Category Archives: Creative Articles

Toothy Interview

I’ve been interviewed umpteen times. True and I’ve come to discover one thing; that I can never get used to interviews. I will have the same old insane stomach cramps probably even worse than those of a 1st timer. I realized the only thing I get better at are my answers to familiar questions. But then again I’ve never been to an interview overwhelming enough to pull out my previously decayed but silent tooth.

For eight months I’d been busy being a mom and wife since Baby Pesh’s arrival. That was enough to deform my once slim feet into an ugly flat sight, thanks to wearing flat, open shoes. Pesh had grown into a slightly independent young girl and so pulling back into the employment highway was the next best thing. Like any other flamboyant job seeker I dropped my resume’ anywhere they could land.

No call backs came through for me, at least not until late August 2010 when one finally did. An appointment!  An interview! Finally! My excitement could only be brought down by a bucketful of ice water. I obviously called my husband and we both floated in the pending success. The joy however ended rather drastically as soon as the call dropped and the reality of a possible interview panel crossed my mind. I noted I didn’t really need a bucket of ice water. I quickly found myself a spot to sit on and psychologically prepare myself for what lay ahead. I had to do it well. I browsed the net for the company’s profile details, aims and every other unnecessary detail they put across. Crap! I even made sure I was on point on which ministers were in charge of the relevant sectors! By the time I was walking through the reception of the building where I was invited for the interview I felt like my mind would burst with all the answers I had to the un-asked questions.

I carefully scanned my well over 20 competitors’ faces searching for the slightest implication of fear or uncertainty. I assumed their feeding of fear would starve mine and I would end up a winner or close. Selfishness was my sole recipe’ in character in this case and I knew the rest too, prayed the same prayer. “God, This job is mine. You brought me here for a reason so I know it’s mine.” Seriously, if all 20 interviewees prayed this prayer, then I’m awfully glad I’m not God to answer them. Their dressing was exquisite with well-fitting ironed suits. Folders that most probably carried their life stories were held neatly under their arms. .I decided I needed a workable strategy to pull this off successfully.

I marched quietly to the nearest empty seat and squirmed in it until my name was called I struggled to be firm as my remaining competitors watched my every movement.  Those who had left before me had all variety of facial expressions. Some looked as fearful as a child who just got a painful jab in the ass, others smiled amid defeated-looking faces, it confused me on what to expect so I chose to hide my horror through my killer smile. Don’t ask what that means.

I walked in well, armed with my documents and a classy handbag which I knew best to keep on the floor next to my feet, right after the seat was offered. I then crossed my shaky legs under my seat to keep them from embarrassing me and at last faced the panel. It felt like judgement day.

“Your name?” one of them asked.I blurted it out. “Please spell?” I always do that to everyone I meet. I understand Fanne is not an easy name and my mother refused to tell me from whence she dug it up. The questions got harder and harder until I was asked if I had any questions for them. I obviously did. I was eventually sent home and promised a call back before the end of the day which if it were positive I’d go to the next level. It was just the beginning.

I went home feeling exhausted from all the nervousness and now I was anxious for the results. It didn’t make it better. I slept miserably since no one called me, and began nursing the wound the disappointment caused. Early the next day I was called and told to report for the second interview. Phew! I was too tired to get excited, yet I managed a stolen one at least to remind myself of a certain stranger I call hope.

Second interview brought to me some nostalgic memories. It was a written exam and I couldn’t remember half the things I was asked. I thought to do what my fellow mates did. Yes we all cheated in all sorts of ways. We used everything from texting to whispers and peeks, even Google. Thank god for Google. We all went home again to wait impatiently for the big call. This time I slept well. I was called late at around &pm and informed of my great success, even congratulated. I had qualified for the last stage which was yes another interview with the head of the company we were to work for. I still ask myself if this was really necessary. The lady shouldn’t have mentioned the position of the last interviewer. She only made it worse. I role played the interview about 76 times playing both the interviewer and I. I thought up all the possible questions to expect. I nearly killed myself. Still I felt I wasn’t ready. That was when the bad tooth arose from hell and began complaining. I carried some painkillers to the interview which eventually turned out well. The waiting that was destroying me was apparently good for me. By the time it was my turn he had been exhausted extensively and looked like the only thing he craved was his silent, never-busy office. He asked me two or three general questions and let me go. I was relieved and rushed straight to my dentist. The painkillers I’d taken were clearly doing a shoddy job and it had to be pulled out.

So I lost a tooth at the height of tension. Yeah, I too couldn’t believe it; but it would have been worse had all this not been worth it.

