Let’s talk nails

Ever been bored till you start thinking of your life as a village bull? You start imagining how a big bull with a huge hunch back you could have been. Named after a prominent leader and carrying the last york in plough. You will be receiving all the praise songs during the tilling period. After all the accolades and good fights, your owner will decide to get the best return on you before your better days are gone and decide to cash you in for slaughter. Just before your last prayers as the sharp knife is inching nearer your neck, boom! a notification gets on your phone. It is a word document.

It is one of these articles which you read and make you feel your eyes become watery, you get so engrossed you feel you are going to save it for future use. You will have a hard copy printed out and you hang it over your bed. You have known no tears before but here an article working you up. Nobody has moved you with a piece of writing this deep before.

It was an article by Paula Norah, even though it was done as a mere embarrassing trial, without having to worry about flowery words, no scented language and not even a bit of editing. It got to convey the intended message home. From that embarrassing trial, she has done other kick ass pieces, with every new piece becoming better from the last.

One of the things she is drawn to are drawn to nails, I don’t even understand how people get time to do those, well we can have that world with us.

Paula take it away…

 

The long lecturer’s strike made me one lazy brat. Lazy because that’s just me. Brat because I started viewing myself as a diva. I started questioning why I had to do chores…like cook, clean the house, and worst of all wash dishes! My defense was pretty much simple; I would have been in school meaning I wouldn’t have been around to do that particular thing at that particular time. As if that would work. Am petty like that sometimes. One thing that all these chores share in common is they involve water and sometimes soap. I do not fear that combination, hell no! Am a lady for heaven’s sake. What I don’t like is that combination in relation to my nails. Like I said, diva.

I love my nails. I love to care for them. I love it when I apply cutex on them and walk around swinging my hands. I have to care for my nails. Why? I have tiny hands and slim fingers. Anytime I shake someone’s hand most will say “uko na mkono ndogo!”. I avoid hand shaking too. Am a huger. Being a saloonist, when I do someone’s hair, I have to ask for help at the last stage because small hands can’t allow me hold everything at once. Clients laugh at me sometimes. Yet it is them who need to look good. Anyway, when I have my nails done really pretty no one notices my tiny hands and all attention goes to my nails. I guess you now see why my nails are a big deal. That and the fact that I have really beautiful nails. Yes, fact.

So on this day, I am lying casually but abnormally on the couch, phone in hand, legs high on the back of the couch, my back flat on the couch seat, my head facing up but actually a little bit suspended mid air. Basically I wasn’t sitting on the couch like a lady, at all. Or even a normal person. Picture a couch, now picture the design. It very clear on what goes where. So take all that and turn it upside down. Yes, that is how I was. And in case you are wondering, I was wearing a trouser.

Crrrrr…Crrrrr…Crrrrr… That is the sound my Grandma’s walker makes anytime she is approaching. That sound is a warning bell to me so I sit up and act like a lady. I place my feet down, cross my right leg over the left one. Haha! I even adjusted my trouser. I put my phone away and pick a newspaper (It wasn’t the day’s paper for sure). I did all that just to avoid her lectures. Back to point, nails. She is already in the sitting room now. And she is carrying a knife.

“Paula…!” *she always believes we don’t hear well so it’s a shout*

“mmmh”

“Paula, yitsa undeterekho amatere kano”

*awkward silence*

“ewe! Yitsa undeterekho amatere kano!”

“kukhu sikuelewi”

*she laughs*

“vbolangendi…yitsa undeterekho amatere kano” *she says this a bit slower*

Now am laughing my lungs out. She is not making this easy and she knows it. She might even be having fun who knows!

“aki kukhu sijakuelewa. Unasema nini?”

“katiakho mimi makucha hii”

Ooh… So that is what she meant. Cut her nails. Wow, thanks Grandma, you didn’t make that hard at all! Now I understood why she was carrying a knife. Grandma believes in razor blades and knives. Current inventions like nail cutters just don’t cut it in her list of things she trusts. I only know how to use nail cutters.

