fully armed with his tools of trade, a packet of sweets and a Gideons International bible, but before he could introduce himself to the brethren, the baby who had been quiet for a while now, unleashed the loudest cry. Meeen! This baby will grow up to be such a hater. So the preacher, took a French exit never to be seen again.

Finally we got to the CBD and while people were alighting I chose to stay behind, I mean, I witnessed this baby owner drama from the start and surely I must see how it ends. We got to the Railways bus terminus and everyone else had alighted apart from the lady with the baby, the baby, a certain old man, a middle aged lady, the conda, Crusty, the driver and I. Crusty upgraded his interrogation techniques by yanking the phone from the poor lady’s hand. He then asked her, “onasave aje baba ya hii mitoto?” “Anaitwa Godfrey!” The lady replied amid sobs. Crusty dialed Godfrey’s number on the lady’s phone and upon calling him, the guy admitted to being the child’s father. When Crusty asked him whether he knew the owner of the phone, he said that this lady was taking the child to his mother.

Makosa! Mistake! Crusty turned to the lady and yelled, “tunapeleka wewe kwa polisi sai!”

The poor lady whose wails were now in perfect harmony with the baby’s crying, pleaded with Crusty, “Nimemchukua kutoka kwa mama yake, mama yake alishindwa kumlea juu akona mtoto mwingine mdogo kushinda huyu!”

“Sasa akisindwa kulea, mama yake napatia wewe mtoto. Madam! Iwalo koda!” Crusty was now boiling with rage. The conda tried to restrain him from doing something stupid.

The old man, turned to Crusty and told him that he should contain his anger as it is wrong to hit a woman. “Huyu mama hasemi ukweli, unajua nimewahi kudeal na wezi wa watoto nikifanya kazi kwa hospitali kama nurse!” The middle aged lady said. “Na mimi nimework na watu wa children’s rights najua wezi wa watoto!” Added the old man, I don’t know why I did not believe this old man. Crusty was quick to jump in, “Mwisi ni mwisi!” then the driver, “shukeni mmpeleke kwa polisi basi, nataka kuendelea na kazi.” The conda who was a bit empathetic to the lady said, “pigieni mama ya mtoto kwanza ndo twende kwa polisi.”

Now that everyone was giving their parting shot, I couldn’t be left out. So I said, “Guys despite having two left feet, I can burst decent Bazokizo moves and even better, I have ever gone live on Kilimani Mums!” I know. My comment was totally unrelated to the issue at hand, so that is why I didn’t say it. I kept quiet and observed the whole drama unfold.

Can you guess what they did to the poor lady? Am so sorry to disappoint you dear reader, because I also don’t know. I had to leave to go do the nothings that had brought me to town. I run my life, remember?

*************************************

Now am pretty sure you’ve all enjoyed this piece. Perfectly penned by Agnes Opondo. Click HERE to connect with her on Facebook. And HERE to view her blog for more interesting stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Paranoia Or Just Too Much Fear?

I am not a popular person. I would say am not a celeb but let’s all agree there are no celebs in Kenya. We just have popular people. I freak out when people look at me when am walking on the streets. I freak out when they try talking to me. How am I supposed to meet ‘Mr. Right’ when every time someone attempts to have a conversation with me I think of sprinting to the left? By the way, there is no such thing as Mr. Right. No such thing. It’s a made up sham to prey on the emotional balance of vulnerable women who have been hurt a lot. But it provides hope though.

I also freak out over minor issues like too many friend requests in a day. Before accepting, I go through the mutual friends list and ask myself why would this person send me a friend request? Did one of these mutual friends whisper something about me and now curiosity got the better of the person? Is someone out there sharing a link to my profile? It can’t be my posts, I tell myself, because sometimes even I am shocked when I read some of the things I write. This week, I received over 100 friend requests in a span of two days. That freaked me out.

When I open my mobile data in the morning and find over 10 conversations on WhatsApp, especially when there is no group message, I freak out. Like I said, I am not a popular person. Even among my friends. I am the kind of friend who will have a lively conversation with you but there are minimal chances that I started that conversation. It’s never fully pride; I just really suck at small talk. Like skip to the point already! So when I find such messages on my phone my first instinct is to ask myself ‘damn it girl! What did you do?’ It is a relief when I find it’s just a lot of hello(s) and hi(s). But it’s also questionable. Like why are they all saying hi to me today? What have they heard? What are they driving at?

I am a very paranoid person. I overthink situations, and not with a positive angle, I think towards the negative. My What Ifs are 99% of the time towards the negative, and in equal percentage towards life threatening situations. I can’t help it. I have tried. I also fear a lot.

When I was still a child, at around 8years or younger, I accompanied a group of school mates to a home whose owner I did not even know. There was a funeral going on and the late was somehow relevant to my school at the time. Even after several warnings of ‘Do not follow people to their homes’ ‘Come straight home after school’ and ‘If you want to go to a friend’s place, ask for permission’. On that day, I did not even think twice, I just followed people. In a matter of minutes, we were in the home. Then there was a line. And it was full of my schoolmates, so I went and joined it, and slowly the line started moving. I did not know where we were headed, I just followed them. It was not until I also turned my head to the right like everyone that I saw what the line was for. We were viewing the body. Before that day, I knew when someone dies; they immediately go to heaven if they are good and hell if they are bad. No one mentioned the motionless body being part of the equation. I freaked out and froze on the line. This was someone I didn’t even know and there I was staring at what used to be him.

