July 4, 2011
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.