If you’ve been longing for something more than plum jam on your breakfast rolls in the mornings; I think traffic jams in a Nairobi nganya would be a bemusing experience. It’s always your attitude, remember? Today, like many other days, I got that real firsthand experience on that macabre Nairobian morning ritual – traffic jam. Most days, I never have early morning commitments so this was one to cherish.
But it’s a morning loaded with lessons too. First is the conductor’s character, who most times is a fellow good at the arts … of sagging jeans. His persistence that I board his transi and leave the rest actually beats that of Mozilla Firefox begging to be my default browser.
I always, somehow instinctively, take a seat at the back. This habit stemmed from the ‘good stuff is always at the bottom’ criterion my mum applies at the grocer’s when sorting out fruits from a bucket or a pile. Normally, to chase boredom or kill the cold in a ferrari, I’d just sit there and spread smiles like herpes or get engrossed in Facebook reporting your numerous selfies as abusive. Judging by their infiltration of my feed, methinks humans will have 12 ft long arms in 2515; evolved from centuries of taking selfies.
I entered this mathree like a shrine. Not really walking backwards but with adoration at the amount of sap put in the artwork on the seats and windows. Quite irresistible were the wall-mounted up-lighters and each artwork having its own magical mounted illumination.Yet, it’s not night. It’s early morn!
We were obviously riding from Doonholm; a hood apparently famous for the southward plummeting of its breed. Not my hood though. An overnight rendezvous found me parked at a friend’s; as other buddies decided to while away the remaining hours at a nearby watering-hole. T’was seemingly the only one in the jungle. Not sure about that though. Since I’m not a wildebeest; watering-holes ain’t my thing.On such a morning today, I’d only be headed to meet an appointment with a ‘Big Man’. ‘Big Man’ is one of those people in offices who sip cold beer and steal people’s money. When such seek you, say ‘amen’ and leave all you are doing to respond to their queries. You never know.
We did some confusing rounds in those Umoja streets – to pick passengers – that seemingly led us back to Doonholm (yeah, I also have never understood how). On those mini-streets, you’d be hard pressed to find a sane driver and everyone is unwilling to ditch their deplorable traffic habits. Cars are queued up bumper to bumper. Using the pavements is the disease while chronic overlapping is the epidemic.
My eyes were doing enough exercise from ogling the chiseled physiques of some ladies in spandex standing near the passenger door having obviously quit a morning jog and preferred a ride back home; to stealing glances at a perfumed pedigree hound squeezed in the arms of a
mzungu seated next to me. You know the type you’d selfishly want to mate your village mongrels for a cute half-breed? Yeah, those ones.
We ground to a halt somewhere just after hitting the highway and some silence reigned as the long arm of the law extended a greeting. I caught a glimpse of our konkodi negotiating with the officer; palm-in-pocket obviously clutching at a note whose value only he knows, ready to fish it out should things hit the fan as is the norm on Nairobi roads. Then? We moved on. As if nothing happened. The way we should move on after a break-up. See the lessons I was talking about?
But wait, the juicy gossip around – everyone is so yappy – might be a beautiful blight in these ugly petals of public transport. That’s especially if you don’t prefer ‘Maina and Kingangi’s Classic 105 radio talk show’ blaring full throttle from the speakers. The morning traffic at Jogoo Road normally progresses slowly like my school grades – sometimes seemingly on a downward trend when gun-totting red berets escorting an assortment of firearms from the airport try to create a path out of nowhere in the jam-packed streets. Like always, they succeed, but leave everyone struggling out of the roadside drainage trenches they’d forced everyone into.
I decided to strike up a convo with the white nymphet;
Hi. You’re really the object of your doggy’s wild stares!
Hahaha, you’re jealous. I’m fine, you?
Me? Nope! I don’t do wild stares, I swear!
*of course i’m not sure about that*
Oh jeez! I meant ‘how’re you?’ Hahaha, playing clever though i see.
Makes two of us. Fine too. Just trying not to be the sticking sore thumb. Everyone’s yapping away aimlessly in here. Was there a memo? I’m Joe, you?
*i realise she’s wearing those leopard-print pants common with Eastlands chics; but i don’t judge her, because at least, this is not zebra-print*
*reminds me of that Stacy’s mum song*
… and she’s Diana. Don’t get stunned about the dog, I just love animals.
*referring to the bitch*
That explains the pants, yes?
Oh yeah, you’re so detective!
Nope, my ancestors loved leopard skin too. They used them as cloaks. A clansman once brought one home for his girlfriend’s birthday.
*thank you heavens for the source of my stories; Jupiter?*
Ah, really, they must’ve been quite fashion-savvy! 😀
Yeah, and their blood runs in my veins. I like your pants.
*I’m not sure i do, but at least she has pants and is not walking around naked like Adam and Eve before they knew ‘what’. Expect anything in this city*
Hadn’t seen that coming. Thank you!
*friend, wherever you are, please, always spread smiles like herpes*
So you’re going to the zoo? Where’re you taking Diana? Such wild stares!
Idiot! Hahaha, she’s slowly morphing into a guy i guess. Off to a friend’s graduation.
Yep. Got to spare enough time to garland her with wreaths like a Christmas tree and scare out those butterflies in her tummy with my camera flashes.
She soon learnt that I’m a writer cum blogger but didn’t allow the threesome selfies we did into any public post. Sorry. You know I’m just nice. I wanna keep friends :). Good thing is, i got invited, with a free ticket, to a friendly fund-raising polo game on Saturday afternoon. These are the babes who marveled at such games at Ngong Racecourse from such early years even before she could tell a donkey from a horse. Yes, it’s a first for me.
Such is my fate at traffic jams.
Big man then called to re-schedule our meet-up to 3pm in the afternoon. No qualms.
I alighted at KBS and bumped into Denno, an all time buddy who convinced me to join him to the ‘dark alley-place’ we both discovered recently for roho pan-fry with peppered water for it to swim in. We escorted it with brown ugali and similar-colored turungi to summarise our stories. In the morning? Yes! That’s what friends are for.
It’s past 3pm now. I’m seated at the lounge 6th floor Africa Re Centre, exchanging glances with my borrowed laptop, still waiting for the ‘Big Man’ who wants to talk ‘business’ with me. Looks like there’s work traffic in there. Let’s see how this unfolds.