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This annoying 4pm rain!

April 30, 2012 4 comments

Last week, after we got stuck in traffic for hours, I witnessed a man of the cloth in his full clergy outfit burst into a fit of anger. I watched in disbelief as he started cursing furiously and hurling obscenities and at some point he started banging his head against the steering wheel, and only stopped after his biretta (that clerical hat) fell off revealing an awkward bald head. That’s how bad the situation gets when it decides to start raining at 4:30pm on a weekday.

There’s a worship song that goes something like ‘open the floodgates of heaven, let it rain…’ (Relax there fella I’m not about to get all evangelical on you). It’s just that someone seems to have taken the song literally. The floodgates of heaven have literally been opened! It’s been raining like crazy of late. Normally I do not mind this kind of weather, but when it starts interfering with my working hours it gets me a tad edgy.

Over the past week, the clouds have been caving in just when folks are about to call it a day. You know, that time when you’ve already lost focus and you just can’t wait for 5pm so you can get the hell out of the office. For most bachelors, it’s the time when we start brooding over what we’re going to have for dinner. It’s around this time when you realize the only food left in the fridge is raw tomatoes and you start weighing the options between cooking, buying fries or simply going Indomi. By the way is it just me or do all those noodles flavors taste the same? Anyway, when it starts pouring at 4:30pm it means you’re going to have to put in some overtime. In my line of work, as long people can spot me, issues are bound to arise. I’ve had to put in a lot of pro bono work over the past week. And I do not like it one bit.

The traffic! The traffic is simply nerve-wracking. As much as I would like to get melodramatic and curse this traffic to the dark depths of hell, I can’t because someone might sadistically sell me out. The truth is, traffic jam doesn’t really affect me much. My workplace is not that far from my residence and I go against traffic in the evenings. In fact, the first paragraph about Mr. Preacher going all Slim Shady is actually a hoax. But you gotta admit, it made one heck of an intro.

Regardless, I’m sure there are folks out there that are about to lose their minds. When you realize you’ve only covered 10 meters in one hour, you would be excused for going a little nuts. There are probably quite a number of steering wheels with dents on them as a result of brutal head-butts from frustrated drivers. Or even bite-mark engravings.

The traffic jam is a crisis. In telecommunication we have monitoring tools that alert us when shit is not right – like when the service goes down. If there’s a curse-meter up in heaven it must be really beeping and flashing between the hours of 4pm and 10pm on weekdays. The shits and f***s must be on an all time high.

And someone better explain to me how exactly rain triggers traffic jams. I mean do cars suddenly germinate when it starts pouring? Or does the biting cold cause the roads to shrink? I just do not get it. I believe these are the same cars we have on the roads every other day. Anyway, worry no more good people. I have come up with a few ways of tackling this predicament. You might want to thank me later.

The most obvious solution would be to work from home. That way you will be able to get working on time and even put in extra hours in the evening. Traffic will no longer be a menace. I mean, for years we’ve been showing so much loyalty toward our work and it’s high time our employers proved that they too trust us. If there’s home-schooling, why can’t there be home-working?

If the big boss does not agree to our first solution, then you will have to come together as colleagues and do a petition to the HR asking him to adjust the working hours. Think about it, there’s no way one can be productive at work if he/she only had four hours of sleep. People are just sitting around staring blankly at their computer screens and not getting much work done. You would think the sandwich they had for breakfast had marijuana leaves instead of bacon. There’s this colleague of mine who fell asleep in the washrooms while doing his thing. True story. Ok traffic might not explain why he got home at 3am last Thursday but still the HR doesn’t need to know the details. It makes sense to have people work from morning to lunch hours. That way people will get home in good time and get a good night’s sleep. Everyone will be happy.