For over a year, I could not be sent into a dark room and go willingly. I would tiptoe to the room already having a panic attack, switch on the lights and once am halfway calm, I start imagining things. What if I turn my back to search for whatever I was sent and then something comes in and I don’t know…does something bad to me? Because I was already paranoid and scared, I would not have enough time to search and instead I would quickly run out of the room without switching off the lights and innocently say I haven’t found whatever it is that I was sent. Someone else would be sent and they come back with it almost immediately.

I watch NatGeo Wild more times than I would want to admit. I know so much about animals now. I know how to differentiate a crocodile from a monitor lizard. Since am being honest here, there is no point in knowing the difference. When you see any of them, RUN! I know some animals I never even imagined existed. It is common knowledge that hyenas are very selfish and gluttonous animals. This is true, but wait until you hear about the Tasmanian devil tiger. Small predators but they are so mean and selfish. The children chase away the mother just to eat as they fight amongst themselves. NatGeo Wild is a great channel, unless they are showing doctors biting sheep balls off, then it gets disgusting and you can never unsee that.

As a constant NatGeo Wild watcher, I thought the knowledge on everything I fear would help me relax. Instead, I now have more reasons to overthink and thus keep my paranoia at an increasing rate. The other day I was taking photos in the compound and then I remembered a segment in the channel where a snake hid in a very similar tree. That was the end of the photo session.

I have always had an ardent fear of spiders growing up, I still do. However, my fear of the real thing is not such a big deal as compared to the fear I have towards all the imaginary spiders in my head. I once ran away from a room because my own hair brushed unexpectedly on my neck. It is not helping that I have an overactive imagination. When I see more than one ant around, I imagine there is something sweet somewhere around, which could mean there is a bee or two around. And what are the chances that that bee has not attracted a bear. What are the chances?

For someone like me who also has a fear of irregular patterns, and a cluster of small holes and bumps (Trypophobia), opening links with the caption ‘Top 10 most disgusting things in the world’ or ‘This woman was uncomfortable and when she visited the doctor…this will shock you’ or ‘17+ strange places where dangerous animals hide’ is not an option. I have however out of curiosity opened some links; I am still recovering from that sight. My skin still has goosebumps when I think of such times. When a part of my skin gets itchy, I imagine all sorts of negative things related to whatever link I opened last.

Is this paranoia or just too much fear? Don’t tell me it’s the same thing.

I could go on and on about my paranoia, and fears but am already feeling bored of typing.

My Boss Is A Jerk

A few months ago, I got a job with a highly reputable company. I was lucky to have been one of the elite to partake the training prior to being accepted in the company. It was a test by my now boss to see which candidates can work best under all circumstances and be able to deliver. I know I should be glad I have a job, but the truth is, my boss is a jerk. Sort of. I will explain.

She is a very young lady, definitely not even in her 30s. She is chocolate in complexion and is indeed very beautiful. If we were both single and she was not my boss, I would definitely pursue her. She is a slim lady who is perfectly endorsed in the right places. Her hips curve perfectly just at the right angle to compliment her small waist. She has stern eyes. When she stares at you, you are tempted to confess all your secrets to her, hoping you successfully hide the fact that you think she is a jerk. She wears no make up except for a pinch of lipstick enough to get you staring at her lips like an idiot. Her hair is always in different styles, but natural. My boss is the true definition of African beauty. Except she is a jerk.

About a week ago, one of my colleagues left the boss’s office almost in tears. She is a young lady whom I had started this job with, so we were a team. I went over and asked her what had happened. She looked at me with anger in her eyes and told me ‘that bitch just told me to redo the work I have been doing tirelessly for the past week. And guess what? She wants it by Monday. It’s Friday Mark. Friday!’.  I know women can be emotional hazards so I tried to come up with a consoling statement before walking back to my desk. I couldn’t come up with any so I just gave her a part on the back and walked away. She is not talking to me well lately. I don’t know why.

As I was approaching my desk, I saw my boss walk towards me. She had her eyes fixed on me. Just me. I tried so hard to focus on the right thoughts. Like did I finish my task? Did she see me with Anne and was coming to give me a warning? What did I have for breakfast? Am I hungry? What was the title of that song that keeps playing in all the matatus I board? Anything to keep my thoughts from drifting to her perfect self walking towards me. My boss walks as if she is weightless. Her feet touch the ground at very low volumes she could easily sneak up on you. I find this weird considering the fact that she always wears heels. She is not a tall lady but with her heels, she can easily dwarf anyone she wants. She was wearing a cream trouser suit on that day with a black sleeveless top. However, when walking towards me she wasn’t wearing her coat. Her perfectly toned arms were on full display. Do I like my boss? This is not good…

She got to where I was and stared right into my eyes. She had to tilt her head to an angle to see my eyes and I could see that she hated that. I am a tall guy at 6’ 1”. My height did not seem to please her.

“Mark. Right?”

“Yes madam. That’s me.”

She stared at me as though I had just murdered her cat. I was scared already. She is intimidating.

“Please have a seat. I need to talk to you”

Did she just ask me to sit down? Politely? That was new. I froze. I kept staring at her like the bloody idiot that I am. Why did she need me to sit anyway? Was it her power position issues? I kept wondering as I finally composed myself to sit. I adjusted my trousers just a little bit to ensure all my business was in check and in case of anything, no one would notice. I tried being as discreet as possible, but I know I heard her chuckle.

“How can I help you today madam?”