I get my lazy-self off the couch and head to Mum’s room. She always has a nail cutter, my nail cutter. Though I have a strong feeling I am not getting it back. I am hoping she was not listening to my ‘wonderful’ dialogue with Grandma. That would crack her up, and we will have yet another conversation about how we kids are not ready to learn her language. Anyway, Mum heard everything! I know this because she was laughing so hard when I walked in.

*still laughing*

“you kids have to learn kiluhya”

I pretended not to have heard that.

“ulieka nail cutter wapi?”

“chukua kwa iyo bag yangu”

I see bags. Not a bag. There are at least 6 handbags, 2 travel bags, and some that I cant categorize. There is no ‘iyo bag’ Which bag does she mean? She wont tell me of course, she is busy. So I search all of them and finally find it after a good 7minutes. Mum never helps me when I search for things. She’d rather watch.

Grandma gave up waiting for me and began sharpening her knife against the wall. Patience has never really been her strong suit. So I had to hurry. Now we are sitting outside on the verandah.

“watoto wa tawuni hapana juanga kutumia wembe da?” (don’t town kids know how to use razor blades?

*silence*

It is sometimes better not to answer Grandma’s questions. Especially those that refer to us as town kids. Those conversations never end well. They never even end because I usually walk away when she is not seeing, and she would keep talking until she finds a distraction. It’s our thing.

We maintain some small talk. Her asking if I am really cutting her nails and me showing the evidence. Grandma has trust issues!

While I am cutting her finger nails I notice she has beautiful long nails, they look old now, but they are definitely beautiful. The fingers are long, wrinkled yet still have the shade of perfection. Her hands are so frail I fear I am too rough on her. Her toe nails are also long and beautiful, though old. I am thinking I should give Grandma a mani-pedi. Ha! I can imagine her response if I am to suggest that. I know where I get my beautiful hands. Her hands are a replica of mine, except mine are small. She observes me keenly while I work and asks why I keep long nails. I can’t find the exact Swahili words that can describe to her why I keep long nails so I tell her I like them long. At this point, I am done cutting hers.

“Ah! ni mbaya…kata”

*ouch Grandma*

I laugh anyway and tell her that’s just how I like them. she says thank you but still checks her nails to confirm if I have actually cut them. Like I said, trust issues. That is my Grandma. That is just how she is. Old, rigid, prayerful, compassionate, inquisitive, traditional, and the best. And she has beautiful nails.

I need to sign off and cut/trim my nails. The nail on my right middle finger broke! Damn! As if it was siding with Grandma. But did it have to be that finger?

Paula Norah.

Blue-Ticking Justified

Blue ticks…Well I know no one wants to be a victim of those. For those wondering what blue ticks are and what blue-ticking is, let me be a lamb and educate you. When you get blue-ticked, you have been ignored. Your texts are going unanswered. And yes, they have been delivered and read. This term pretty much came to be when WhatsApp introduced the tiny blue ticks that indicate your text is delivered and read.

If you don’t see ‘typing…’ after the blue ticks, honey, you have been blue-ticked. Now, I know it sounds bad to be a victim, but let’s face it, some people really do ask for it.

I have done my fair share of blue-ticking. Have I been blue-ticked? Yes. No. Maybe. I dont know. Anyway, this is the day I finally justify blue-ticking. It’s never about snubbing. Like I said, some people really beg for it. And I am a very generous lady, when it comes to blue ticks.

These are some of the instances and character traits that would definitely guarantee blue ticks:

  • The X-Factor

Those who use the ‘X’! Who told you introducing ‘X’ in all your words makes your text look cool? That’s just really annoying. I really get pissed off when someone texts me ‘xaxa’ instead of ‘sasa’. Am pretty sure that is not even Xhosa. If you can’t let go the X-Factor, please do not complain when you see the blue ticks. You begged for them.

Some time back a friend had communication issues with his landlord. Why? The X-Factor. The landlord sent a text saying they meet on ‘Xday’. Which day is that exactly? My friend automatically assumed Saturday. I would have. Turns out that is Sunday, in the X language. If that guy gets the blue ticks, he had better suck it up. He deserves it.

  • Mr. Dia

These are the guys who just can’t quit calling you ‘dia’ in the middle of a chat. And to make matters worse, they spell it wrong. Its dear! If you can’t type that, you have a problem. And blue ticks are definitely the solution. I know some think it’s cute, but its really not. Especially if you are a stranger. Keep the dias. I don’t need to read 100 dias in just one conversation. Otherwise, Blue ticks pap!