Speaking about getting home in the wee hours of the morning, last Friday I found myself among folk that were passing time while waiting for the traffic to clear. Of course passing time involved having a drink or two. It’s always a drink or two right? I am yet to come across a sincere drinker who says, “hey guys how about we check into a bar and indulge till like 2am then blame it on the traffic?” Anyway being the nice guy that I am, I empathized with my colleagues and agreed to stay behind.

Someone suggested we head to the nearby Shooters and dips bar in Panari. I choked but still got into the car. It turned out to be quite an insightful night. Word of advice: If you get a chance of hanging out with the big shots, take it. The counsel you get from these guys is priceless. You will never get it at your local.

This brings me to solution number three: When it starts raining in the evening, dash into the nearest pub, order a drink and just chill. Nothing like a cold one after a hard day’s work. You even get to watch the news while at it. Trust me, you will feel so much better. Even though it might not be Friday, don’t restrain yourself too much. The point is being unfit for work the next day. So if shots are going at 100bob, throw down a couple. Those offers don’t come often. If there’s nice music, feel free to loosen your tie and hop onto the dance floor and get groovy. The next day your legs will feel like you were tackling Mt. Longonot. But that’s the whole point. There’s a good chance your boss will notice and release you early.

If worst comes to worst, just fake a fit as soon as you get back from lunch. Make sure your boss is around before you throw yourself to the ground. Then when you’ve regained ‘consciousness’ tell him/her you suffer from Astheosporosis – a rare condition that attacks Asheostropic people when they get rained on… or get stuck in traffic for long hours. Then cross your fingers he doesn’t look it up on google.

I got you back folks. One of those strategies is bound to work. Try them out and see for yourself. Until next week, have a wet one.

Categories: Nonsense

LENNY (PART III)

April 23, 2012 7 comments

When I wrote the first part of Lenny I never planned to come up with a sequel. But there are a few readers that loved it so much they relentlessly insisted on a continuation. I therefore came up with the second part and although I intended to end the story there, I couldn’t manage to wrap it up. It recently occurred to me that I could do a story on Lenny at least once a month and see where it goes. Fans, here is part three.

When Valentine said that she was glad she had joined Lenny for a drink that evening, he took it as a casual compliment. He simply grunted as he emptied a beer bottle into his glass. But when he turned towards Valentine, her eyes were fixed on him. There was an air of sultriness in them. It’s like she was looking into his eyes, but not quite staring. That’s when Lenny realized that her compliment was not a whimsical one. Words deserted him. His mouth remained agape. Her soul-penetrating eyes seemed to lure him towards her. Her slightly parted lips were inviting. He was enchanted.

It all started earlier that day when Lenny phoned Valentine at lunch hour. She sounded downcast citing that she was having a bad day at work. She jestingly said that the devil had possessed her boss and he was giving her hell. Lenny told her that he had a brilliant idea that would help relieve all that stress. It involved buying her a drink after work.

She agreed, almost half-heartedly.

After lunch, the three hours between two and five seemed overstretched. Lenny would glance at his watch every few minutes. He didn’t get much work done that afternoon. He was utterly distracted. At some point he gave up on trying to be productive and resigned to assessing bars. Despite the fact that it was a bad time of the month, he settled on an upscale one. Being a Wednesday, overcrowding was not likely to be an issue. He simply wanted a bar and restaurant with a welcoming, warm setting. Once decided, he texted Valentine the name of the place and said he would be waiting for her at the balcony.

At quarter to 5pm, he couldn’t take it anymore. He snuck out of the office and drove to the rendezvous which was only a few blocks from Valentine’s workplace. Half an hour later, he was there. He walked through the restaurant on the ground floor toward a flight of stairs, went up and took a sit at a table on the balcony. An attendant approached him and he asked for his favorite beer. He then took out his phone and called Valentine. She said she was submitting a report then she would be on her way.