“I talk first Mark.”

Brutal… But ok

“Sorry…” I gestured towards her and tried maintaining a composed posture.

“How long have you worked here Mark?”

“A few months”

“Do you know the exact number?”

“4 months”

“Wonderful. What exactly do you do here?”

“I am in marketing”

“Mark…What exactly do you do here?”

“I handle marketing and promotion of this company’s products and services. In addition, I also help boost the social media following”

“That’s now an answer.”

She then stares at her watch, then at her phone. Why would she need to check the time twice? Did she know just how uncomfortable her proximity made me? After a minute of silence, she cleared her throat and looked at me again. Her eyes are stern, but still magical.

“How much do you earn?”

“Per month?”

“Do I pay you any other way?”

“50000. Net salary.”

“Hmmm… Do you have a family Mark?”

“Not yet. But I hope to one day”

“Do you save for your family?”

“I do what I can madam”

“You need to stop calling me Madam. It makes me feel old. How would you feel if I reduced your salary?”

“Are you planning to do that?”

“Not really an answer Mark”

“I would feel really bad… honestly I might even consider looking for another job. I barely survive with the 50k.”

She did not talk to me. I knew I had messed up big time. Me and my big mouth! Couldn’t I have just kissed her ass and given her the answer she might have hoped for? But who ever knows what she thinks?

“Are you good at your job?”

“Yes I am”

“Would you like to keep it?”

“Yes. It’s hard finding a job in my field. I need this job.”

“Hmmmm…I need evidence of your ‘good work’ by noon. Is that possible?”

“Yes”

It was 10minutes to noon. That bitch! She did not walk away. She pulled a chair and sat on it. Swinging round and round as the clock ticktocked. I honestly was confused. I had no idea how to behave. How do I give her proof of my good work? Therefore, I decided to sell one of her company’s services as she watched. I made a call to a promoter friend of mine who is helping me look for a plan B job. I ensured the phone call was loud enough that she could hear both sides from where she sat. I told my boy to get me a client interested in the company’s services. A few minutes later, I had convinced a stranger over the phone to switch from their random suppliers and be loyal to us. All I needed to do was draft an agreement for the client to sign.

I had less than a minute left to midday. I turned to my boss and told her “am done”.

She glanced up from her phone and asked me calmly “do you want a raise?”

“Yes I do.” I had realized it’s straight forward answers that work with her.

“You might get a 7% raise starting next month”

“Thank you mad… sorry. Thank you”

She smiled at me and stood up. I stood up too. Just in case there was a handshake to cement the new deal. She just looked at me as if I was some lost puppy. She turned her glance across the room to where my colleague was. While still staring she asked me “why can’t some people just do their work efficiently?” I knew better than to answer that one so I just kept quiet. She went ahead and said, “I should hire your friend. The one who linked you to a client. Am firing someone soon”

What did she mean by someone? Was it me? Was it Anne? She was after all staring at her while saying that. She had just promised me a raise, not directly, but it should count. That someone couldn’t be me, right? If its Anne, do I give her a heads up? Or would that get me fired too? This lady acted like she was made of stone. There are stories that she was deeply hurt and completely shut down after that. But no one knows any fact about her. Except that, she is a jerk.

She turned and looked at me. Then turned to walk away. Her light steps fading as she disappeared into her elegant office. That was the second time I heard her voice, and the first time she talked directly to me. The first time was while she addressed all employees on the day I joined. Just as she sat down in her office, I got an email. It was from her. To paraphrase it, it said she needed an immediate report on all my accomplishments in the company and to notify me that I would be working on the weekends. Half a day. I literally had no words.

On that day, I left work earlier than usual. Coincidentally, a bad one, I shared the lift downstairs with my boss. She maintained silence in the whole ride. Once we were on the ground floor, she asked me, “Am I a bad boss Mark?”

That was not one of those questions that needed honesty. So I told her “No, you are a good boss”

She smiled at me and looked at her watch.

“See you tomorrow. And don’t be late”

Continue reading My Boss Is A Jerk

The ‘Man’ In Every Woman

You will understand the featured photo as you go on.

I am the worst patient ever. I know this for a fact. I have an ardent fear of anything medicine related which means I can take even 10minutes to swallow a tablet, even one that is sugar coated. I hear there are such. I don’t have the guts to taste any. I will just take my sweet time thinking about what angle to use when throwing the tablet in my mouth, to avoid any tongue-tablet contact. I don’t care if the tablet is tiny. Those are the worst! Other than that fear, I am stubborn. With that comes the need to be pampered. Like let’s say you want me to eat, talk to me nicely. Seduce me with your words such that I don’t just submit to the food but to any other order you issue. Talk to me like a child. Feel my temperature at intervals of 5minutes and most importantly, yet the most silly, ensure my phone does not run low on power.

As a patient, I can be very petty and by extension, exaggerate any situation. When I have the flu, you will think it’s a chronic illness or some ‘mathematics’ malaria. I mean the +++ ones. I will easily win your pity. The most I can do at such a time is cuddle up in bed and look pale. I can do that so well. It’s not a choice. It’s an involuntary reflex setting my body reverts to when am sick. In short, as a patient, I can sometimes be a pain in the ‘you know what’. (Feel free to read that as you may please. A three-letter word would suffice.) You can imagine the frustration in everyone when I had a sick scare recently. If there is such a thing.