Robbed kindly

It’s amazing how criminal minds work. Slowly I’m getting convinced that to be a criminal, you have to be very smart. Not that I’m considering changing professions, but if I were a thief I certainly would borrow many of these tricks, and faithfully watch those high intelligent movies like ‘Thief’.  An example is where someone will rob a bank of 20million shillings, transfer 19million to private accounts under different names, gets caught with a few hundreds of thousands, after spending some. He then insists when asked that the rest of his gang took the rest of the money. He gets jailed for a few years and finally goes free, a millionaire. That’s one plan, carefully laid out (suffer for a few years and die a rich man).Others will spend millions in order to make billions. And trust me, it’s not in investments. Let’s not speak of those who feign insanity to avoid going to jail.

I don’t know if my house help is also getting this intelligent or if it’s merely illiteracy, or misunderstanding. Call it what you want. All I know is she robbed me of my 600shillings to my face. 600bob may be peanuts to you but that is my one week’s transport expense, three packets of milk for Pesh for the week plus I save 60bob as change!

My house help wanted to buy a cheap phone. One which costs 1,000 bob, and as a good employer, I decided to buy the phone for her, then deduct 200 shillings from her salary, monthly. I deducted twice very comfortably, explaining to her how much she still owed me after every deduction, just in case she lost count, and to make sure we were in agreement. The third month, I did the same and she suddenly turned on me and furiously said I had already deducted the previous month. Shocked, I tried to count the months with her, trying to make her understand how I only deducted twice. For a while she sat, silently listening and I knew she had understood well. She then turned to me and bluntly said, “I don’t even understand what you were deducting for.”

I couldn’t believe it. How do I even start arguing with her? It would be like pumping air into a sack! I wondered if she thought I bought the phone for her, I even asked her why she never asked why I was deducting. She continued to act dumb as I tried to drill some sense into her thick head. Eventually I felt despaired, wasted and angry. I gave her her full salary and told her not to ever expect any favors from me. It didn’t make me feel better though, because if it had, I would have forgotten all about it. I would not even be writing about it now. So I’m hoping that I’ll feel better after I finish writing this.

Whenever I get a chance, I steal too, only the difference is I steal time and bus fare.  At work, I steal time to update the blog, read the paper and surf the net. The only other thing I would steal is my fare, if a matatu tout doesn’t ask for fare; I will not offer to pay. I am a good Christian, but I will never offer to pay my fare because these matatu rascals will charge me a whooping 70 or 80shillings for an annoying 30minutes trip to town, if it dares to drizzle. Don’t even ask how much I’ll pay when it rains. They will then drop me off two or three stages to my destination for fear of heavy traffic and police inspection.

In the morning these matatu rascals despise me when they get their matatu full with passengers. Instead of informing me politely that it’s full, they will stare when I inquire, as if they have no clue what I am blabbing about, then pressure the driver to speed on. When it’s off peak the same rascals will stampede over each other to persuade me to board their vehicle. I do not pity them during these off-peak times. Dare any touch me in the name of persuading me to board and I go to the next Matatu.

If the fare is high during these off-peak times, I will wait or bargain ignorantly to my preference before I board, and I will not offer to pay my fare if they don’t ask.

I’d rather have my house help con me. I have learnt the hard way. Sometimes you end up looking foolish when you’re too kind. I feel better already.

Frenemy

I’ve realized there’re several things even your best of friends can’t do for you. Like when you get in trouble, they’d rather save you while standing at the fence rather than jump into the hell hole with you. I can be your best friend but I know I won’t stand in front of the truck for you. I will try to pull you away though. Let’s just be realistic here. Only your mum and maybe your dad will jump into a burning flame to save you. I have not heard of such heroic friendship stories here on planet earth.

Once in high school, I had a friend who joined our school in form three. This friend FYI is now a business news reporter in a local TV station. She was my frienemy. When we were best friends we would write articles then exchange and criticize each other. Eventually we both wrote two short novels by the time we left after form four. We had formed a trio and wrote songs which we would sing in school events. We also did a lot of artwork together; and I motivated her a lot since I used to present my work in ASK shows. We were also always there for each other.

 Now when we were enemies, we truly hated each other. We would gang up with other friends, form two colonies and turn against each other with criticism. If someone lost something, she would convince them I stole it, and trust me, things went conveniently missing. Class discussions became a small version of The Battle of the Titans and this would last for weeks, until we sat together and talked. It was pure drama, and it was personal. I know, it was bad and we were not real friends. We were, like I said, we were frenemies.

Once I remember, we were going in for the evening preps when I saw her coming hitherto. Another girl held her as though she needed an extra leg. I waited for her to catch up so I could ask if she needed any help. Sure enough she did. She broke down in tears in front of me and my heart tore in pieces. I had seen her tears only once before when she was still new and was being harassed. (This happened a lot especially if you were from the city and worse if you were arrogant and proud). “What is it?” I asked, obviously worried. “I’m pregnant.” The world shook. Or atleast I thought it did. “So, what will you do?” I asked oblivious of her arrogance. Still, I cared and she knew I cared for her. “I’ll get rid of it.” She went on, “I just need a glass of concentrated juice. That should do. Do you have some? Mine is finished already.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She wanted me to help her terminate her baby? How in the world would I want to be a part of that? That’s totally out of the question! She read my mind and quickly added. “Don’t worry it won’t be your fault. Let’s assume you gave me some juice as a friend. What I do with it will be my problem.” I was a bit hesitant but finally agreed to provide the tool of destruction that she needed.