Lenny was excited. He had not seen her since the encounter at the supermarket one and a half months ago. He called her frequently but he never once asked to see her. Perhaps, the nasty incidence at the restaurant still haunted him. That evening, he consoled himself with the fact that impromptu plans always worked out well for him. He gazed down at the bustling streets hoping to spot his date from a distance. His mind raced as he tried to picture how she would look like.

Twenty minutes later, he spotted her from a distance as she walked briskly towards the bar. Even from afar, she looked elegant. She was in a pantsuit, stiletto heels and a trench coat that she had left open. A coach bag hang on her left shoulder. Lenny spotted men turning for a second glance as she walked by nonchalantly. He broke a smile.

Her face lightened up when she saw him. He stood up as she walked towards him and took her in a warm embrace. The fragrance of her perfume was subduing. She placed her handbag on the table and proceeded to take off her coat. He realized he should have been the one to take it off. But he would have many more chances to impress her as the evening progressed.

As they both took their seats, Lenny jokingly said that he hoped Valentine had not set her boss’ office on fire before leaving the workplace. He said he didn’t want any cops interrupting their evening. She let out a hearty laughter before saying that the thought had crossed her mind. She then asked him if he knew any hit man she could hire.

Whenever Lenny was out on a date, he had a goal in mind. His only goal was to take the girl to bed within the shortest time possible. Every statement that came from his mouth was tailored towards achieving this target. He would create a whole new persona in a bid to seduce his date. He would brag about things he had and those that only existed in his dreams. He never meant anything he said and feigned interest in his dates.

However, on this particular night the only mission he had was to spend time with Valentine. Watching her enjoy herself melted his heart. As much as he wouldn’t show it, every time Valentine burst out laughing he was tempted to perform the Windeck dance. Whenever she spoke, he would listen attentively and ask follow up questions. Even when she talked about her cat Tommy. All in all, Valentine was charming and she spoke with conviction. Listening to her talk was sweet music to Lenny’s ears.

By 9pm, the rain was coming down in sheets. Streetlamps illuminated the raindrops resulting in a spectacular spectacle. The ambiance at the balcony was serene. The music was not so loud as to impede conversation, but was loud enough for a little head bumping. The air was fresh and unadulterated. A light breeze caused a tingling sensation as it grazed the cheeks. Lenny had chosen the ideal spot.

It was all going smoothly. Valentine and Lenny were cherishing each other’s company. She was seated on his left with her face turned towards him and her chin resting on her palm, not as an expression of poignancy, but in an enthralled fashion. Lenny’s entire body was turned towards her. They shared stories ranging from life experiences to personal opinions and perceptions. Whenever Lenny spoke, Valentine would listen ardently, her eyes never leaving his face. She nodded, smiled and laughed as he engaged her. Occasionally she would instinctively reach for her glass for a sip of her cocktail.

And then she let it out. A simple expression that carried so much weight. It was not exactly what she said but how she said it that changed the course of the evening. As they sat there with their eyes locked, only one thing was going through Lenny’s mind. A strong force was impelling him towards her. He was like a canoe that was being drifted downstream by a strong current. His head inched closer to hers. When their lips were just a few inches apart, Valentine lowered her head. Lenny bit his lip and sat back on his seat. An uncomfortable silence followed.

Valentine cleared her throat and said that she needed to be on her way since she needed to be at work early the next day. She glanced at the bill and took out her purse but Lenny insisted that he would take care of it. He offered her a ride home but she declined claiming that it would be too much trouble for him since they lived on opposite sides of town.

They walked out of the bar without saying much. They approached a taxi and Lenny opened the back door. Before Valentine could get in, she turned to him. She pushed her hair out of her face, moved closer to him and put both her arms around his neck and hugged him tight. With her cheek against his, she whispered, “Thanks for a good time.” She then got into the cab and left.

Categories: Fiction

Why you never heard from him again

April 16, 2012 19 comments

Most men would rather undergo a vasectomy than admit that they read relationship articles. But I am coming clean to admit that I cannot go through the Sunday Nation without reading Dr. Chris Hart’s article on relationships. I even subscribed to the blog Project44 because Fridah and Joyce write some interesting eye-opening articles regarding men and women.

