Public Lessons

I constantly have this zeal, whenever I go to work in the morning…or let’s say I tend to stock a lot of zeal as it comes in very handy come week days…especially Mondays. I stimulate myself with the idea that Monday essentially is the best day of the week. I honour Mondays so that they go by quietly without causing drama. Damn, these Mondays are to be pampered; like I did Pesh’s kitten when it was barely hours old at our house. It lay, cautiously on my lap as I gently rubbed its wee fur. I wanted the poor thing to forget its mom and learn to live with a torturous and malicious little girl who would more often than not pull its tail and lift it by the ear. “Ussie!” Pesh would call out trailing it as it takes off in distress and hides under the couch leaving the monstrous toddler stuck in between seats and yelping for help.

This particular Monday I didn’t use my stashed energy. We had a pitch to present to one of our prospects and the edginess it had impacted on me was just about enough for the next two days. I hopped onto my favourite seat (next to the driver) and squirmed in my spot till my seat got warm. Two stages and another jumped right next to me. Note; you have to jump in to these Double M giants. I am convinced their manufacturer must have overestimated African height.

So the small bodied stranger banged the door shut and we drove on…very slowly. The tout beckoned to every Jack, Sylvester and Adhiambo that stood along the road to hop in, few of who did, then we’d move on…very slowly. This was indefinitely going to be a long trip. We murmured complains hoping the driver would somehow smell the utter disgust that diffused the air and gear on, but no. He slowed down more and called on people shutting the doors to their houses. Hell! He might as well have knocked on their doors and woken them up! I cursed under my breath knowing I would get late.

A phone rang and we all fumbled with our pockets. It wasn’t mine or the driver’s. The stranger next to me picked up his. Let’s call him Pete. “Oh, hi sweetness!” he began. I obviously turned to get a good look at his romantic nerve. He wasn’t bothered by the fact that I was unashamingly eavesdropping. “Yes, I got a mat and I’m already on the way….You’re still in bed? Awwww!….and you woke up to check on me?….awwwww! that’s cute!” Gay was the first word that came to my mind. Unfathomably and shamelessly gay. He went on “Sweets, I know, but don’t you worry. It’s only a couple of months now and I will make you the happiest woman in the world.” Hmm… a smile stole the corner of my face; the side away from him. Hopeful romantic, I thought. He must be getting married soon and just can’t wait to show the whole world the woman he’ll be sleeping with the rest of his ‘Awwww!’ life. And I do not hate.

Undeterred, he went on. “Oh, yes darling, I will crown you my queen and show the world how lucky I am…” He went on to flatter her as I got nostalgic. Yeah, well. Once you get married the lovie dovie messages trickle down to a nasty 7point something percent and you get down to some serious marriage business; budgets, finances, babies, outings, work, more work, heath insurance, mortgages, did I mention work?  The most you get is a calming text or cards on those special days, I’m not complaining here. I too never get the time to type a 360 lettered text. “Oh sure, love!” my bubble got burst. Pete was still on call. “Yes, she must be getting really jealous not to have someone to tell her what I’m telling you now” He did not just say that!! Was he talking about me? My fist clinched. “Would you like to talk to her? She is right here” That was it; and I’m the only female around? My built up anger could spark the fuel tanker and cause episode two of Sinai.

I took out my phone and forced a call to my husband. I just had to show this fellow I got love too; and better, matured love at that! I mumbled something about how I needed him to get up so he doesn’t get late…anything to prove my point. He slowed down and I thought he felt guilty for offending me…I hoped. I still thought he was a dare devil to actually go so public with his passion.

He was definitely in my good books, and lasted approximately 13minutes. Another call had come through. No one fumbled with their pockets so we let the culprit pick his. It was unbelievable. The tone in his voice suddenly changed and he even spoke with ‘swag’. “Yo man,” I almost fell off my seat. “Yeah, man Almost at Jogoo Road now. This driver here is cruising at an amazingly slow speed, I’m literary watching pedestrians bypass us” everyone in the bus went dead silent. “Yeah, man, He should just get fired you know. He must be new and man!he is so boring!”

I was embarrassed enough to sit next to him.  True, the driver was almost at a point of alighting and guiding the bus by the steering wheel, but to loudly bad-mouth him in a muted bus was altogether too mean. So all this while he was just a scum?  What of the passionate phone tête-à-tête?  Did he lose his heart somewhere? Jeez! It was disappointing to know he was all that and a bag of tomatoes. I felt nauseous.

The idiot picked two more calls and angered me more. It shouldn’t have bothered me but since it did, I decided to teach him a small lesson. This always works. I pulled out my pen and notebook and started writing…very fast. Like I have been fighting the urge to write; or that I might forget to write later. I paused for a second to catch him stealing a glimpse of what I was jotting down. He was curious, a good sign. I placed my hand over my work and hid it. He gave up and sat quietly the rest of the way, hopefully wondering if I was writing about him.

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