Hey, can I ask you something?

It’s 10:36A.M. as I start writing this. If you are in Kenya, chances are you are seated at home alone, or maybe with friends, or family simply watching a movie because the news on TV is either depressing or never-changing. You are not on Facebook because since August 8th, you’ve come to tap the unfollow and block icons on your smartphone so much so that you don’t even know what your threshold for isht is.

It is refreshing that Kenyans love to be the bearer of news. First, most of our politicians took up the roles criminals and comedians. We thrive on just how foolish they can get, and especially when they deny uttering statements in public even as they are watching a clip of it. Now, we all have smartphones and bundles! Lawd, what would we be without bundles and powerbanks! Wi-Fi ni ya watu wa Nairobi…some other cities are yet to have that stuff in their homes, oh mercy! I know not the future of journalism, but hey…if in one minute you can get ten million different updates on the same story, well… I digress.

So, this morning I was woken up by two texts. See, here’s the thing world, I am a morning person. Yes, I wake up at 2am and write till 4am then pray to the gods of slumber to allow me to enter their world until 6:30am where I exit their world for that of another dawn. So, receiving a text at half past four in the morning is like being summoned to the world of daybreak, and that my friends, is like trying to get a cat to have a bath!

Image result for cat memes
Google Images

I reach for my phone and then I see “would you please tell me if I am doing the right thing?” Of course, I’d read the second text first. So, I sat up and went to my messages and the first text was “hey, can I ask you something? How do u knw uv lk made the right dsn? I mean, how do u knw that sm1 the 1 4 u?”

I thought, “not with that kind of communication!” and sent her a text message “call me and tell me what’s up.” She called and somewhere between conversation I dozed off. I know I did because as I was going through my phone at seven in the morning, there were three missed calls from her and eight text messages. I could try and tell you what they were about, but given that she’s not the kind to use words while texting, we’d both be at a loss. My fingers for doing the typing and you for struggling to read what you’d consider a drunkard’s slur.

I’ve always known a couple of phrases to be conversation starters for people at a crossroads. When someone says “can I ask you something?”, “can we talk?”, “are you busy?”, “can you do me a favour?”, “listen…”, “I have this friend,” then know that it’s not going to be a declaration but rather a call for your full attention, because there’s a dilemma that needs a solution.

I happened to fall asleep in the middle of the discussion of one. It’s pretty obvious that I had to call and make amends, but it also reminded me of something I have been taking for granted for the past one month. My instinct.

I’ve been struggling with writing Ushanga and all the while there’s been the feeling of giving my characters room to grow and breathe life into the story. In a way, I am working on that, but I love control and no, I am not Mr. Grey who exercises control in all things…I am learning to let go and sometimes working with an outline can really stifle your writing.

Have a good day people!

TMI

Reading: 

Listening to: 4:44 by Jay Z

Drinking: Black coffee (my first cup of the day)

You know Steve, right?

Okay.

So, you have that lunch that you’ve been talking about with your friends for years. You pick a restaurant that has free WiFi, yes- it is important to share those pictures on Instagram and Facebook.

You notice that someone has lost weight, another has gained some (but you won’t speak of it, if she asks, you say she is beautiful) and another is growing this bump that she cannot stop talking about. She is the mother to be and then all eyes settle on you, “So when are you getting married?”

And you shrug off your shoulders like, “God’s timing is best,” even though you know that you have had some suitors but are just not interested. So they  look at you like you are crazy but say, “yeah, but no worries, you will meet the right guy at the appointed time.”

And you immediately say “Amen!” and look at the menu like an English teacher would mark an essay. They giggle a little and you do not bother to ask because that’s an inside joke among the engaged and married people. The waiter approaches your table and you say, “I will have the mango juice and chips masala.” The one with the bump looks at you and asks, “how do you keep fit with all that junk?”

You smile and say, “I do not eat chips during the week, so why not treat myself today, besides I hear their masala chips is to die for.” She nods and orders the same. The others place their orders and the waiter leaves you in the company of three lovely women whom you’ve drawn apart from and free WiFi. Which one would you pick?

Yes, so you go through your emails and check your Facebook wall for those updates and that’s when you see it:

“At __ restaurant with so and so, having a blast!” And you look up with your eye asking, “really?” But you say nothing because that’s the irony of it all. The person who cannot afford bamba 20 is always posting pictures of Jameson, Smirnoff Black Ice, Jack Daniels or standing beside a Range Rover with the hashtag #turntup #lifeisgood

So, you stop being so judgmental and switch off that new android phone you got with an impressive five inch captive screen and turn to the girls for a conversation. You start talking and listening and you realize that the one who has lost weight is Sharon. She used to sit behind you in class. She was index ten and she is frustrated at work because all the policies she creates are accredited to her boss. She knows so much about investments and even gives you a formula for saving and invites you to this chama she’s in.

The one with the bump is Martha. She is staying at home now, while her husband is working. She loves it because she had been in the banking industry for two years and she hated it. She wants to go back to school but they cannot afford it. She is scared that her second baby won’t be an easy pregnancy. She almost had a miscarriage last week.

And finally the one who has put on weight, well, she just got a job two years after graduating from the university. She had been stressed by her family and relatives desire to get her to move out and settle down. She is not dating anyone because her boyfriend had been sleeping around with the other women in her  block. She says that whole “boy next door thing” is so wrong! Those type of guys have a constant supply of women and you all burst laughing. You realize that she is Michelle, and you always chat on twitter even though she goes by a different handle.

They turn to you and you say, you are figuring things out and all will be well. You have had jobs and you have traveled a lot, and most of all you are proud of your family’s support. Then Martha asks you if you are dating anyone. You sigh and say that you were dating this great guy, but you got tired of waiting on him and so now you are single, but not so single…and they laugh.

Just then the waiter comes pushing a trolly and serves you your food and you dig in like the hungry beautiful women that you are! Then Michelle asks Martha how Steve is doing, and she starts, “You know Steve, right? He is working and I do not spend as much time with him as I did before…”

Then you say you have never seen this Steve guy and Martha pulls out her phone. She types in a pin and goes to her Gallery and swipes left for a while until she gets to the picture she wants and then holds the phone in your face, “that’s my Steve!”

“Are you okay?”

“Um…”

“Hey, you look like you have seen him before, do you know him?”

“Um, yes…I think we have met at a training or something…does he work for a CSO?”

“Yes, oh my! It’s a small world!”

You look at your food and feel like someone is out to get you. You keep stuffing your mouth with fries. You know it should not bother you that Steve is the guy! You know?