So after overhearing a guy telling his buddy about a ‘not so amazing’ date he had, I thought I should write something on this contentious topic. That’s the least I could do for this brother. He sounded really disappointed. You’d think the girl showed up in gumboots.

Every man has a similar story. We’ve all been disappointed one time or another. I’m glad I came across this whiny guy because he inspired me to write about some of the traits that turn men off. It is a bitter pill to swallow especially if you had such big expectations. Ladies you better pay attention.

Lateness – I cannot stand people that can’t keep time, leave alone a date that keeps me waiting. Ladies, keeping a man waiting is no longer cool. Men have things to do nowadays. I’m sure the premier league wasn’t as interesting 20 years ago. Bars were definitely fewer. I once went for a date with this chick who after keeping me waiting for about an hour, gets to town and tells me that when I first called her (five minutes past our agreed time), she was just about to take a bath! I actually considered cancelling the date. I wish I had.

That brings me into me to the second point: Acting dumb or just being dumb. How do you keep someone waiting for one hour then go ahead and tell him that you had not showered by the time you were supposed to meet? I think that’s being plain dumb! Saying that that her hair had accidentally caught fire would have been a smarter thing to say. The chick was pissing me off and she was on a roll.

Men like smart ladies. We like ladies that know what is happening around them, and not just who Kim Kardiashan is dating or what Beyonce had for dinner. Grab a newspaper once in a while or watch the news. It will go a long way. Of course this does not mean you go on and on about your thoughts on Gema and Kamatusa, while the man is trying to compliment your figure.

Closely connected to this is a lady that can challenge a man. A chick that agrees with everything the man says is a big turn off. You got to have a stand of your own. On the other hand, challenging everything a man says might end up bruising his ego so you might want to moderate it. But don’t just nod your head the whole time. Once in a while disagree with him and present your stand. Well, as long as you do not argue that you think boys in Mohawks look cool.

There’s this misconception among chicks that while on a date, the less you eat the more ladylike you appear. That’s so far away from the truth. If a man takes you out for dinner and pays a significant sum only for you get ‘full’ after three spoonfuls, don’t be surprised if the next time around he takes you to Sonford fish and chips (that’s if he’s willing to see you again). And there probably won’t be any fish; just chips and tomato sauce. Ladies, you allowed to dig in. As long as you don’t devour a whole chicken by yourself you’ll be fine. Men love chicks that give them a run for their money when it comes to eating.

Personally, if there’s one thing that’s a major turns me off it’s got to be an unambitious chick. Don’t sit with a man and tell him that all you want out of life is to get a baby girl, name her Ivy Blue then become a housewife. Share your dreams and ambitions and be realistic about them. Don’t tell us that you want a husband that will buy you a nice car and build a house that has a Jacuzzi. That shows us that you do not believe in your abilities and you are therefore looking for a man to leech on. We would be more impressed is you showed us that you have a functioning brain that can get you where you want to be.

Dress well. I was avoiding obvious tips but I realized this one might not be as obvious. Dressing is a challenge to some women. If you’re hooking up for the first date, you do not have to overdress. Neither should you underdress. You don’t need to show up looking like Eva Longoria or we might think you have esteem issues and therefore you feel the need to try too hard. Again, don’t show up looking like you just came from soccer practice. A fitting dress or fitting jeans would be good enough. Avoid cheap sandals and God forbid, safari boots. You don’t want a dude feeling like he’s on a date with Dennis Oliech.

If he takes you out for drinks, please don’t ask for a double of black label if your usual is a cold whitecap – or God forbid guiness kubwa. By the way I’ve never understood why a chick would take guiness. I imagine chicks that drink guiness sound like Ramah Nyang. There’s even a billboard advertising the drink along Uhuru highway and the tag line reads ‘come drink at the table of men.’ So unless you’re sporting a goatee please find another drink. At least one that doesn’t make you look like a man-beater.