Where am I going with this? When I had my sick scare, my Mum told me, “You are the only one among my children that I still don’t know how to handle when sick. You fall sick like your Dad.” Which I think narrowly translates to I fall sick like a Man? I don’t know. That is how I interpreted it. So it’s what we will all go with. No debates. In addition, it’s a known fact that men fear being sick.

This statement got me thinking. If I can fall sick like a man, what else that’s known about men do we women do? And I came up with this.

According to some article on the internet, a study actually, one of the facts known about men is that they lie six times in a day, while women lie three times. I don’t know how true that is, but I will not question the internet. Not after all the years of relying on it for all my assignments. However, if it is true, then I have some emphasis on that. First off, everyone lies. The men just happen to lie more in a day. Women however, have a tendency of linking unrelated situations together, which comes as an added advantage to them when lying. For example, the car is linked to the phone, which is linked to food, which is in turn linked to cleaning the house, and further linked to the story you as a man once mentioned three years ago. So with all these linked together, women need to lie less, because when caught in a lie, they can easily manipulate their way around a situation and instead link it to the other unrelated situations. Men, will have to come up with a lie to cover that lie. But the bottom line is, men lie. Women lie.

It is common knowledge that men forget a lot. And women remember a lot. As I have stated above, women link everything to everything. A trait that has seen men losing almost every argument they engage with women. Especially if you have a history together. However, women also forget. What triggers their memory is the ability to link a situation to an irrelevant one. A good example:
Man: I met Jane today. She said hello.
Woman: Jane…Jaaa…..Jannnnee….Jane Jane Jane…Jane. Which Jane is that?
Man: She used to work in the shop next to….
Woman: Aha! Jane. The one who had to move out of her husband’s house at night?

What a man can do, a women can do better? Really? What a man can do, a woman can do. Just that. Well except getting another woman pregnant.

There is something about a man, laziness, carelessness and disorganization. I can’t quite put a finger on it, but it’s there. I have more male friends than the female ones. So I know what am talking about. Besides, who said I need to have a huge number of people that I can sample from? IPSOS publishes their findings all the time and not even once have I heard anyone say they were part of the survey. The things I have mentioned, are not just associated with men, get a woman to feel comfortable with you and you will be surprised at how much the ‘men’ in women is paramount.

Men, ok I will say most men, thrive in disorganization. There is no specific order in which things are arranged in a man’s house. As long as there is a space, and the item fits, it will be placed there. Until it’s needed. Then the search begins; introducing new forms of disarrangement until the needed item is found. For example, why separate the shirts, trousers and socks? Why not pile them up together and only engage in a serious search party when you need one? You think only men do this? Think again.

I had a friend in school who never saw the need to separate his clean clothes from the dirty ones. He relied solely on his sense of smell and sight. Who says women are any different? They may be more civilized enough to separate the clean ones from the dirty ones, but not always. The jeans are an exception. (I won’t talk about bras, ladies know themselves). The jeans are always clean, it does not matter how many times they have been worn. They are always clean. Another man-thing in a woman is the need to just do nothing, and possibly have someone else do it. Laziness.

“Ablutophobia. Ablutophobia is a persistent fear of bathing or any other form of cleaning activity. It is found to be more common in children and females.” I will not even talk about that. It’s completely open to interpretation. (Photo relevance comes in here) Let’s move on…

Ever heard of an alpha male? Well, there is an alpha female too. She has her own pack. She determines which way they go. She determines who can join the pack and most importantly, you cannot even think of dating her ex. When you have an issue with the alpha female, as a member of the pack, kindly humble yourself and take the high road, or else, she will destroy you. Unlike the alpha males whose only limitation to the pack members is the ex-thing, the female alphas have more control over their packs. The men call themselves bros, but it’s always clear who the leader is. The women call it girl-squad, with a dictator for a leader. Therefore, another man-thing in a woman is that. The alpha thing. Women however take it way too far.

Do I need to talk about clothes? Football? Or some other sports generally associated with men? How about cooking? I don’t think so. You get my point.

What am I saying in all these? There is nothing so different in character between the man and woman. There is that aspect of the ‘man’ that will keep manifesting in the woman. Some, women hide pretty well.

Genesis 2: 23 And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

I will leave you with that.

PROCASTINATION; MY UNDOING

My brother’s school is very close to our house. It’s literally a minute’s walk to that school. They had their prize giving day yesterday, a day that also counted as their official closing day. My elder sister was the parent for the day. As for my Mum and I we were to travel. Actually she was to travel but she extended an invitation in my direction and I said why not? For us to leave the estate, we have to pass through the school’s field. As we were passing, the MC or someone was calling out names of the kids receiving gifts. Best Student, Most improved. Then came the most discipline. And without even thinking, I quickly said ‘mummy hapo nae wako hayuko’ and to my surprise she was not even mad. Instead she added ‘ingekua ni naughtiest ningekubali…na si leo wamedrag hii event yao’.

It was only then that I realised it was already 1pm. Yet our scheduled departure time was 11am. This is where the relevance of the topic comes in. We were late. Not because I did something but because mum picked that day to be a tailor. Work she had procrastinated for months. If this thing is hereditary then I got it. And I got it big time.

My procrastination does not choose when to manifest itself. It can happen anytime.

Back when I was still a student, ok it’s just been a month but still, I was never on time for my classes. I tried, I failed. If I had a class at 10am, I knew deep down that I was supposed to start getting ready latest by 9am. But somehow I would convince myself that there was still time. I would end up getting ready past 10. At which point, I was already late. The same applied to studying where I would keep on telling myself ‘I will do it’. I would reassure myself of the abundant time available, only to end up doing it in the last minute. The only thing that motivated me was the last minute pressure associated with studying. But I have survived school; I should be able to handle anything.

