ADULTING

Phone is off. I have just come from watching 4 continuous hours of Television. I would have continued had this headache not interrupted the program. As I sat on that couch, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. Guilty that colleagues my age are turning heads, gaining work experience, getting the hang of Nairobi traffic and here I am, seated, thoroughly enjoying an episode of WAGS. I can’t postpone writing this article anymore. It’s been in my head since April. Yes. We are in October. Don’t look at the screen like that. I admit it, I Procrastinate- I am a work in progress.

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It hit me hard. It was like swallowing a badly cooked piece of mutura. My body felt heavy and too wide. The night became darker and suddenly the walls were too close. The air was thick and heavy. The slow yet creeping realisation that truly, I am an adult. For real. Achana na hio ya 18 years. That one just gets you excited that you can booze up and well…yeah booze up. Legally. Your parents as always are there to remind you that ukishikwa na karao ujipange. They’ll come to your rescue…eventually. Oh yes, and vote. I remember receiving my ID card. And why do the photos end up looking like a mug shot? Like that day you were charged with attempt to fart in business meeting (True story btw). Those photos are horrendous. I’ve had a few supporters, like that day I was getting into an office building and the askari at the entrance asks me “Na huyu kweli ni wewe madam?” I digress.

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18 to 21 years is a legal recognition of the fact that you are old enough to zurura, make independent and hopefully wise decisions, but still a dependant. The world is forgiving. You are still allowed to ask for bus fare, money for your hair, clothes , koroga festival etc.  I’m talking about the part B of adulting. The one where you know longer have the excuse of going to class. The one where your parents start to wonder what you are still doing in their house? Why you are so ungrateful as not to even bring a Ksh 12 packet of salt when you come home. When they demand the ksh 20 you got as change after they sent you on their errands. You rightfully in their eyes are a no-wage worker as and until when you land your first job.

Nowhere is safe. You go for an event and meet your classmates dressed up in suits.  The furthest in conversation you can go is encouraging you on your natural hair journey. Every relative you will ever meet will always ask “You haven’t started working?” A dear relative was so gracious to rephrase and ask “Bado unafagiafagia?”

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Adulting. The slow metamorphosis from ‘sista’ to ‘madam’. Walking down biashara street and everyone wants you to look at their choice of cerelac. I came to a new realisation. Somehow as a young female fresh from uni, ready to conquer the world, show and prove yourself and work on your dreams, I am perceived as ripe wife material. Like the rule book is school-marriage-career. Unfortunately, I have had a few encounters where this stone-age thinking is encouraged. Case in point. Attend a conference with my friend, stand at an insurance booth. The guy was very friendly and had a very warm personality so we decided to indulge him. Yaps on about this and the other policy. Smart chap seeing our expression decides to change tact and ask a few questions. We readily communicate that we are awaiting graduation. Face changes. I kid you not, from this jovial grin to a very contemplative look. And says ‘’ Word of advice, Don’t wait too long. It is always good to start these things early.’’ What things pray tell? “It’s good to start your career when settled in a family” Sema feminist bells kulia. This. guy. must. be. joking. Excuse me?? Is there a black hole somewhere swallowing men alive? Do you see a fat neon sign on my forehead saying “Ripe and ready”???? You must be kidding me. Anyway, back to it; that is a different blog post.

I’m awake and realise that truly, I am an adult. No more cha mama. Nobody cares whether I was successful in finding (x) or are still looking for (y). If I went to my dream school or are yet to wake up from that dream. I have met this being called society and are slowly acquainted with the swipe i.e. the up-down look that determines the duration of their audience with me. Ni mimi na Mungu wangu.

The chronicles of adulating. Part two awaits.

MA-THREE PT2

matatu culture

Kange, work out a system with the dere to slow down the vehicle so that I have enough time to board. I don’t want to chase you in traffic. I am not training for a marathon.  Keep calling me sist-ah. Don’t switch to madam because I have not aged yet. And then, I can see you holding my change so I don’t understand why you are telling me to wait. 50bob? You are much better than that. I pray you start handling billions so that you do not cling onto my 50bob. And for goodness sake, kama hufiki mwisho, niambie na mapema. I intended to board one matatu not two.

Dere, please explain to me why you would switch from Boyz II Men and put ‘Nasadiki’. Ata kama ni promoting local and urban hits.  Barabara ni zetu. I am not in such a hurry. Punguza speed and stop driving over pedestrian walkways.

Sir, I am not interested in knowing whether they accepted the Ksh100, 000 offer you were giving them nor if the foreman amefika kazini. You don’t hear me airing the fact that I have refused to pay my okoa jahazi debt of 250 bob.

Excuse me madam. I am not going to close the window because it is 1000 degrees Celsius outside. Dust? I would rather get home a bit powdered than well-done. Mama, woi. You have three kids and you want them to stand in the little spaces that the matatu has to offer. Next time come with some extra fare. Or risk them rebelling to project X. Extra fare vs Projects X. Pick a struggle.