Don’t appear desperate. Don’t make it seem like with a little sauce you would ‘eat’ the man right there on the dinner table. It’s ok to flirt a little but just don’t overdo it.

Don’t’ rant too much. It’s ok to let us know what pisses you off but don’t go on and on like the very idea of life makes you want to drive a screwdriver into your ears. Don’t get too emotional in the middle of conversations. Don’t bring up sad or distressing stories. Not on the first date. Save that for your pastor.

Lastly, don’t be stiff. Don’t be afraid to laugh. Have fun. Have a sense of humor. You’re not a courtroom. It’s not a job interview. Relax and have a good time. I like to joke so I can imagine being on a date with a chick that just sits there staring at me like I am a lecturer.

That first date might be the only chance you have. There is rarely a second chance when it comes to these things. Bring you A-game. Be at your best.

Categories: Behavior

Swinging with the rich… and a few wannabes

April 2, 2012 16 comments

Last week I got season tickets to the Kenya Golf Open.  I was not there because I possess a heck of a swing, I was there to work. The event was taking place at the prestigious Muthaiga Golf Club.  This is the place where prominent and wealthy Kenyans go to unwind. The course itself is picturesque. It is beautifully contoured and the green patches make it scenic. The landscape is accentuated by the presence of ponds. I guess that’s where affluent ducks go for a swim on weekends.

Then there’s the clubhouse. Not just anyone would go in there. To get into the clubhouse you needed to have a VIP tag. There’s food, drinks and snacks being sold inside. But even a VIP tag and your lousy money won’t buy you any sandwiches. You ought to have a card before buying anything in there. In the Clubhouse you speak to a waiter in Swahili and he replies in British English.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the guards are under strict instructions to turn back proboxes and all other vehicles that don’t look like BMWs, Mercs and fuel guzzling SUVs. The cars in the parking lot would make you drool. I’m sure those participants that flew in for the event are still wondering why Kenya is regarded as a third world country.

On Friday morning I had some errands to run in town and on my way to Muthaiga I got into one of those matatus that head to Kiambu. On informing the conductor to drop me at Muthaiga Golf Club, he mocked me and said, “Boss huko watu hawaendangii na mguu,” People in the matatu laughed. I waited for the dust to settle and replied, “wauziacha tao ama?” Non-Swahili speakers, I’m sorry that’s one of the jokes that just can’t be translated.

Funny thing is that I lost a phone at Muthaiga Golf Club! Worst part is that it was a cheap ass phone that only sees the light of day when I need go get cash from M-Pesa. My salary had delayed but I still had an unfading smile on me since I thought I had a fall-back plan. Shock on me (and the M-Pesa agent who had to deal with my curses). Clearly I was not the only hustler to have graced the event.

Back to golf. I observed that golfers don’t carry their own equipment. Each golfer has a guy following closely behind him carrying this huge bag on his back that contains different kinds of golf clubs, gloves, towels, hats, umbrellas and God knows what else. The sophisticated ones have trolleys while the more sophisticated ones have golf carts. You would imagine that having to follow your ‘master’ the whole damn day would be somewhat displeasing, but the smile and bounce on these caddies tell another story. I was tempted to stop one and ask him how much he earns just to see if I need to reconsider career.

I have to admit that I know my golf just as well as I know my astronomy.  I’ve never had any interest in the game. I hear folks saying they’ll be teeing off over the weekend and I assume they’re planning on spending their weekend on the verandah just sipping on hot tea. I used to giggle whenever I heard folks talking about ‘hole-in-one’. Until last week, I thought it was something to do with a one night stand or chips funga (you wouldn’t really blame me, Tiger woods… hole-in-one… get it?)