While writing this, I have left a month-old pile of clothes back home that are in desperate need of my services. I know am supposed to do my laundry but somehow I keep finding clean clothes and that has sort of made me very lazy and succumb to the spirit of procrastination. A week ago, I told my sister to wake me up while she leaves for school so I can get time to do my laundry. She kept her word. She woke me up. I woke up, looked at the pile on the chair (you know that designated chair whose sole role in a house is to carry clothes that just can’t find their way to the wardrobes or wire lines? That chair), looked at the time, and told myself 30 more minutes of sleep won’t make a difference. Well a week down the line and here we are. This is just not right.

To prove just how much this is a problem let me give another scenario. I have known since my last post that I will be posting exactly after a fortnight. But what did I do about it? Nothing. I kept telling myself ‘there is still time’ over and over again that I believed it. Until there was no time and I just didn’t know which of the five unfinished stories I should focus on for publication. Since I could not decide, reality is I postponed even making the decision, I texted my partner Lewis to write this week instead. He wanted a reason. I mean how was I to tell him directly that my procrastination tendencies are closing in on me? So I evaded the question all together. I then told myself that by the end of Monday, I will have written something, we edit and wait for Wednesday to publish. Well, you’ve guessed right, I had nothing by the end of Monday. It’s not like I don’t have something to write. I have tonnes to write. Tonnes. I just can’t stop postponing.

In related news, I have a 100paged document I should be editing, and a business plan I should draft. Both of which I have not even started. I don’t know when to start. What I know is I should start. ASAP.

I love travelling, but only when it’s spontaneous. If it’s planned, I will just come up with the craziest excuse to push it. I should have been in Nakuru weeks ago, but I kept postponing that for weeks. Until there was no other chance. My problem is real.

Have you ever sent a message to someone and you are still waiting for an answer? It could be as you are reading this or even before. The wait could be any duration. From one minute to one day and to infinity. Well, I have this problem even with messages. Sometimes I get a message, I read it, I draft a reply in my head and tell myself I will get back later to reply. Then I just don’t. Because with procrastination, comes forgetting. It’s a very bad thing I know, but sometimes I just can’t help it. I am working on that though, it can be an emergency one day, right?

I am beginning to imagine my procrastination is fuelled by my deep love for doing nothing all the time. In other words known as laziness. One of my most peaceful moments apart from sleeping is when am doing nothing. There is no pressure in that. Because of this, I have a habit of cancelling things.

The other week I had a meeting in Maseno scheduled for 11am. I did my best to ensure am not late. But that procrastinating spirit embedded deep in my core kept telling me ‘how about we just push this meeting to I don’t know…later? Next week maybe…or just another time. Let’s just do nothing today’. I was almost making the call to cancel when the other party called and rescheduled it to half past 11am. It was the best the universe could give me for my dilemma. I took the deal.

It’s always said ‘denial is the first step of acceptance.’ I am done denying my procrastination. I now accept I have a problem. And am afraid it may be my undoing.

Meeting Old Friends

The other day, I was to meet my class 5 crush for the first time since I transferred schools in class 5.

He suggested Tuskys. It is one of the few places I avoid in Kisumu. If you ever lie to anyone that you are away from town, do not and I repeat, do not show up in Tuskys, you will meet. I assure you there will be no way you can hide. Tuskys is the ideal meeting spot for the people you intend to avoid. It doesn’t help that it’s the only mall next to the main stage. It also hosts the only KFC place in Kisumu. I still can’t understand Kisumu people’s obsession with this place. In short, Tuskys is a place to avoid if you don’t like crowds. Human traffic is guaranteed. It is this same Tuskys that Crush chose. So I said ‘why not?’

When we met, we had the usual pleasantries, which were full of ‘I can’t believe it’s you’ ‘waaaaa’ ‘so we finally meet’ ‘you look so lovely’ ‘I still can’t believe it’s really you’ and my favorite ‘you are beyond what I expected’. A girl can be flattered. A girl can blush. We decided to find a place to seat and talk. We had over a decade to catch up on. Just after passing the security point, which by the way I found to be shitty, we met another class 5 classmate, the best friend to Crush. I immediately knew there would be a change in plans. We will call him Best Friend. I am not using anyone’s name here today.

We catch up for some time creating a minor traffic at the shitty security checkpoint. Finally, we all agreed to go for bhajias. When you visit Kisumu and you happen to be in the mood for some bhajias, the place to be is at Mama Hassan’s. It’s located in Ondiek estate, just a few minutes from Tuskys mall. Best friend was in the company of a petite girl, who looked like his girlfriend (I will justify that) and another guy who was in denim. I hope you are all getting their names. Just in case you are lost, there is Crush, Best Friend, Petite Girl and Denim Guy. Now keep up please.

We leave Tuskys and head to Mama Hassan’s. Let me tell you why this place is sacred to those like me who have no problem eating junk food. Mwitu to be specific. One, Mama Hassan has been there for as long as I can remember. Two, her bhajias are just heavenly, mouthwatering. Three, there is something called loyalty. It cuts across several avenues. Salons, Barbers, and now as you have all learnt, food kiosks. Four, my sister recommended it sometime. So the fact that my sister, who does not know Kisumu so well, found this place means it is the best. I could go on and on, but this is not a marketing post.

