The Internet Is Weird

If you have been on the internet long enough, you must have had a stalker or two, or chatted up with a weird 50 something year old guy who wants you number and picture. Don’t also fool yourself that the person you are chatting with on FB/twitter or those dating sites (I know you frequent them, what’s the use denying? This is the internet, there is no judging.) I digress. What I was saying is, don’t fool yourself into believing people are who they say they are; they also rarely look like their photos.

Am watching you

That being said, most people on twitter are way cooler than F-bookers. As a general I-couldn’t-care-less-attitude, I decided to be accepting all friend requests. Immediately I did, this guy who calls himself er… Sunday Pascal sent me this message:

My name is Pascal Sunday from mombasa, my age is 28 years old and also work in mombasa. Savvyplease tell me about your self, i want to know more about you please tell me. Savvy please i want you to do something for me, savvy please help me with your mobile number if you dont mind. Savvy please dont take me wrong and understand me bad, im not a bad guy the way you think i am a good guy with my on respect. Savvy please i want to call you and hear your sweet voice, please help me with your mobile number i need your number. Savvy i dont have much more to say, all i want you to know is to know each other well and make friends. Savvy please reply thank you. Be blessed.

Be blessed? Seriously? I ROLFLMAO! Then hit “Remove Friend”.

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Wacky Wednesday

The day started great. Even a bad day starts well. I got to work in time, and met Moneyman at the stairs, waiting and watching as I walked across the expansive lobby that is the reception. He said when I reached the stairs:

“I like the way you walk. So confident.” I smiled and confidently walked up the stairs to the office. No sooner had I settled than the guys in the department across call me. Their printer is acting up.

Turns out NA was the last one to twinkle with it. For those not in the know, NA is the one to take me to lunch-that’s-now-a-dinner-maybe-breakfast-too. I give him a call. One of the worst calls I’ve made in recent times.

“Hi, Mr NA. Uliharibu printer yao.”

“What? What kind of language is that?” Mr. NA barks into the phone.

“Savvy, can you speak the correct language. We don’t use such words in the office. Go there, diagnose the problem, then call me back. Withdraw those words…”

And a long lecture along those lines. I was livid. This is much more than just the words, “uliharibu printer yao.”

So I found out what the problem was and called him back, this time using crisp, official language. I just wondered what was up. It’s him who brought about this nonofficial nonsense in the first place.

Anyway, he came back to the office, shamelessly eyeing me from here to Timbuktu, and then proceeded to give me a lecture on solving user problems.

Am thinking this is a power issue. He wants to make it clear who is in charge. If it’s games, we’ll play. And oh, am the one in charge. He’s the hungry one, and am the one being chased. I think I hold the Ace. I can scarcely believe am writing this.

My immediate boss is in the funeral committee of this guy who was battered to death by his wife. Irrelevant, I know. Anyway, I was taking his evening shift at work meaning I’d leave at 9pm. He’d then give me a lift home after he was through with his meeting.

As I wait for him at the security desk at the reception, the security officer on duty is one L who has been asking me to buy him lunch. I promise I’ll buy him some day. He’s busy now answering phone calls, who knew there were so many night callers?

“Place of Work, hello. May I help you?”

He also made lots of personal calls, talking for long, saying stuff like:

“You wouldn’t believe who am feeding fruits right now…” he said as he extended a plateful of assorted fruits my way.

My boss came and we left, but only managed to move for about 10 minutes before we got into the major(est) traffic jam ever! For 2 and a half hours, we were stationary for 30 min, and mobile for 30 seconds. Guys got out of their cars, and were walking up and down the road. If there was booze, we might have had a street party. This guy ahead of us goes to his booth and takes out a bottle of something fishy, and while he’s sipping, the matatu conductors get out and start making jokes about how the food will be cold by the time we got home.

Boss’ car has a TV so I watch Boston Legal. I tweet on my phone until my credit is over, and we are still not moving. AFC Leopards have just won their match against current title holder Sofapaka. I get home at midnight just in time to catch the ending of the Real Madrid Vs Lyon match and some cold supper.

Am glad the day is over. And I just became an AFC Leopards fan. Even bad days have good endings.

