I have always wanted to get to heaven, just like Enoch or Elijah. By the way do you know Enoch was Methuselah’s pap? He is a legend. He ascended to heaven without seeing a casket (God just took him away). How righteous! He is my icon
At the same time he fathered the Methuselah. The fellah who saw nine centuries without getting irritated or getting arrested for such rock-like living. What was this that this dude was waiting for? He wanted to live for a millennium without flinching about his greed. That is why we die so early, because the dude took away almost all our dream years, now we can’t afford to enjoy better days.
You know in Kenya, unlike the Whiteman’s country, we realize our dream as from 40s, when we have already lived three quarters of our lives. And you are suspicious of your death, and fearing that you might eat the sack having enjoyed your “youth”. To Methuselah, you were a kid for a century before you could hit puberty, get circumcised and become a man at the start of the third century. And you commence your youth till when you die.
I was talking of going to heaven. It involves doing God’s will and following His commands. Like wearing the full armour of strength of God, a breastplate of righteousness and following his commands. That is what motivates me to go to church.
When it comes to Saturday however, there is laziness that hits me. I am supposed to be in church by 10.30, latest. It’s the only day that I need an alarm to coerce me to wake up. So I set it at 8.30 am. It rings and you feel as if you had been to bed for only two minutes. So you take a swig, dive into the blankets while telling yourself “only 5more minutes”. Only to wake up an hour later, promising yourself that it is still early. Again you yawn loudly as if dispelling your fears- like Kipchoge in position 20 aiming to be the first on the finishing line. He keeps assuring himself, let me waiting for the last round and i will spring like an antelope. He ends up being the second last to go past the finish line.
But anyway I arrived in church, at a few minutes past 11. In our church I noticed that people have this nasty habit. They can ogle at you till the energy in your knees fails you and the knees start to buckle almost sending you to the ground. Its a bad habit. They stop listening to the pastor and unleash their attention to you.
As a young man you would like to sit next to a hot girl. And this is where ushers make a mistake. They will direct you to an empty seat. On your right, an old mama, sleeping and drooling, on your left, an old chap with a rugged bible that he can’t read. So you get enslaved reading the scriptures for him from your I pad or phone. He again wants you to explain to him how you transferred his bible to your phone. You just don’t want to get irked and tell him, “duuude, we are in the 21st century.” Which of course won’t make a meaning. And he will probe more;’ tell me more about this 21st century thing’.
The sole reason for you being there is to listen to your preacher for spiritual nourishment. But these neighbours
of your can’t give you peace to draw closer to your God.
Its similar to boarding a long distant bus, tram, train or a plane. You can never sit near someone beautiful or handsome. Its just the law of nature. If you do, you suddenly realize that you forgot to brush your teeth and your mouth stinks, or that you lost your voice, or that day was a bad one, you are ‘shrubbing’ from morning to noon. Like this chic who I asked for her contact on my way somewhere and started “silo sefen”.
Deep inside my heart, ‘ Oh no! Not another one again!’ Eventually I deleted the contact after getting off the train.
So the law of nature does not grant you what you desire. You board a train or bus or plane for that case, you know where your seat is reserved. You can’t switch seats because mayhem may arise and your flight disqualified; and of course find your ass in the disciplinary department. In the Kenyan cells, if you are lucky enough you buy some tea and escape the filthy taste of the cells.
Once you take your seat its when you decide to explore your environment. And your neighbours do not seem to be worried at all. Its as if they are used to this stuff, so they are grinning at you. Look, to your left is an old pap with breathing problems, your right us a momma with a little kid, who immediately starts to call you uncle. The mother is smiling at you when her is making a ‘new friend’.
At first this looks lovely, not until it becomes a practical joke. You take out your phone to at least read something to keep yourself busy from the mess. It starts well, until your ‘new nephew’ gets attacked by demons. He comes for your phone.
‘Uncle Nipe, nipee uncle’. Small wails can be detected from a far. You know you hate it when he starts crying so you lock it and hand it over.
Immediately it lands in his mouth, saliva all over it. You feel like swinging your arm and snatching it from him, but again this sounds like a terrible idea. But you do it anyway, and he goes haywire. A thin shrill of cry fills the bus and everyone is looking at you with wide eyes and ugly faces which suggest ” you fool give the kid the toy. Thought you are a grown up. Stop the bullshit!”
And you hand it over, and mummy takes it and hands it over to her kid. She cares for the happiness of her kid… (Curses, tutafika saa ngapi? Fuck! Damn! Why can’t the kid take mommy’s phone and leave mine alone?).