Just as we approach Mama Hassan’s, Petite Girl says she knows a different place that is actually good. She gives us an impression of this new place; there is no waiting and that we would get seats fast. Unlike Mama Hassan’s place, there are few people. She goes further and tells the rest of the group to go to Mama Hassan’s if they are not for it but as for her, she was going to the other place. Best Friend, or as I would say Suspected Boyfriend, asked for our opinion. Now I knew it was just for formality purposes because the facts were 1) There was no way Best Friend was going to a different place from Petite Girl 2) There was no way Crush was going to a different place from Best Friend and 3) The moment that division option was brought up, we were all going to the new place. These were facts. A chain rolling out.

That was my cue. I should have just created some ridiculous story and excused myself from the group but I didn’t. I also needed to hang with old friends. Crush to be specific. It had been a decade! All this, for my class 5 crush. Dude you owe me better bhajias.

The other place wasn’t as promised. One, there were no seats. Two, there was a crowd. Three, there was a waiting line. We were group #3. Each group waited at least 30minutes. Do the math. In short, I was missing Mama Hassan’s place. Petite Girl decided to look for seats. As for me, I was targeting the group that was doing literally nothing next to us. They had eaten. They needed to leave. Well, they did leave and we got their seats.

And so the wait began… and my observing eyes began to work…

When you use observation for content, you need things to be real, not stage-managed. Therefore, I was counting on that just in case I decided to write about the place. Crush however decided to issue out a warning to everyone. “Be careful what you say, and how you act. She is a writer and she can be savage. The other day alimulika a guy just for tweezing”. How do you get real content when everyone is now on the alert? You employ patience. Eventually people let their guards down. Am not savage in my posts. That’s just a misconception. Sort of.

Let me give you all a picture of how the place looked like. It is an outdoor eating shack with two possible seating areas, outside the compound and inside the compound. The seats are plastic chairs that are available depending on your arrival time and the willingness of the previous occupants to vacate the said seats. Everything was being done manually or rather traditionally. The potatoes were peeled with knives, and later cooked using three stones and a huge black pan half filled with oil. A duck kept patrolling the area at intervals of 10minutes. A baby was crying, I never got why. She was a lovely girl in pink. Her mother however thought it wise to plait her half-haired head. I think this was just torture. Why punish a child like that? Maybe that is why she kept crying. The cooking staff were for lack of a better word, very slow. For a place with that much traffic in form of customers, their service delivery was uncharmingly (this is not even a real word) slow.

It was half an hour since we had arrived and still we were nowhere close to being served. Petite Girl later suggested we all move into the compound and not outside as we had initially positioned ourselves. Best Friend had to ask (formality) if we are ok with that. We had to be. Refer to the facts previously stated.
Inside the compound, I had no view of the activities going on outside, like the progress of our ordered Bhajias.

After minutes of waiting to be served, the lady in charge comes and takes our order. Five plates of bhajia. Pretty simple huh? Well it wasn’t to her. After all that waiting and finally getting some hope she comes back with just two plates. Two plates! We were five! She smiles at all of us and says, “Aki nikienda kuosha plates ule aliuza order yenu”. You don’t play people like that when it comes to food. I pitied Denim Guy most. He had reached out for a plate, which he had to let go, so that the ladies in the team can have the first share. Being a gentleman needs its time-outs. I did feel for him. Unfortunately, it’s only he who was waiting. Crush joined me. Best friend joined Petite Girl. (I promised to tell you why I suspected Best Friend was Boyfriend, right? This is the place. They shared Petite Girl’s plate. She gave him her juice when Denim Guy snatched his and I could swear it was during this time that I heard one of them calling the other ‘babe’. It could also just be my overactive imagination)

Best Friend was making some calls to other friends to join us. His only problem was giving the directions to where we were. Petite Girl took it upon herself to confuse the crap out of the guy more. ‘Tell them to come near the old VCT’ ‘tell them to come to Akinyi’s (not the real name) place’ ‘tell them to use Ondiek’ and many more tell thems. Well, somehow the friend found the place. I was expecting a crowd. It was just one person.

The whole team got to some catching up. I noticed Petite Girl did not talk much. She just stayed in her corner as if studying all of us. It was sort of like what I do when am in a crowd of new people. Denim Guy would join in only when there was a jab being thrown at someone. I guess he feared whatever he said might be used against him in this piece. The talkers were Crush and Best Friend. One discussion however caught my attention. Straight guys really feel a strong sense of repulsion towards the gay guys. Everyone except Denim Guy had an experience with a gay person and the tone in their voices when speaking of such moments oozed nothing but disgust. I will not share the stories. This is already longer than I expected.

Everyone got their share of bhajias eventually. It was lovely to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

It was getting late and I needed to go home.

GOODBYES ARE OVERRATED

Lewis was to write this week, but due to some very real reasons (that I will not mention), and definitely not excuses, he could not. Therefore, I will fill in this week. In all honesty, I had nothing to do so this wasn’t a big deal to me. Finishing school can have that effect on someone.

The past few days have been full of farewell parties, last time photos and ridiculous amounts of goodbye(s). Almost everyone I know is saying goodbye to someone or something. A good percentage saying goodbye to 8-4-4 system. I am among this group. It’s been a long academic journey from the times when we would draw grasshoppers to crooked Kenya and Africa maps to brains and the whole human body. In the spirit of appreciating the 8-4-4 system, maybe one day I will be asked to draw a grasshopper in an interview panel and man will I thank my teacher for the lessons, at the same time giving the interviewers an ‘I got this’ look. It’s a look full of confidence.

