Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Silly things

From time to time, a guy does things that he knows he shouldn't. Much more frequently than he would like actually. I think this one is down to the human condition [rather than old age].

So I'm talking to the receptionist, to get permission to see the boss and whatnot. I offer my commiserations for the fact that she's still working while apparently [some] other people have closed shop. Talked to another guy who's already started the holiday and where the office won't be open again until the 10th. I thought such things only happen when you have blizzards, floods, earthquakes and the like. Anyway. She asks me whether we [my workplace] have closed already. This puts me on the spot somewhat. I'm still not sure whether I'm unemployed, a consultant, or an umeployed consultant. Things should be clearer once I get the epiphany I've been waiting for and get a company name. On this particular occasion, I'm working for myself and I don't close shop.

Enough with the chit chat. I get ushered in to see the guy I came to see and soon enough I'm done. A bit more small talk. It must have been a really slow day cause there was no one else around. As it is the boss comes into the room and all of a sudden the situation feels a bit inappropriate. The boss gives some instructions and heads back to his compartment. By this time I'm halfway to the door. One hand on the door actually.

It's at this point that my mind takes leave and I turn back. Walk to the desk and apparently ask if I can get a card or other form of contact information. Ostensibly so that I can call the place at some point in the future. It goes without saying that I had no such intention. But I wasn't bold enough to say "can I have your number". Not right away anyway. As it is, you can only dither for so long. So I go ahead and ask for her number. I get a look that says "seriously?". It also says "what for?", "can I say no?" and a bunch of other things. As it is, it was too late. The words were out the mouth. My senses returned and immediately reminded me why I shouldn't be typing in a brand new name into my phonebook as I happened to be doing. A couple of smss, if she actually replies. A couple of calls maybe. All in all, a week or two at best and that will be that. Oh well.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

You're up.

Back in the day, a post would almost write itself. Not the case anymore, I guess the fire, if there was one, is gone. So I will chronicle today's events much like a scientist keeping track of the developments of a lab rat:
In the AM - The good doctor, Sam and another fellow had derailed me the previous night, so I was lazy to wake up. I was supposed to be in the meet by 11AM. Not one to refuse beer, I went drinking anyway. The folks are impatient and calling every fifteen minutes. I speed down Thika road, on the lookout for cops. That stretch between Thika and Kenol is pure driving heaven.
In the Boondocks: - Arrived. People want to yell at me but are not quite sure how to go about it. So they shake their heads and business is at hand. Promptly, we are shuffled into a line, and the women start dancing. Its like my graduation all over again. I am pulled from the line and asked to honk. Now I am confused. This is traumatizing.
All my cousins, those above 18 anyway, have children. They were themselves children about 3 years ago when i was back in this place. I look at the setup of the place and wonder where they were having all that sex. There are four buildings, their parents' in one compound. Perhaps in the thickets somewhere. I sit there wondering how a 21 year old fellow, with no job, no education, could possibly have a 'wife' and two children. Who will feed and educate the little bastards? May be thats the problem, I overthink things. Anyway, under the circumstances, I look dated and over the hill, like someone who is waiting for a bus that is not coming. There are puzzling and questioning expressions on faces all over.
The speeches, and long prayers commence. Is there some school where people are taught to speak like this? Obtuse kikuyu idioms and long winded sentences - I think in English, I will never be able to pull this off - and the worst is coming. Me and my bandit brothers, we are pulled in front to say hi to people. I barely manage to say my name before my head goes totally blank - after which I keep quiet. Now, all eyes are on me, I can feel a temper welling up ...luckily my bro has been in situations like this before and mumbles a few things and people laugh. Afraid that we'll embarass the clan by our inability to speak kikuyu without sneaking English, Swahili or Sheng in, we are asked to sit down.
Then I am dragged into an inner chamber, where the last leg of my old lady's dowry business is being carried out. Someone boldly exclaims that the reason this is being done is to 'clear' the way for me. I would much rather someone held a gun to my head and asked me to marry then. More speeches. I am mightily uncomfortable. More winded speeches. Time stands still.

Evening is here and it appears as though things are going to wind up. What a relief. I am angling towards the exit but somehow I keep getting stopped. An uncle manages to corner me and starts an inquisition. It is a lecture/scalding that I am having little patience for.......
"0.5 once you found a job there you never visit" ....the jamaa starts in a sing-songy tone ..."all you do is stay in Nairobi" ...... I am seeing lips moving and musing what would happen if I placed my fist there.
What do you want?
With a lot of effort I barely manage to mask the angry edge out of my voice which I am told of several fundraisers .....aaaaaaaaaahhh,...clever bugger. Or stupid, depending on how you look at it. I have no qualms about giving people money to shut them up. If only he had said it sooner. Alas after the guy palmed the one K, I was given the green light to go. It is a well organized charade, you can't depart unless you are parted with some of your currency.

Goodbyes. Soon I am on the highway. I lost count of the times I was asked 'where my "wife" was'. At one point, I replied to find me half a million bucks and I will bring a wife, and if no one can help, to relax then till I do things my way. More of the same around Christmas time. It is a pointless question many of my single agemates will be fielding in the next two weeks. Bring on the liquor. To forgetting, or enduring, till next year around the same time. Is the alcohol law still in effect? Happy holidays.