NAIROBI, THE CITY THAT BLOWS SMOKE IN YOUR FACE

It’s been a crazy few weeks. Events unfolded that were nearly equal in their grandeur and their tragedy. The hardest hitting news for me was Chester Bennington’s suicide. All who know me closely are aware of how much I revered Linkin Park’s music and how it was an accompanying soundtrack in my life. I almost lived and breathed their lyrics. I know I come off as an unserious, entitled millennial but we all battle demons, some more than others. And music helps. Especially music that seems to “get us”. Thanks for all your calls and messages to check up on me, by the way. They were really helpful. Phahaha, as if. In Kenya, depression is a first world problem. That’s what some of you believe, no?

But I digress. This isn’t about Chester. I’m still too raw and heartbroken to think up anything with enough reverence for him. I’m going back to my unserious, entitled millennial pieces of writing. I recently had a conversation with someone who said that I can’t use my work as a portfolio because it’s too personal. Not forgetting unserious. I didn’t know there was a specific criteria for personal blogging. It was hard to tell her that the clues are in the title. I mean, when I introduce Nairobi Pedestrian, I say it’s a personal creative writing and lifestyle blog. Is that not clear enough?

This is beginning to look like a journal rant. Anyway, what was I saying? Yes, the past few weeks have been what I elaborately call, a complete and utter mindfuck.

So what’s happened? Oh yes, Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix in a fashion so spectacular, none of us were surprised.

His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, president of this [insert appropriate adjective here] republic of Kenya, snubbed the presidential debates because “He had nothing important to debate with Raila Odinga” according to The Nation. I hated the debates. They were shambolic, ridiculous, offered absolutely no insight whatsoever into the manifestos of the candidates and were held a fortnight to the elections. The only thing that should be done a fortnight before a major event is a student bribing the exam officer one last time to ensure that she gets accurate leakage. I was disappointed that H.E. Uhuru didn’t show up because endlessly listening to the leader of the opposition call the wrong man Joe and give double speak answers got monotonous. And the previous debate held hours earlier for the “other” presidential candidates were just an avenue for a pseudointellectual with an ego the size of the horn of Africa say that he came from “Washington Ndizi” and that he attended a “universirry” abroad. Ugh, spare me. He was so inept that people actually suggested that he give up the chair for his running mate, who was more articulate. I was also very disappointed that there were no female presidential candidates but that’s another row for another day.

My post today is about being a pedestrian in this city of ours.

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Pedestrian in The City 2015 [Photo Courtesy of Shira Sozo]
At the moment I am at odds when it comes to what to say about it. I am leaving my job at the end of this month. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know what will come to me. This city giveth and taketh away. But at this instant, I am removing myself from the equation. Hopefully, it will rewardeth me for my risketh. And hopefully, it won’t rewardeth me with some kind of damoclean situation.

But before I took this leap of faith, and amassed my bravery (also considered stupidity in some circles) I was walking with my good friend, Captain, where I was rubbing in Sebastian Vettel’s spectacular loss at the British GP. I was also outlining why it’s not a bad thing to own a Lamborghini in Nairobi. Well for one thing, think of how many stupid and jealous conversations about your car you could silence just by starting your engine. You could also single handedly run the fuel economy of Kawangware every time you needed to fill up. Actually you couldn’t. I made that up. And I don’t understand the fuel economy. Captain was laughing at some disparaging remark I had made about people who hate on dreamers when I suddenly got sidetracked by the Delamare poster near the bridge on Uhuru Highway.

“Is there something wrong with that picture?” I asked him.

Captain, as is wont to do when I get in such moods, just shook his head. I stopped to stare at it.

He sighed, “What now?”

“I mean look at it. Why the hell would Delamere decide to make pear flavoured yoghurt?”

Captain just watched me.

“And there’s caramel too!?”

He shook his head again and kept walking. I stared at the billboard some more then caught up to him.

“You really would drink kit kat flavoured spoiled milk?”

He scoffed, “That’s a gross oversimplification.”

I shrugged, “Eh, you love me for it. But there is something just weird about that. Like, I don’t know, breast milk flavoured condoms.”

Captain burst out laughing. I wanted to join him but I was still preoccupied.

“Have you ever even eaten a pear flavoured anything? Pears aren’t supposed to flavour things. Apples sometimes but not pears. Pears are too special and bland. Like avocado. But now avocado can be added to food. Pears are like- yes, you can’t add sugar cane to pudding! I…”

My mindless ramblings were suddenly cut short. I was enveloped in darkness. A thick black blackness. The kind that heralds oblivion. Or what we think we see in sleep. For a moment I thought I was dying. For another, I thought hell had come up to greet me. I couldn’t see anything. I froze. My hands held out trying to ward off whatever void wanted to consume my soul. Until the pungent smell of stale diesel hit my nose. I had just been blasted by the exhaust of an old bus. I walked away from the smoke and started laughing hysterically. I do that when I freak out.

Captain watched me with a smirk on his face. Not even an inch of black on him. While I was covered in soot from chest to feet. My dress, my scarf, my hands, my boots and my stockings had suddenly gotten an unintended dye job. Captain laughed his hairy little head off at me while I wondered how the hell I got the smoke and he got none. It’s like my existence is a beacon for odd and bizarre events.

I trekked into town awkwardly holding my hands out to make sure I didn’t get the soot to places that shouldn’t have soot. Everyone was staring at me. Some NYS fellows walked past us, asking me if I’d had a mishap with an engine.

While I know these events aren’t unique to me, I suspect that in my life they only happen because I don’t have a car. When idling men lazing around their merchandise try to play grab ass with my assets. When street urchins threaten me with smear- er, campaigns- if I don’t hand over my soda or my money. When matatu touts painfully hold on to my arms trying to get me to board their rust buckets held together with cello tape and witchcraft. The probability of these events will be nonexistent when I finally get that car. And just imagine how the naysayers and Jeremiahs will have to swallow their tongues because it’s a gift from RMA. Babes, a red Jaguar F Type. I’m just saying.

PEDESTRIAN’S NOTE

I applaud all efforts to save our environment by eliminating plastic bags. But if a vehicle on the road can do this

to legs encased in stockings and an unsuspecting pedestrian- NEMA and whatever other nonsensical acronym institutions that run this town need to figure out a more effective direction.

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7 thoughts on “NAIROBI, THE CITY THAT BLOWS SMOKE IN YOUR FACE

Add yours

  1. Oh, Oh….jeez. you were really baptised with exhaust smoke/soot , pole sana. Anyway it prompted you to come up with a very joyous read. Am glad. You are at it again. kudos ped.

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