So back to the main point, goodbyes. In my opinion, just as the title clearly stipulates, they are overrated. How many times have you cried when saying goodbye to someone only to realize a day later that you did not even think of them in the 24hours you had? This is obviously rhetorical so moving on… How many times do we say goodbye to people with promises of ‘we will talk’ ‘keep in touch’ ‘I will miss you’ and yet never keep the very promises. The contact information becomes one of the many contacts in your phonebook never meant to be deleted, just in case. Just in case you visit a town they are in and you need a host. Alternatively, just in case you meet one day, you want to be the one who never deleted the number. It will be even more advantageous on your side if the person has a new number, and does not have yours. You can always pull the Your-phone-is always-off-whenever-I-call card. Works every time!

This is not the first time I am leaving a learning institution. This is not the first time I am parting ways with friends. And of course, I mean this with distance as the factor and not any drama. I have been in boarding schools most of my life so I know what it means to say goodbye to years of friendship when eventually everyone has to go back home and the probability of a meeting is at 0.05%. I said goodbye to my primary school friends. Those I am still in touch with are few, but still more than I expected. I expected zero communication. I can say thanks to social media. I said goodbye to high school friends and it is the same case with a little upgrade in form of auto books. They were ordinary books with many celebrity photos, and colorful writing with all types of pens. These books had five main categories, name, nickname (aka), hood, digitz (yes, that’s how we spelt digits back then), and the partying shot. Any other additional data was allowed as long as it was within your page allocation. The few special friends to the owner of the auto books would have the privilege of using two pages. That was an honour! This past week I said goodbye to my campus friends. The difference here is that this time round I was mature enough not to make a big deal out of a goodbye. The most my friends got from me was ‘safe journey’. And this is only for those I was in contact with while they were travelling.

What is the point of elevating something as simple as a farewell into a mountain of rushed, fake and unclear emotions that will only last the duration of the farewell after which everything resumes normalcy? Again, rhetorical.

As Africans, we have a ‘culture’ of making farewells such a big deal. Let’s take for instance a family member is travelling out of the country, especially when the destination is the USA. There will be a family get-together, a Harambee, and several meetings held all in preparation for the farewell of a family member. To me these farewells are just but a huge waste of money and time. At the end of the day, when this person leaves, chances of communicating with them are close to nil. The next time such a buzz will exist is when the said family member is set to return home. Then we start another episode of ‘Let’s waste money with an excuse’.

As I said earlier, I have had a week full of goodbyes. Classmates, friends, neighbours. Everyone was bidding everyone goodbye. Be it face to face, via a long emotional text that may or may not include an ‘I’ll miss you’ with a series of emojis that I find absurd, via social media with a long post about the journey of whatever it is you are saying goodbye to and its relation to you. In my opinion, we only say goodbye to the proximity, when it comes to people. I don’t see what else changes other than that. If there was good communication before, I do not see why that should change. If there was none, there is no point kissing each other’s you-know-whats (read that as a word that starts with an ‘A’) in the name of promising to keep in touch. It’s time to lose the façade. There is no point in creating an emotional environment with people when you know so well you have no intention of staying in touch with them. it’s better to let them go without any expectations. At least this way, when communication fails, no one is betrayed.

Do I sound negative? No? Wonderful.

In related news, we will be changing the design of this website soon. It’s a work in progress. But since am not one to make a big deal out of that, letting you all know is good enough for me.

I NEED A DRIVER

By the end of this piece, I hope someone will be kind enough to be my driver.

Before we start getting all jumpy about this, just know I don’t have a car. I need a driver, who has a car. It’s sort of a package deal. It is more like calling for an Uber but this time round a rental, until I get my own. I am beyond done with public transport. Dunzo! Public transport and I are at that point in a relationship where reconciliation is the last option. Moving on for the sake of peace is quite literally the only option left. Very few things can really piss me off. Bad food (ok, if you can’t cook, kindly do not offer to cook for me. I value good food). Lies (there is a thin line between the truth and a lie. It’s called choice). A terrible journey (this is our focus today)

My standards just don’t seem to mix with the public transport standards. It’s either that or guys are just out to get me. It can easily be both.

Travelling is one of my favourite hobbies, yet I am always complaining anytime I travel. I am planning to go on a vacation soon. More reasons why I need a driver. I know some may begin questioning my account balance. Who goes on vacation when the country is being given a bitter dose of humility? Well, it is for that very reason that I need a vacation. What happens when the economy keeps dropping day by day? I may never get to afford such a thing again. So yes, we are being humbled in the worst way, but I am planning to live well. Plus travelling isn’t even that expensive really.

So travelling. I have specific preferences when am travelling. I need a window seat. And if I don’t get that, then the one with the window seat should know how to balance the temperature in the vehicle. I am not going to suffocate in a matatu. Hell no! Apart from the window seat, it would be of much importance to me if the driver does not play music so loud that I can’t hear my own thoughts. Still on the music, it should be in a language we all understand. By ‘all’ here I mean Kenyans. Music is the reason my worst route is the Nyahururu-Nairobi route. Those guys play loud Mugithi music and it gets worse when they join in the chorus with their perfectly out of key voices. Imagine a frog singing in soprano. Do take your time please… I believe you now see my frustration.