The bell had rang so we went in for preps. About an hour and a half through the grave-silent preps, a note was passed progressively to my desk. It read, ‘Friend I can see you are very reliable and caring. Sorry I had to go the long way but the guilt is now haunting me. Truth is I’m not pregnant. Thelma (not her real name) and I are broke and wanted some juice to have after preps. You are indeed a very good friend’ .That called for another week of war. If you ask me I think I was a really good friend to her, and even others who followed. I’m always a good friend. Ask Milly, my high school best friend. She is still my friend. She will tell you I’m a good friend to all. Ok. I’m not saying this so you can all be my friends (Not that I would mind having you as my friends), but a good friend deserves another. Not akina Thelma and the likes. These are the kind who taught me the hard way.

 I have had many other friends, though nowadays I’m very careful not to stick my hand in the fire. I decided I’d rather have a handful of them who will be true than a whole bunch, unless I’m having a party .I also realized no friend, no matter how close will stand in front of the truck for me . No worries. The feeling is mutual.

Ask now or forever hold your peace

Is it true, what they say, (whoever they are) that when you get heartbroken, no man dares look your way? Yet when you are in a relationship, happy, glowing and all bubbly, they all run hitherwards, those X’s included? Well I say it’s so true. I have dated several, (Am obviously not proud of the number) and I noticed this one thing in common.

As we speak I have two men misusing my phone battery with infinite calls insisting we meet. I know. I too ask, “The hell, why?”I am now a married woman, with a lovely daughter, a very supportive husband who by the way is also my best friend…and these men know this. Now the sad part is, these men are also married, and are expecting children of their own. Ok, now it sounds like I’m a home-wrecker, the kind of woman who all men would gladly replace their wives with, throwing care to the dogs, but no. I too, like you pity these women. I understand that their men, if not forced, tricked, or trapped into marrying them,  realized only too late that they are not over their past, though some  plan to marry more than once from the word go and know that regardless, will have the whole share of the cake and eat it. What such men fail to understand is that the women, who know they are married yet they date them as ‘mpango wa kando’ know only too well they can never settle with them since they will still cheat on them with yet other women. Or at least they ought to know!

So I discovered that the reason these men are running back to my already occupied arms is because they treated me like a side plate…ok let me stop sugar-coating it. Like a clande,or that mpango wa kando( Damn! I don’t believe I’m actually using this term to refer to myself) believing I would never wish to settle and have children. I know. You are already picturing the kind of woman I was then, right? I’m almost certain of that. Let me guess. Your thoughts must be of a skimpily dressed snob, always taking a cab to walk-able distances and is very picky with men; you know the ones who first check out your shoes then your face before deciding if you are worth their time? Yes, those ones. These men, they (crap! Whoever the hell they are) say, are of a higher social status and are not embarrassing to be seen walking around with. Ahem, that’s right. But, you are wrong. I was, and still am, a simple, woman. Though I’m quite shy at times, I know what I stand for and I’m principled. I am very choosy with what I wear and I try to be stylish in my own way, and I can say it works…At least my husband thinks it does!  I’m the kind of woman who never gets late for meetings and am very impatient. Needless to say, I love attention, a lot.

So now, the one thing that caused these men to play God and rudely judge me was my looks. Not on my face but rather my size. Thing is that I always had a slim body, and a very flat tummy (I hope you never see it now). That’s the kind that does advertising in fashion magazines and lifestyles. Not that I never tried Fashion, only, the farthest I ever went was the cover of the Saturday Magazines in the Dailies. How I wish I had an extra foot to my height, the Nokia face of Africa would not have turned me down.

 So you see?  An aspiring model would do just about anything to have and maintain that job. Getting married and having babies would clearly smash this dream.

Nevertheless, this dream never hatched and I ended up as Customer service executive in a well known telecommunication organization, and I got married.

 Now, just so you know, I didn’t get married because I was kicked out of The Nokia Face of Africa auditions, Emirates Airlines, and that Fashion magazines didn’t take me anywhere. God knows I’ve been turned down enough times.

 I got married because I wanted to get married, settle and raise babies. And even if I became a high fashion model in Paris, or got the six figure salary of Emirates, or crowned the bill boards with my photos, I would still settle and be a wife and mother.

Assumption is one thing these and many other men do. This is mistake number one.