Sometimes when everyone has gone to sleep, you take some wine as you reflect about life. Because what is life if you cannot reflect upon it? Would it be worth living if you cannot afford a moment to look at it – life, and try to make sense of it? And because life is supposed to be enjoyed, you cannot stoop low to take wine in a small glass – you take a goblet. Because life should be eaten with a big spoon. No? But you also realize that life is a very complicated issue. Though some folks would encourage you that life is simple (by the way when they say live a simple life, what exactly do they mean?), upon sipping the hard stuff twice, you come to the realization that life is actually very complicated. For example you cannot just walk out of your house at night to stroll in the open in the pretext of watching the stars – you will either lose your life or your wallet, or both. And also because it has rained, you may not make it for the morning run, otherwise the weight of the shoes plus mud would not allow you – you realize that where you live is not leafy at all, only a suburb. Those who live in the leafy suburbs have well paved roads and walkways. And you tell yourself life is simple? Think again.
What is this life?
Why do people live double (or even triple) lives?
How do they walk around with a mask such that you cannot tell their true self? This is an art and a science, or so I should guess. Or is it merely bravado?
You see, sometimes (often times) we make our lives too complicated for nothing. We carry on our shoulders stress and concerns of issues and situations we may never solve in our entire time on planet earth. Like some not.so.funny (and unacceptable) behaviors you come across in your daily undertakings;
It’s on Friday evening. The roads in the city are clogged. It happens to be an end-month Friday. Everyone is loaded – at least those who are on paycheck (majority actually). There is no way out. You are there with them. Not because you only fuel your automobile in the first week of the month. No. you are always on that road, behind the wheel every day, whether its end month or not. You are proud of what you do. You are not pretending to be an entrepreneur owning a small kiosk at the middle of nowhere in town but owning a guzzler worth an apartment in Kileleshwa. What form of deception?
As you sit in the traffic gridlock and reflect on how the government is taking a lifetime to expand the roads, you see this stunning lady driving a red car. Overlapping. She looks like she is from drinking blood – what with her red lipstick? Where is she hurrying to? She is flashing her lights in the process. There is no traffic cop in the vicinity – what is it with people and discipline? We cannot do what is right unless we are forced to? A few yards from where you are, there is this huge ditch caused by these contractors expanding the road. There are no markings to warn the drivers (overlappers mostly, because how would you end up in that ditch unless you are outside of the road?). The lady in red car and adorning red lipstick ends up in that ditch, though not badly hurt, but the car has to be towed to the garage.
The traffic starts to move, you look at the lady. You don’t know whether to sympathize with her or not. She will probably not attend the function she was rushing to.
The red-lipstick-lady again. With her red car on the road. She is not flashing the lights today. You guess she learnt the lesson after the car ended up in the ditch. She is following the lane with such discipline you could recommend her for an award for the most disciplined driver in Nairobi. She is minding her own business. You realize the mechanic did a fantastic job. The car was restored to its former beauty. There is this Jamaa behind her car, he has one of these loud automobiles you just wonder whether he means that everyone switches off their music to listen to his hard rock. His exhaust can easily frighten you, making you jump out of your seat thinking a bomb has been dropped near you.
The mistake he makes is to come too close to the red car. He scratches the rear bumper of the lady’s car. Just a slight scratch. Those which the mechanic would easily fix without a sweat. The lady takes her time, puts on the hazard, removes her headphones and walks out. You can tell she is not in the mood to listen or engage with the loud guy. She does not even inspect the damage. She goes to the guy’s jugular, rubbing it in that the car cost her a fortune and that he has damaged it already. The guy is clearly rooting for an out-of-the-police settlement. The lady can hear none of it. She quickly takes her phone, calls her boyfriend. Her boyfriend works in SA. As if he would fly to the country that moment to sort the mess. What is it with ladies calling their boyfriends and (or) husbands at the accident scene before police or the mechanic? She takes around ten minutes in this call. It’s an international call you know, no need for further emphasis. She insists the police must come to ascertain who is on the wrong. All this time, the jam is piling behind them and stretching all the way to Kirinyaga. But the lady gives no hoot. Police first.
Finally, after an eternity, one cop comes around, inspects the car and informs the lady that it would be a waste of time and precious government resources to take this incident farther, that they need to settle it there and then. The lady accepts monetary settlement. The guy parts with two thousand shillings. Everyone is happy. Traffic eases up.
You arrive at your destination – a joint somewhere in the city centre and park your auto. You realize there is a crowd of onlookers and busy-bodies gathered at the corner of the parking lot. Out of curiosity you join them. Surprise. The red-lipsticked lady again. She was trying to reverse-park, only to ram on the wall so forcefully, the rear bumper is totally damaged, and you notice that the tail lights are knocked off completely. You take your mental calculator and estimate that it would cost her not less than twenty thousand shillings to restore the car to its former glory. You go away, shaking your head vigorously and remind yourself that karma is real.
Then you want to sell your car on the strength of being previously lady-owned? Give us a break.
This has to stop. Really.
Two cars are involved in a fatal road accident along Mombasa road. A drunk driver, who happened to escape the roadblock erected by the authorities by using panya routes, is the cause of the accident. But today let’s focus on the accident not his drinking problem. He has lost consciousness and apparently dies after sometime. The other vehicle’s occupants are stable though they have sustained serious injuries.
There is already a crowd gathering at the scene. There is the sound of sirens in the distance, meaning that someone has already called the ambulance. You sigh with relief. We still got some people who are human – you later come to realize that one of the occupants in the car which was hit is the one who called the ambulance. And you feel as if you have had a handful of sand put in your mouth and forced to chew.
As you edge closer to the crowd, to your shock, you see two young men, no, three young men break into the second car and ransack it of any valuables. They go ahead and steal the wallet, watch, jacket, belt, shoes and chain of the dead man before rigor mortis sets in. You are now literally chewing that handful of sand (in your imagination), you feel bile rising from your abdomen. You feel like throwing up.
You walk away.
Why rob a dead man. He who has no resistance to offer? And when you put on those shoes, do they remind you of something? When someone asks you where you bought that watch, do you look them in the eye and tell them that you acquired it from a dead man? You robbed a dead man. How can you still walk around with dignity? Is there any dignity in robbing a dead man? Is there?