I have been asked by a total of one person why I chose the name Nairobi Pedestrian. And I felt compelled to cater to this curiosity. I call myself Nairobi Pedestrian because I am currently in transition. Based off the themes of my articles, I am covering what I am going through while traversing the life in this city. I am chronicling certain events until I am finally successful. In which case, I will no longer be transitioning, I will be happening. Since I will finally have the dream shoes, dream house, dream job and most importantly- dream car- I will become Nairobi Motorist.
Now with that out of the way, on to my agenda for the day: We all have those friends and relatives who are so successful they make you feel almost suicidal. When they are older than you, you are happy for them. When they are your age mates, you are begrudgingly glad for them with just a hint of envy. When they are younger than you, you are borderline homicidal.
I currently feel that way. Actually, no, I have been feeling that way for pretty damn long. It’s the lowest of the feelings I have experienced. Even lower than discomfort from diarrhea and heartbreak. I don’t even know what to call it. There is no all-encompassing multicultural vocabulary to describe this feeling. The closest I can get to is bitterness.
I have a classmate from high school who has a job, a son, a husband and a CAR. And then- she’s my neighbor. The first time I saw her in that maroon Range Rover I felt this lump in my throat. As a child I would have called it kiwaru. As an adult I don’t know any better word. I am happy for her and celebrate her life for her but every time after seeing her, when I am alone in my house, I curl into a ball of self-pity and ask myself what exactly I did wrong or didn’t do at all.
A few years ago, my cousin won a trip to Ghana after writing an essay. I was ridiculously ecstatic for her. She even brought me gifts from the West Coast. But like bitter shrew I was I couldn’t help but wonder why my essay writing competition attempts end in condescending letters telling me to try again next time and thanking me for my participation. Is there a brew I can drink? Do I kneel the wrong way when I pray? Are my ancestors mad at me?
Now because of the values I was raised on, I can’t quit. Because of my pride, giving up isn’t an option. I want a Mercedes G Wagon. Trips to the French Riviera. Manolo Blahnik shoes. To afford an
unedited J.K. Rowling manuscript at Sotheby’s or whatever other fanciful auction house. Someone will get the bright idea to tell me it will happen in God’s time or not to lose hope. Hope is ominous. And maybe God hasn’t put me in His day planner yet. So allow me this moment of bitterness. Let me morosely sing to the soundtrack of Theory of a Deadman’s “I Hate My Life”. I am not the only one waiting for IT to happen to me. And I will keep waiting. Keep trying. Keep doing.
I think this is how go-getters are made. Fortune does favor the bold. So I have to make some courageous unconventional steps to get what I want. And then one day, someday, I will pass my high school classmate on the highway and flash my Beemer’s lights at her. I will invite my college classmate out for drinks on a trip to Zanzibar. On my tab. Then my family will congregate to say goodbye to me at the airport because I won a trip to New York for writing something or other.
It would be really embarrassing if none of this ever happens because I just announced it here. But misery would be a thing of the past because I would know; I tried my hardest and did my best. But if I just wasn’t good enough, please don’t let me know. Then I would definitely become apocalyptic.