  • Ok. Sawa. K. Lol

These words definitely kill a conversation. I never think twice when I get such a response. It is even worse when you write a paragraph and get a ‘k’. People please. That is not even a word. It is a letter that follows ‘J’ in the alphabets damn it! If there is a new communication trend that introduced letters to stand in for words and not be irritating, then K. But I will still blue-tick you. K?

And LOL. What do you even say after that? LOL to you too? Really people! Send me a LOL and I go mute.

  • Boring chats

Let no one tell me boring chats are a two-way thing. Someone initiates this. Imagine a scenario where you are really hyped up about a certain topic and the other party just doesn’t give a similar vibe. Boring. Another scenario of a boring chat is when all you do is exchange hellos. After that, nothing to talk about. Let’s just say, in this case don’t even complain when you are blue-ticked. Next scenario; someone initiates a chat but expects you to now keep it alive. I am a very good conversationalist. I can try to save a chat, but not for long. If you are boring, you are boring. If there is nothing to talk about, just say “I was checking on you”. Dont bore me to death.

  •  Delayed Responce

This relates to those people who send you a message at 7.00p.m. You will reply at 7.01p.m.  And they reply the next day at noon. Here’s the thing, you will get a reply from me immediately. But not all the time. I use the three-strike rule. Once you are at three strikes, blue ticks. There is no way I can be discussing one topic for a whole week! For the sake of peace, kindly accept the blue ticks if you fall in this category.

  • Too sensitive

Take a joke people! Loosen up a little. Buy some sense of humor if you got none. If possible, please learn how to have a comeback for the likes of me. We are the sarcastic kind. And somehow we find being mean funny. Comebacks just make the chat interesting. But it’s very annoying when someone just ‘catches feelings’. The world is brutal. If you can’t take a joke, darling don’t expect anyone to massage those feelings. Carry them and the blue ticks away. Adios!

  • The Questionnaires

The questionnaire type of chats are just a beacon for blue ticks. I mean they can be interesting occasionally, but they had better introduce a discussion point. I will not be interrogated. I refuse that. I am not a criminal…well, not yet. If that’s all I can get in a chat, I am better off watching detective movies.

  • Forwarded messages

Don’t get me started on these. They are tuned to different seasons. I love originality and creativity. If you can’t come up with your own Christmas message, then just say ‘merry Christmas!’ But do not forward a message that was forwarded to you by someone who also got it from a friend who forwarded it. You get the picture. My dad once typed and sent a message to his colleagues on New Year, only to receive his message as it was the next day. From someone who is not even a colleague. Who killed creativity?

I particularly have a problem with those messages that have threats attached to them. ‘If you don’t forward, you don’t love God…’ 

Another particularly annoying phrase is ‘send to 15 other people including me and see what happens in 5minutes…’ I know what will happen in 5 minutes. You will be waiting for a response. It won’t come. Why? Blue ticks!

  • Failing to communicate

I am not choosy on what language to chat with. I can comfortably send texts in English, Swahili and Luo. (am not 100% fluent in swahili and Luo though) But yes, I can use them. If you also want to mix them up am good with that. Just ensure you communicate. I don’t want to read a text and ask myself ‘what is this person trying to say?’ I will not try to decode that text. It’s a complete waste of time.

For example, what is this? ‘mng. Nd ur hp. U bzy? Xnd me mbanas ya mxee wa cls. Gdy’ I do not speak in codes. This kind of text will get a blue tick. How hard is it to just write a word as it is?

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These are just some of the scenarios where someone is really begging for blue ticks. The thing is, the blue-tickers are not really snubbing. At least not all the time. Sometimes their actions are justified.

Free advice to the constant victims, how about unmarking the read receipts box? That way you will never see blue ticks. All you will see are the black ticks. And again, they don’t rub in your face that you have been blue-ticked.

Blue ticks are not just for WhatsApp, they are all over now. Metaphorically Speaking of course. But they are. Any messaging platform has its blue ticks.

And that, is blue-ticking justified, my way.