Friday, June 10, 2011

Of Kenyan Tarmackers and Our Torn Shoes

A series of small, weak doses of thought occurred earlier on tonight that brought with it a debt of clarity I feel not only endowed but rather obliged to share with you. It all began with a post by Nanjira, partly about the quick burst of rain yesterday. What followed, however, was a scene from a bad Kenyan movie...the kind we live through every day...


Boy with comp replies to Nanjira's post predicting the usual hike in budgetary allocations by Jav (Public Service Vehicle) conductors, claiming the parting clouds would put a dent to their overactive imagination. Boy recently cleared Varsity, and is currently 'tarmacking' for an internship...boy's sole is as a result a mere -- make that very mere -- slice between foot and mud. And no that is not funny.

Puny Thought # 1

Of course the traffic jam happened anyways, so credit puny thought 1 to me. Let's say my mental biceps did not exercise nearly enough on that conclusion.

Puny Thought # 2

I live somewhere along Mombasa Road, and simply put, the whole motorcar industry in Kenya convenes on this road every so often. Traffic in town, thus, meant traffic on Mombasa Road for me. So I opted to go for Jogoo Road. Enter puny thought 2, coz Mombasa Road actually had no traffic.

Puny Thought # 3

I chose to buy lunch. That's one dose of thought this tarmacker -- who also has no phone -- can not afford to have. End result? Tarmacker has exactly 50 bob, fare home on a normal day. Accounting for normalcy in Kenya...not a good idea. And you can stop trying to guess where I live right about here [¡]

Puny Thought # 4

Mat drivers won't hike fares. Yeah. Right. Stupid move? Lemme rephrase that; Economy of Scales -- or something like that -- clearly indicates why this was a stupid move.

Puny Thought # 5

So after cutting through the footbridge at Railways, I get into this mat at Capital Centre. There are days I've prayed for rain just so that I could shower, but today is not one. I am in no mood for the clouds' idea of a joke...then kange (conductor) has the audacity to take my entire 50 bob. Context: Msa road has bo's usually 10 bob at most. Freddy 4: kange 1.

Puny Thought # 6

Jav is outta diesel. The driver's charged 100 bob for the ride from tao, but decided to spare some coins by not fuelling the car. WTH were you [not] thinking Mr Jav-man?

Puny Thought # 7

Jav is an automatic gearbox, so 'shtua'ing it is not an option even when the fuel gets there. Question Mr Jav-man: so this petrol station we passed 50m back...WTH did you think it was? An irrigation plant? A sewerage plant? What, it did not occur to you that your fuel was low and pretty much needed as we passed the bloody station?

Puny Thought # 8

Kange n Jav-man can't start the car, and won't get us another jav. It's past refund either. Ever heard of mob justice messieurs Jav?

Puny Thought # 9 

One of the passengers gets the jav started. Cue stupid remarks from the rest.

"Tunataka Hardship allowance..."

"Tupeleke hadi kwetu..."

"Me nataka mechanic's fee..." chimes the guy who got the engine running.

So what exactly did you passengers expect? For them to yield and just pass you their obese wallets?

Puny Thought # 10 

I alight at the gate to the apartments, despite needing a smoke after the ordeal. Walk all the way to the shops, only to remember that I have no damn money!

Moral of the story? Buy my own car! Ok. Now to be more reasonable, let's say always carry around triple my usual fare in the evening.

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