Sometimes you sit hear this lady who sleeps and hear head takes your shoulder like a pillow. You cannot shift because she will just snore even louder and move closer. More offensive is that she will drool on your expensive shirt……
And the other yappy guy who can’t let you have peace. He is telling you about his life, kids, wife, and his nasty neighbour. You just decide to sleep and forget it all. But then a burning tale pushes him and he pokes you to awaken you and tell you about his sick dog. How he loves it and how it has been his only friend since they divorced. First of all you dislike pets like shit, secondly you don’t give a crap about his dog and thirdly you wanna to sleep. You just want to get out of that plane. Away from this old professor who wants to read a whole book to you.
I wonder why it has to be so. That you can’t sit next to a good-looking person when travelling, at least to give you some hope for tomorrow. I don’t want to sit near the lady with a lot of kids, and end up carrying her toddler all the way only to be rewarded by the kid urinating on my suit. Why can’t you have the kid in pampers????
I was this way in church. Luckily enough the preacher, whom the Holy Spirit tells of my tribulations in there, finishes his sermon in good time and I swing for the door, breathing heavily. Only that the mzee had my Ipad on him, and had to get back in there and have it.
That Saturday after my cousin offers to buy us lunch at Corner (not the famous Kona mbaya, this is Kona mzuri). He has a pregnant wife who dictates everything he has to do. We head there, five of us, in his sleek BMW M5 SPORT. We get fries and chicken for each one of us and set down to eat. You know how you can eat when it is raining. You waste the time with more and more eating. We took two hours devouring these fries that make my stomach look like a botched one.
Later on we get invited for a dinner by Ababu Namwamba at carnivore. What a bad time? I mean we ate lunch at 4 and he wants us to have dinner at 7.
Anyway, you don’t decline to such free dinners. They are ones that you can’t say no to even if you had an elephant for lunch at 5pm. Na sisi tukajibeba uko.
Despite the graft scandal that is surrounding him, you can’t feel it when you are with him. He is damn intelligent and runs his life anyway with a simple smile and cheerfulness.
Well we find him in a bar, one inside simba saloon. Before him was a glass of some drink. I almost told him, ‘ introduce me to whatever you are drinking’; because it suddenly dawned on me that I am a teetotaler. I just loved the way he sipped it, like it was some pure gold, down his throat. I was just envious. Damn! He is in what I closely relate to a sleeping suit but its a relaxant gear that makes him look like John Cena in a bathing suit with glasses on…that’s a nasty joke though.
I only went there with only one motive, to destroy the menu. And when he looks at my face he immediately understands it. So he directs us to some lounge where he had booked us a table. He asked us to go there and have drinks…with us (people from Nyanza, drinks might mean two things. Chai ugali, ama chai).
One courteous waiter is assigned to us.
‘Hello, what can I get you?’
You never imagine that this can be one of the hardest questions till you get to a restaurant and fumble with words, end up embarrassing yourself and asking for a menu, which is another time borrowing gimmick. Thirty minutes later we are going down and up the menu looking for what looks close or familiar to what we may know.
Finally we agree to ask for these drinks-cocktails, and an escort of beef burger which is escorted by fries. The waiter stood there till we settled on what our stomachs were familiar with.
10mins later brought the cocktails, which were more or less dilute mango+passion juice. In fact that was the impression that i left with, that their juice was really worth 50bob,just because of the name of the place, and not the three hundred which as well I would have had Fanta madiaba for a whole week and half.
Mind you these people in the hotel business know how to hook you up with soups and drinks, calling them appetizers instead of ‘ this is a strategy to get you full before the real meal’. This happens especially in big hotels with buffets. It happened to me severally in Sarova Stanley until I stopped taking their mushroom soups and croissants etc.
In fact I tell them that i have mushroom soup allergy, and with that I head straight to the kuku with two massive plates. Afadhali uninyime kitu chochote lakini si kuku. And I take to myself three chicken thighs and some parts. This is topped up with a mountain of ugali and I get the hell out of there my money well-used.
A quick lesson- know what you going to eat (if you are going to a restaurant) before you sit down. Tuache aibu ndogo ndogo. If you are a good friend of the menu, that is equally advisable. You will get in there and spend one hour deciding on what to eat, you end up choosing what you did not want, or what you don’t like because the name sounded so sexy (do not eat what you have no info about just because it has an Alehandro name), or worse still hop out from that joint after having wasted 1 good hour studying the menu like an exam paper, without attempting any quiz and you give up on school.
