In life, as quoted by some wise person somewhere, you get to meet an assortment of characters. Some will make you happy, others sad, and others will elicit other forms of reaction from you depending on why, how, where or when you encounter them.
In the last week, I got to encounter, through my sister, the typical specimen of a government employee. This one was a teller at the parcel and letter delivery agency. And, oh God, he was rude, annoying, slow, whimsical, unreliable, egotistical, arrogant, lazy. And unreasonably stupid. Leave it to him to do the complex mathematics that is ’60×3′ and he’ll confidently declare the answer to be 600. To think age comes with knowledge. My only recommendation to the BBI is for the government to throw more math at its citizens, random math quizzes at the street would do. Because some levels of dullness is simply painful.
In the vast categories of people that one encounters in life, there are those who especially come to test out intelligence. Have you ever been crammed inside the pocket sized rear of a matatu and the person beside you is on a phone call, lying to the person at the other end of the line about being unable to talk. Because they are… dRiVInG? Yes, you drive me crazy.
Yesterday, I was at the back of a matatu, my usual spot, busy, trying to untangle the intestines that were my expensive 100-shilling earphones. I was careful not to damage its internals. Damaged internals would mean that only one, or both, pieces of the earphones would work. And no one likes earphones that whisper only into one of your ears. Such earphones are more annoying than a self-important teller at the Posta office. While in the process of my surgical intestinal operation, the man seated before me receives a phone call. His ringtone so shrill, I almost jumped out the window.
I am not a CID, CIA, FBI, posta teller or a customs official to be interested in another person’s privacies. As such, never have I ever listened in on a person’s conversation, I think. In point of fact, I am not always particularly interested in many of the conversations that are actively directed at me, so why would I be interested in another person’s discussion?
I was consequently burdened with the tough decision to choose between focusing on my intestines or listen to the conversation that extinguished the silence in the cuboid of a matatu I was in. My interests settled on the boisterous money-infested conversation going on in front of me. And I was more attentive to it than I ever was during any of my afternoon Swahili lessons in high school. Here’s how the conversation goes:
“…what about my 15 million? When are the funds going to be wired to me?” **pause…
“eeh.. okay.” **long pause…
“..you know that gentleman once conned me three hundred thousands last week! I don’t trust him…” **pause…
“No no no no…eeh, yes.”
“I will just have to send the facilitation fee…” **pause…
“How much was it again?” **pause…
“89 thousands? Okay”
“That’s not hard to get hahahaha” “okay…” ***pause…
“We shall converse when I get to acquaint with my correspondents.”
He then puts his phone back into the front pocket of his shirt. For a person who finds eighty nine thousand, ‘easy to find’, that shirt must have probably been worth three hundred thousand shillings- minus the body to wear it. Judging by his conversation, this guy must have been a politician, a bank robber, Raymond Reddington, Jeff Bezos. But what was he doing in a matatu? It’s like casually bumping into the pope inside a strip club making Sacramental bread rain. If I were this guy, with all this money I’d have been reclining the seat of my Gulfstream while sipping my cold muratina, never mind that I am going to the shop for a loaf of bread.
While I’m tethered to the dreams of cold muratina and private planes, another shrill sound permeates my ears and jerks my brain back to matatu. It was the same guy from earlier. Unlike the rest of us here, his phone must have been wicked. There is no rest for the wicked Psalm 125:3. When he pulls it out- the phone- I then realize that this guy is in possession of a Nokia 1100. 1100? Yes, it was a Nokia 1100, and in case you’re getting lost here, a Nokia 1100 was the phone that you parents used to admire in 2003; I was 3 years old then. It is the Homo sapiens of the Homo sapiens sapiens.
At present, this phone must have been so old, the numbers in his phonebook must have faded off completely. I was looking at this guy’s phone eagerly expecting to see the applications, if they indeed existed on that particular phone, start falling off through the charger port
So when this guy immediately launched his new conversation with a ‘my friend, what is the status of the 30 million contract…’ I asked the conductor to let me out. Kenyans will not mess with my brain like that.
Copy pasted featured image : James Spader, The Blacklist. NBC