Fashion Writer

I settle down comfortably, wriggling in the couch trying to make my niche. Just when I have sighed internally of relief, my mother asks for a glass of water. I patiently fetch the glass and pour the water for her. I then turn to the newspapers for the last week. I flip through the political pages to find any stories that will hold my interest. I find Clay Muganda’s articles with just the right dose of satire that makes them un-put-downable. Just as am getting to the punch line, my mum requests for a book, which is within stretching distance. Patiently, I get up, hand her all books on the study table (so I don’t have to stand again) and return to find the comfortable position quite elusive.

I find Zuqka (Daily Nation) not as interesting as Pulse(The Standard Group), you must admit. The only columns worth reading are Siste’s (not always) and Pub Crawl by Full Pint (almost always). Zuqka’s take on what people are wearing does not bring anything out of the ordinary (try Pulse’s Fashion Police for a change). I look at the featured blog section, who knows, someday this blog may make it there. This Friday, it’s the Diary of a Mad Kenyan Woman.

There was no Saturday newspaper in the house, so am now catching up with the Sunday Nation. I start with Staffroom Diary– this guy makes my Sundays. Then Dr. Dawood’s Surgeon Diary, followed by the Beetle Bailey cartoon, after which I read Dr. Chris Hart’s interesting psychological take and the jokes on the same page (nothing to write home about, the jokes I mean. Sometimes I have already read them on the internet). I flip through Buzz, which is rather flat these days. Ever since KJ entered politics and with it went the ‘head-on-korishon’? page.

I usually read the column Letter from London by Gerry Loughran. It’s a great read. Having done with my regulars, I flip through the whole paper again. That is how I find myself reading this Fashion Column by Carol Odero.

Where does she find such language from? Clearly, if you are going to write a whole piece on the cocktail ring, you have to be a little innovative in coming up with catchy (if ridiculous) phrases.

“A cocktail ring is a bold declaration that says you choose what encircles your finger.” Kwani the other rings are not worn by choice?

“It glares, glints and makes absolutely no apologies while being infinitely fabulous.” What?! She’s on a roll, ladies and gentlemen.

“It’s memorability and appeal lie exclusively in its flamboyance such that you can only wear it on a strong finger.”

I get as far as “…Again, it bears a strong personality by itself and can be said to attract substantial personalities who use it to underscore their savvy…” before I wonder what I am doing reading an over-colourfully phrased article about rings. I can’t take it anymore. I remember last week’s article, and I want to quote something from it.

I open the middle pages of last weeks’ Sunday Nation. My mum has just used it I-don’t-know-for-what, damn! And of all the accumulated newspapers in the house, some from last year even, she just had to take a recent one? Too tired to google to quote the colourful phrases, I’ll just have to wait for next week’s article to see what she writes and if she is for real. To me, the articles are unreadable. What do you mean by, “It’s memorability and appeal lie exclusively in its flamboyance such that you can only wear it on a strong finger.”

Or maybe am the one who needs to upgrade my fashion sense.

Campus Drama

Let me digress a little. Comments are still off but hopefully not for long. I have just spent 15 agonizing, frustrating and excruciatingly slow minutes trying to open a single page with our free wireless internet to no avail. And to think today is the day we were finally being ISO certified. Fibre optics cannot get here fast enough. Back to the story..

There have been enquiries as to the marks on my face. And I have all kinds of answers for them. I fell down the stairs. I was having a nightmare and scratched my face in the dream. I got battered by my husband. They all mean, none of your business…so am not going to tell you the truth. I also say catfight, which people laugh off then ask, “really? Or it was a fire accident?” Actually, the truth is if it was a catfight, I was the mouse and she was the cat.

The story cannot be complete if I do not mention I spent the five day holiday counting down the days till back to school, wondering how long I could fool my family with the hair-in-my-face disguise. I got my dad fooled until the last day when he was handing me the school fees. My mum noticed on the very first evening and asked, what happened to you here? I told her I scratched myself. You know, like when you have a pimple and you work at it? Who could have bought that? Certainly not my mother who knows I never had spots or pimples on my lovely face (am allowed to be vain once in a while?).

