Running late sucks. Especially when you’re in a bus that keeps stopping at every stage, and the driver is so casual!! Then you calm down and realize that if you didn’t snooze your alarm three times, you’d have been on time, so you choose to fidget instead and take a motorbike when you get to the road leading to your destination. Maybe if you have to pay for the nduthi, then it will teach you a lesson on how being late is costly, and it’ll save you time.
If you haven’t taken a motorbike ride before, you will find the bargaining process interesting. The rider exaggerates the distances depending on how desperate your demeanor is, and you downplay the distance based on how slow business looks. In my case last Saturday, I was winning the price war because ‘it was just here’ and he would be ‘back in no time’. I like the wind in my hair when I’m on a bike, ha! Wind in my hair, like I have Caucasian hair and it blows through my hair like a new blow drier would. My hair is kinky and coming to think of it, I just have the wind blowing through the sides of my face, not in my hair. Luckily for my kinky hair and I, we got to the place on time and I forgot how flustered I was a few minutes ago.
I was going to help set up a showcase event, at a golf club in one of the leafy parts of Nairobi. Why do they call posh places ‘leafy’ btw? I think it’s because you need abundance to keep certain things in your posession. Trees. Horses. Lugers. Water bodies. Fine china. Vaults with diamonds in them. Abundance, not just money in okay amounts, because when you’re in a fix and you have acres of land with trees, it’s hard to overcome the urge to bring down the trees and bring up apartments or stalls. And so I was in a place where people have things in abundance, and they weren’t afraid to show it. Mercedes Benzs in the parking lots. Piere Cardin cardigans to keep away the cold. Davidoff scents on their skin. Apple Inc on their palms. Generally, abundance on display.
I was upstairs, looking out into the course. People chasing little balls, dressed immaculately, club rules dictating what is allowed, and what isn’t. Caddies tugging at the golf clubs, choosing which club for sand, which for the rough part of the green, and which one for the part of the course that looks so well-done that you feel people shouldn’t walk on it, it should only go into making photo shoots. Money is a goo thing, it brings you people to set up your décor, wakes them up at ungodly hours, haves them shower in cold water, then bargain with motor bike riders while wondering what makes your ‘local’ so posh and leafy. You sit in the sun, table set, tucking into a sumptuous meal, the sunshine in the distance, the scenery looking like something that would go into a postcard, slow, classical music playing in the background. Upstairs, a young man in a checked shirt with rolled-up sleeves gazes into the distance, wowed by the splendor of the estate, the sheer size, the tranquility, the beauty of it, the order. Unlike the chaos, the depravity, the smallness, the grotesqueness that he is used to. You don’t notice him, looking sharp in your white polo shirt, your black leather belt, khaki pants and black golf Nikes.
I looked out into the room and took a picture to show my friends what we can arrive at if we work for it. It broke me also to imagine how different it is outside these well-kept lawns, the hearty laughs, the flowing fountains, the beaming smiles. I didn’t take a nduthi back to the stage. I walked. Took in the smells. Freshly cut grass, newly-opened wine, real leather upholstery. I took in the sights. Tall trees swaying in the wind, bright orange tiles to keep the cacophony of rain away, sleek foreign engines in the parking lot. I took in the sounds. The joys of deals completed. The shrieks of friends just-reunited, the constant, assuring beep of live electric fences.
I still need to take in the value of waking up at first-call, until then I’ll keep bargaining for a nduthi.