Half an hour later they bring us hot towels. I didn’t know what they were for. The held them with a pair of tongs to each one of us. I didn’t know what to do with them, whether to scrub my face with it for such a long wait, wipe my mouth from the few juices that landed on my lips and left stains, or just holding it in my palms and enjoying the warmth, it was raining outside you know and I had no sweat on. I look at everyone else. Just then I learn they are basically a way of preserving water and soap. What a classic strategy. This also means tap costs are eliminated.
I wiped my hands vigorously with the moist towel for five good minutes before handing it over. I did not belief that they would clean my hands. I had to because there were no taps. That’s a tip to those wishing to open restaurants soon. Do not struggle with water bills. But taking 30-40minutes before you serve a customer is not an excellent tip.
And people from Nyanza and Western have a similarity. We dine with our hands. Mambo ya vijiko na visu that is a misplaced practical joke. You will place them on the table and when you come back they still remain untouched. Zinamaliza appetite. That is why we have hands.
And these burgers and fries come. They are huge with a lot of stuff sandwiched in there. On of my cousins works at Artkaffé so at least she guided me through some of the stuff. There are some thingamajigs that people apply on burgers, with sour, bitter tastes.
Poor me. With my gluttonous syndrome I applied what I thought looked good in plenty only to realize that it is chili. I ask if there is anyone who uses chili so that we can exchange.
The only one person who eats chili is seated across the table tearing down a humongous fish, I don’t take fish sometimes and she does not eat bread at all. I am no chili guy. So i try diluting it with a lot of tomato sauce and juice but the effect is so tormentous that i cannot stand it.
And my cousin picks on my beard. I don’t know what is wrong with my well kept beard. While can’t she ask my other cousin who is married? So I set my record on her straight.
” It is time we respect our differences. Whatever you don’t like about me let it be, just learn to live with it because its my heard. Unless you are my girlfriend don’t tell me your crap. You can’t change me, ever.’
She gets irritated but my point gets home. That’s the bottom line.
I have never told her what to do with her body. She spends like an hour before a mirror applying make-up, but I have never talked about it, she is too spiritual, I listen to all her stories (even when they crack my nerves), I listen to her music, even when it makes me sick, she doesn’t get things fast, but I always explain them to her even if its for an entire day, and I never complain. And so on.
It is because I respect our differences. That way I hardly have any trouble with her or anyone else. I argue less and listen more. But she is a girl you know. Imagining of things and trying to model you like they would have liked her man to be.
Point is, I am not your man. Do not feel sorry for my beard…..or ass for that matter.
Then Ababu, who has been having a little chat with an ‘importanter’ pal whose been keeping him here, shows up. What does he say?
“This is criminal! This is criminal!”
For a minute I just get confused. I forget my name for a while. I was having my second last bite on that spoilt meal of a beef burger. I take one sweep with my eyes on the tables, they were fully packed. Its like we were in an eating competition.
Everyone else goes silent for a while. We wonder. Personally my drink thought comes back, damn! We were supposed to be ravishing drinks down here. I thought the chap has gone mad for seeing all those dishes on the table.
“He is defending his pocket,” i thought. It is not the first time we have done this injustice to him.
Then he says
“This is carnival, you don’t come here to eat fries. You eat nyama choma. That’s why its called carnival.”
That hits me really well. It makes me grin. And the tension gets off and I resume eating as all that time nlikuwa nimezubaa envisioning how I will be moping carnivore for a whole week.
My married cousin rescues us and says, “we just from church and the pastor told us to go slow on meat.”
Ooh,now I get you. But we can do more of this next time. And next time we doing roast beef”
“Yeah, sure.” And gobbled the rest of the burger down my throat.
“We can do this in a couple of weeks time, yeah?”
We all nod.
“Well, it was a pleasure seeing you again. Just want to wish you a great evening.”
Just then a waiter who has been serving us shows up. The waiter says
“I am good. Do this, just get the total all these food and get me the bill. I am at the bar.”
The short waiter replies
I haven’t seen tall waiters. They are all short guys with a bald head and clean shaven chin. Are these the requirements of being one? Or is it that all short guys love being waiters? Anyway it is good that way for me because I am a tall guy, and they always refer me to as “sir.” Though my cousin hates them. But she is a girl you know.
Short guys fear tall guys. And for that matter my height will force them to treat me with utter courtesy and respect. Who doesn’t’ want that? I know you do too.
Some of the stuff that happened in between is classified stuff. Just concentrate on this first.
Iyo nyam chom inanukia kwa umbali.