“Comrade Shamit has come back to his homeland of Kenya. This not goot for me. I have very little patience and getting angry all the time. I give you example. Ve vere in town other day and ve valk on the sidevalk and I realize people move very slow. People moving so slow I vant to kick them in their buttocks to get out of my vay. In Soviet Russia, ve vud beat people vith bat until they learn their lesson and valk qvickly”
Oh, shut up Boris, you big brute. It’s me again. Sham, the dominant personality in my head. Most of the time. Apologies, they get out every now and then, the voices in my head. The Russian is annoying but he does have a point doesn’t he? So let’s see, now that he’s made me aware of it, I’m sure I can write something about it.
There are many, many things that irritate me. Many things. I could make a list as long as my arm, leg and other parts of my anatomy about these things. But I won’t. One of the main ones is people walking slowly or people walking into me which both happen on a daily basis unless I’m in the hills somewhere. Nairobi city centre, it seems, is a town full of lonely people who want some sort of physical intimacy even if it’s as brief as a male virgins first time. It’s so strange the way bodies are rubbed, who knows whether innocently or not, on each other. Especially in matatus. I wonder, is it the lack of physical human contact that urges people to go out to complete strangers and rub their asses across one’s shoulders? I mean, I’d never rub my ass on someone’s shoulder. Because, you know, I’m polite and all.
Its funny then isn’t it? How Kenyans are about speed on the roads but very slow on the sidewalks.
Another amazing thing is how Kenyan pedestrians have eyes on the backs of their heads for a full circular range of visibility. This I can attest to for one reason that has happened to me a number of times. I’m walking along, trying to build momentum through the frictional fires of human bodies and inevitably I come to a close standstill behind a fat mama or two. I swerve to the right, and just like magic, they take two steps to the right. I drastically swerve to the left, and just like witchcraft, they take two steps to the left. Now, here I am, sweating from the excursion, seething with little fires of anger as the red mist descends. Here I am, interlocked in this furious dance for prime position on the pavement with two old, fat ladies who, on the surface, seem oblivious to my plight. But they know. I know they know. And I know that they know that I know they know. And that perverse pleasure of my pain makes them cackle like broomstick witches.
Another thing that really grinds my gears is how people in matatus wait until the last possible moment before they remove the money from their wallets, pockets or purses to pay the conductor with. Before I walk into a matatu, I always make sure I have the money in my hand. That way, I don’t have to go fishing for it in my pocket in a cramped ride. But here are these people. They enter the matatu, banging your head with a breast here or an ass cheek there. They sit down, get comfortable between people and then just wait. When the conductor finally asks them for their fare, they create irritating disruptions in seated order. Violent hands thrust into pockets and purses, blind fingers fishing for coin and paper. They lean onto me, sweat stinking of what has to be at least seven showerless days and breath smelling of the rotting carcases of animals that were made extinct in their mouths. All this would be avoided if only people had even the smallest bit of foresight and just prepared their fares a minute in advance.
One more thing before my lunch break is over and I have to get back to writing dull forms. Again, in matatus. What the hell is the hurry? You’re sitting in the back seat, I’m in the middle seat and I try getting out and you rush past me like the devils on your tail. Are those three seconds really that important to you? You’re the same person who’s going to get out of the matatu so quickly just to get on the street and walk like a slumping, rohypnol swallowing sloth.
So I smile. Because the alternative would be murder. And murder is bad. Or so I’ve heard. And restrain is good.
Until the rubber band snaps.