So here I was amidst the elite trying to understand what the hyped sport is really about. I figured asking questions there would be like going to Nyayo stadium for a Gor vs AFC match and asking what a red card means. I therefore got onto Google for some answers. Reading the rules got me yawning so I won’t bore you with that. But here are some important rules worth mentioning: While on the course, you are not allowed to use your phone (can’t wait for Monday I tell my boss why I wouldn’t pick up his calls); you are not allowed to wander aimlessly (if that golf ball happens to fall on your head you will put yourself in an ambulance and drive yourself to hospital); you are not supposed to make any noise that would distract a golfer (all you fart-freaks out there keep off golf courses). You breach any of these rules and you’ll be fined straight to Eastlands.

I’ve always assumed golf is an easy game. I mean after slashing grass for years in high school, how hard would hitting a golf ball be? But after watching the pros do it, I realized you would have to be one of Tiger Woods bastards to be a pro without much practice. There is a good chance of driving that ball right into the spectators if you are an amateur. That’s if you manage to get it off the tee.

Golf spectators don’t cheer like rugby folks do. In rugby when the fly half is about to take a conversion, supporters of the opposing team will jeer and scream like sorcerers in a bid to distract the player. In golf it’s the opposite. When a golfer is about to tee-off, an official lifts a board with the word ‘silence’ written on it and everyone obeys. Spectators will clap if the golfer sinks the ball, or exclaim sympathetically if he misses. So you can imagine my surprise when my friend Ellen shouted and jumped up and down out of excitement after a ball went into the hole. Christine and I had to cover our faces.

Golf is all about accuracy. Experience is key if you want to be a pro. You are your own captain on the course. Unlike many sports you cannot just hang around and wait for the star of your team to do the job. There’s no Van Persie in golf. You clutch that golf club and all eyes are suddenly fixed on you. It’s a tense moment.  The pin-drop silence makes it even worse. If you drive that ball into the forest (or even worse, into the water), people will whisper words of ridicule and derision. That’s what made me fall in love with the sport. I can imagine that rush that goes with that level of control.

The finals were taking place on Sunday. By then I had taken significant interest in the game. Some golf jargon would still fly past my ears but I tried to catch up thanks to google and my amazing eavesdropping prowess. Once in a while a spectator would turn to me and say something in golf language and I would chuckle and mumble something inaudible. I was determined not to give away my naiveté.

A Briton named Seve Benson won the tournament and I was embarrassed on behalf of all those folks that walk with their noses pointed at the sky because they play their golf at Muthaiga Club.

The President was present at the finals. Men in black were all over the place ensuring no rebel tried to take a swing at the president’s head. The authority and respect his security detail commands is intimidating. Every G4S security guy wishes he grows up to be like these suited folks. You could tell they felt like little virgin boys around their suited counterparts.

After the games some sponsors offered drinks to guests. If there’s one thing that Kenyans love more than drinks, it’s FREE drinks. In fact if this post turns out to be remotely interesting, it’s because I talked about free drinks. A Kenyan would rather spend 2K on fuel to go to a place that has free drinks than spend 1K at his local. Whether it’s a Monday, a Friday, or a Sunday, as long as there’s drinks on the house, people will always turn up. We had fun. As I write this, it’s Sunday night. I am a few Lite bottles away from my mind (get it? Light years… light bottles… I think that’s genius). I am having fun. Some lines I’ve typed got me giggling. In case you read through and nothing makes sense, just know that it sounded funny in my clouded mind. And your mind is boring.

PS: I wish you all a Happy Easter. I know for most middle class Kenyans it’s either Nakuru or Mombasa. Let’s party hard. You rich Muthaiga people that have had travel agencies book you into elegant, secluded lodges; I hope you get bored out of your designer socks. I have one or two avid fans that would want to see my head on a platter if they came here on a Monday and did not find a post. Be forewarned guys: If you come here next Monday and there’s no post, just know that my mind was willing but my body was weak.