Next preference when travelling is to have a quiet vehicle. How quiet? Pin drop. I don’t like it when everyone is talking in a matatu. The person at the back seat wants to engage the one seated with the driver in a lengthy conversation about the weather. And no, not the one we are all experiencing on the road. The one they have left wherever they are coming from. You are coming from the same goddamn place! And headed to the same place. How about you discuss that while there. Another preference would be a new vehicle. It’s just not fair to sentence someone to an hour-long journey with a lot of crickiry-crickiry noise from the body and a deafening cry of a dying engine. Save the poor vehicle and make it scrap metal. I should write a proposal on that.

There are some irritating people habits that I can’t stand in a matatu ever. One, How is it that some people just can’t stop eating? I get it, food is important. Big deal. Why would someone need a whole week’s supply of food in a 1-hour journey? These people eat everything. Everything. As long as its food, they will eat it. My worst is groundnuts. I don’t eat any nuts. That sounds weird but moving on… Another one is avocados. How do you eat avocado in a public vehicle without some decorum? The way people eat avocados in a matatus is just nasty and very gross. Picture this. You are sitting next to someone eating avocado, the vehicle hits an emergency break and just like that you are covered in avocado. Not just you but it flies around messing the other passengers’ clothes. Maybe am paranoid.

Two, I think we can all agree that a phone call is a private thing. We all don’t need to hear a conversation we are not part of. If you don’t want to involve us in the call, then regulate your voice and the call volume. Imagine yourself in a vehicle where everyone is speaking on phone, and it’s too loud that you can literally hear what both parties are saying. This is a common behaviour with businessmen. It’s like to announce your success, you must at least receive one phone call per journey and yell at the poor fella whose sole mistake was calling you while you were near people. This is just one hell of a sick move. I cannot stand that anymore.

Three, there is something about respecting someone’s phone that some public transport users just don’t seem to comprehend. It’s the respecting part. You are travelling and having a lively conversation with someone via text, only to realize you are not the only one viewing your phone. Your neighbour is so much glued to your screen just as much as you are! There are no words to express the anger that follows that. One time some guy asked me who the people in my photos were. I was searching for a new profile picture. I get it; there is an access law that was passed recently. It does not cover my phone!

Four, tantrums. I love children. They love me. But my love for children is sort of becoming conditional. I love those who love being quiet. No tantrums. If there are any, at least let them be diplomatic. Ok, I get how that’s too much to ask, but they’ve got to learn such things early. The future of diplomacy depends on those tiny beings. I have had my fair share of child tantrums in public vehicles to an extent that am beginning to question my tolerance for children all together.

I thought I had seen it all in matatus from loud passengers, bad music, terrible seatmates, invasion of privacy, all the way to a damn food festival until I was travelling from Maseno to Kisumu. (That was a long sentence! Wow!) It was a bus. I wasn’t fortunate enough to get a window seat, but that’s not the focus of this rant. My problem was with a preacher. Yes, a preacher. There are these guys who are always preaching in vehicles. Then will later ask for some handouts, politely I might add. Not this preacher. He was one arrogant son of a *you know what*. This guy boards the bus at the same stage that I did. He finds a seat just next to the conductor. 10 minutes into the journey, he whispers something to the conductor, then walks over to the driver, and does the same. The driver turns off the radio and pastor begins his road sermon. Let me just state this very clearly, it was good music turned off. That’s some rare thing to find especially in a public vehicle. The guy talked about Noah, he talked about Daniel, he talked about every other Sunday-school story I have ever heard. He talked for the whole journey. Just as we were about to arrive in Kisumu, he asked for his offering. I was just about to pull a 50-shilling note and hand it over when he ruined it. “Mtu asinipatie coin yoyote. Ntapeleka wapi? Kama unaona ni coin ndio unaeza nipatia, kaa na pesa yako. Itanibolea mfuko. Mchungaji hawezi ongea kwa muda huu wote kisha umpe coin. Kwa hivyo yeyote atakaye taka kumbariki mhubiri anaweza leta chochote alichonacho. Lakini sio coin” Quick and brief translation, the guy would not accept any cash if it was a coin. It would ruin his pockets.

Let’s take a breather… Ok, now what the hell? Who does that? He is a preacher. I don’t think having a say on what people give you as an appreciation for sharing the gospel comes with the calling. That was just so wrong. Maybe am judging, but that was just wrong. No one gave him any money. No one.

I know I always complain a lot when I travel. It is not fair to those who have to keep listening to my whining self. It’s about time that ended. Like I said at the beginning, I am expecting a driver, with a car. The qualifications are simple. Be a good driver. Just that. My vacation time is just around the corner, and to be quite honest, if I don’t have a driver by then, you will all have to deal with my rants. That is not a pretty thing.

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Two weeks ago, I posted a story on my life as a preacher’s kid; school life. I ended the piece with a promise to work on the social life of a preacher’s kid. I will post that soon. However, I wanted to start an online awareness campaign on the lives of preachers kids as an attempt to bring about understanding and at least limit the level with which stereotyping is paramount.  To all our readers, it is my request to you all to share this message with any PK you may know. We will be posting the stories on our Facebook page(PepperLife) using the #LifeAsAPreachersKid. The stories can be shared anonymously just in case someone is not comfortable with their identity going public. Share the stories with us through our email or via our Facebook page inbox. You can also directly send the stories via WhatsApp.

Paula – paula@thispepperlife.com 0701-250155

Lewis – lewis@thispepperlife.com 0718-647507

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