This has to be the most awkward, humiliating moment in my campus life. In fact, in my life so far. The conversation with my mum was even worse…she came to where I was sleeping the following morning, pulled the hair from my face, and asked, “Who was beating you?” I cut out the bullshit, and told her truth. Well, most of the truth. Now let me narrate the whole truth.

Friday is here…the day we are done with exams. We have this end-of-the-semester bash planned. The finest of Russia is already bought and stocked. Thirteen litres of mixer (read soda), check. Wine to start with, check. Venue, check. Invitation list, check. Uninvited list, check. Music, check.(At this point, I need to come up with a name for him, he of the Maybe posts…let’s call him Maybe.) Maybe coming back later today, check. Phone on in case he calls, check. Last paper revised for, check. What could go wrong?

The toasting to the end of the semester must be at the beginning of the bash when everyone can swallow without pouring on themselves and talk without babbling. Except of course, no-one remembers we need a corkscrew. Suggestions include breaking the top of the bottle, to shaking it till the cork pops (we are to drink not to splash it on ourselves like we just won the Grand Prix), but eventually a nail did it. Anyhoo, we toasted to….three watchmen.

Am sure you wondered what the uninvited list is all about. Usually, after the toasting and the opening shots (literally…as in shots of , you know) and liberal amounts of soda for the teetotalers on the invited list, we call up the rest of anyone who adds fun to the bash. Which is basically our entire class. So we called up a few guys and suddenly, the janitor remembers his job not to let visitors in past 10 p.m. on the last day, a rule that is generally non-existent in the men’s hostels. The janitor refuses to let some of our friends in…and calls the three or is it four watchmen on us?

They are rude. They are brash. They want to show authority. They hate our guts. We hate theirs. Half the people are seeing 10 watchmen. The other half is seeing 9. They rest are controlling the playlist and refilling the plastic cups. Their first question is who is selling alcohol in the room. The answer would be the army. It’s cheaper there cause they don’t pay VAT? Or some other tax. That’s where you should source your firepower for a bash. After a not-so-reasonable argument with them, we move the venue…for the few who can walk anyway, to someone’s place outside the school compound.

Maybe did call and say he won’t make it today. See you next week. Miss you, bye. Helping to carry the drinks and anything else that needs moving to the new venue. Bidding off goodnight to those who can’t make the short walk.

Walking into the room…the music has been set up and the bash is underway. So I mingle here and there…lots of new faces. Some faces stand out more than others. That’s how I find myself talking to a 40-something-year old face. He stands out because he is well…white. She materializes in a blue dress besides him, with blond hair and a face I now can’t recall and tells me, “Oh, you want to talk to him? Go ahead.”

I take a sip from the cup am holding, look at him to make sure, then turn to whisper to her, “Isn’t he a bit too old?”

Okay, I was waaay out of line. But I was not prepared for what happened next. Suddenly am knocked down and am lying on my back, my drink splattered on me and the hellcat in blue is sitting on me. So stunned am I, I feel like am in a nightmare. She unsheathes the claws and has a go at my face. So ladies and gentlemen, that is how I got the marks on my face which, of course will heal and leave my lovely skin as unblemished as it was before.

Am sure you are wondering, how does her face look like? Wonder no more…because am not a fighter. Not my big mouth could save me. Not the little karate I know theoretically. Despite my argumentative nature, I have actually never fought with anyone. Not verbally, not physically. I don’t mean impersonal arguments about the circumference of the earth, or whether Africa will ever develop. I mean I have never ever had a personal argument with someone, that which brings out the insecurities and the skeletons in the closet of the enemy. And a physical one? My only defense is to freeze and think, “this isn’t happening! This isn’t happening!”

Seconds later, she was pulled off and with my raw face, I went into cry baby mode. Is it okay if I skip this part of the narration? Am sure you understand when I say I have out down enough detail to complete my humiliation. My biggest grouse was that I was going home and what was I going to tell my parents? That it being none of my business, she nevertheless overreacted and let out her violent nature?

Of course I was seething with anger, humiliation and thinking of a good revenge. It included scalding her face with hot water, to an actual homicide which I realized I couldn’t possibly pull off. It’s hard putting this episode off my mind. Good thing I don’t have to hide my face anymore because my parents know the truth anyway.

Let’s just say that campus drama is fun(ny) when it is not happening to you.