Sista, waist 34, hips 44. Your bhajias are making me nauseated. Hunger? I am trying to stifle a fart so who has the bigger mountain to climb? Plus it is not very nice to gossip Nancy cause she’s with your ex, Johnny. They are probably talking about your love of bhajias right now. Play candy crush or something. Stop wasting your credit.

Brathe, I am not going to give you my number. I lost my sim card. Yes, even as I WhatsApp on my Samsung Galaxy. Wonders of the smart phone I tell you. Be a bit considerate pia. Wacha kusumbua kange to give you change. You are also unfair by giving him Ksh1000 atoe 20bob when we all paid exact. Tulia and listen to DJ S-I-M-P-L-E S-I-M-O-N

MA-THREE

It’s all about position. If you get on, you have to go all the way. Take a moment to think about it before you decide to do it. I’m talking about matatus. Do you want to join the stampede in securing the VIP seats? Or keep your cool and accept the leftovers. Broad categorisation here is that the VIP seats 1) Take the least time to get onto and get off 2) Do not turn you into a part time worker for the conductor by asking for fare from other passengers 3) Enough leg room. No. Heels not included. 3) Access and control to a window. This one criteria is really VVIP.

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The odds are in your favour that day and you land the seat  next to the window  on the two-seater that’s directly next to the conductor. It was a good sign that day when you used up the last three boxes of tissue just in time to watch your rival b**** colleague enter the washroom next.

Quick run through on seat positions. The two front seats next to the driver are great because they have the highest sense of privacy and first class view to the road carnage that is matatu driving. However, the one at the door gets the Oscar for fulfilling all the above criteria. The seat next to the driver’s loses because you have to look for ways to shift your thigh from the rub of the driver’s hand as he changes gear. Plus you’ll be the one to ask your fellow passenger for his fare in case they have those funny partition thingies. Oh and pass the newspaper while you’re at it.

The first three seats require the most calculation. Sit at the far window, you run the risk of disturbing your fellow passengers when you alight along the way. The middle one will roast your knees because that’s where all the engine heat is coming from. No leg room, sandwiched between two people. Woe unto you if one has mizigos they are taking to City Park that day. You’ll have to balance you’re already medium-rare knees with 30 heads of cabbage all the while trying to stifle a fart.

The seat next to the door fails because you become the mediator between the kange and the passengers next to the drivers. Plus you’ll keep getting off if the two passengers next to you are alighting before you. The balancing act still happens without the grill. My oh my. Oh yah…plus if the kange wants to make a quick buck, you’ll have to squeeze to allow half his ass some room as he adds more passengers hadi mfike mwisho.

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The seat next to the conductor gets and emmy. Here it matters what gender you are. If you are a lady, prepare for the kange to try his level best to get your number with promises of less fare the next time. The seat where you are is an Oscar nominee. You’ll have to disturb your fellow passenger when alighting. Then your co- assenger for some reason cannot find loose change to give to the kange. So she empties her bag like she’s looking for her lotto ticket number. A tampon falls out. That’s when you turn away your head pretending you don’t feel her elbow rubbing against your left boob, the bigger one, as she looks for the ugliest note to give to the conductor. They deserve it. So you urge her on through your silence. You also don’t want to admit to yourself that it feels kind of good. You can’t remember the last time anyone touched you. A hug is as far as it went. Those lifeless, forced, I-would-rather-shake-your-hand hugs that live you wondering if you should have just gotad instead of exposing a large surface area of your body to collecting sweat and dust.

The two seater immediately behind you has the same struggles. Minus the kange. Oh, plus control of the window. Damn. The seat behind the kange is also an Oscar nominee. You by Default become the river between the passenger at the back and the kange. Returning change and informing him of when they want to alight. Oh, rare occurrence, the boob incident may also happen in case that day he wants to give you a break.

 

Oh…we go to the three little piggies. I personally hate the three back row seats because they score a pass on the VIP criteria. Let’s start with the bearable piggy. The seat   behind the loner. It lands in my good graces because it has some leeway of getting out relatively easier compared to the rest. Unfortunately you have to make sure you’ve not just farted otherwise you’ll be dammed for ages,

The middle seat is also okay. Allows you to get off easily (Notice how important this is to me) again, sandwiched between two passengers, who keep shifting making you feel that maybe the tightness of your trousers lately and the cravings for Sonford/Arizona fries are takin their toll

Then there’s this seat. Manufactured from quite the sadists’ garage I tell you. No legroom, stuffy, no head room. It’s only saving grace is control of the window. Then you have to combat with some silly tyre that looks like it was gifted by Goliath. When you alight, your arse may rub against your co-passenger’s face. GEEZ!! That seat should be deconstructed for more useful things…a mini fridge perhaps? Increase customer service?

It’s all about position.