Sunday, 28th June, 5:47 pm.
So I am stuck in this twenty-four hour, seven days a week Rongai traffic jam. I was keen to avoid the noisy buses that leave you either broke or with a headache and sometimes even both. I am short of activities to do as I wait to get home. You know how you can always come up with brilliant things to do when stuck on the road? Well, not me today. Matter of fact, I think I have exhausted every trick in the proverbial books. One time I even searched on Google ‘things to do when bored in a matatu’. Believe it or not, the list was pretty short and I exhausted it shortly afterward.
You see, I have just finished reading some blog posts from blogs I follow and quite frankly, I am tired of it. Not that any of them is boring, no. On the contrary, some of those writers are among the best I have had the privilege of encountering. You should check out people like Gertie Sheshe’s ‘in the mind of a thinker’ for example at http://gertshy.blogspot.com/2014/07/in-mind-of-thinker.html and confirm that the problem is not my choice of reads. I have to mention at this point that between three meter movements that punctuate three minute rests along a rocky road, your Smartphone is no longer as smart and reading on it is not a walk in the park.
I am on the verge of switching off my phone when I get a Whatsapp message. Normally, I would ignore it until later when I can reply and engage in a conversation or better yet, call. Not today. I am bored. In a matatu! It is the 58th minute in a 35-minute journey. So, I hit reply. Then it happens. (Please play a soundtrack that makes you wait for the ‘it’.) I assume that I am probably dreaming it up so I ignore it. (switch off the soundtrack in angrily)
The Whatsapp conversation is picking up so the replies are coming in fast. Then I notice that it was not a dream. HE IS ACTUALLY PEEKING AT MY PHONE!!! (Pause for dramatic effect) why are people so nosy? I have this thought where I want to ask him how he thinks I should reply, but I banish it as soon as it appears. There is no telling what kind of response I might get from this guy. I mean, when he is not peeking at my phone, he is eating ‘njugu’ (peanuts) (in a way meant to discourage any cockroaches that may have hopes of devouring the remnants) or successfully failing to receive a call from his Smartphone which appears to be new.
Did I mention that while he tried to pick the call, the ringtone was so loud that everyone (well almost) looked at the back seat where we sat? I could almost hear them thinking that the hideous ringtone was originating from my phone which I was still holding. My first instinct was to shout ‘si yangu wasee, ni yake!’ (It is not mine people, it is his), but that would have been pointless. I figured that I would probably never meet these people again so I might as well take one for the team. (We were reading my texts. Is that not what teams do? stuff together?)
So, what do I do? You realize I am in a dilemma. It is either I let him completely into the team, probably discuss my inbox and perhaps my Face book status update or I tell him to get something else to do. He is probably as bored as I am. The second option would have been impolite. I do not want to be impolite, it is Sunday! I am a Christian. My first option wasn’t exactly the Nobel Prize-winning idea either. As a matter of fact, upon further consideration, it is probably many light years ahead of the rest in the history of bad ideas.
I finally put my phone away and decide to stare at people inside or outside or whenever just as long as am not chatting on my phone. I begin to notice how different the people in the 61-seater matatu are. The two people to my right have struck a conversation and are just beginning to know each other. The lady’s grandfather is from Uganda. What are the odds? I decide there is no story there. And besides, I was eavesdropping. The only difference between me and the guy to my left was that one was being openly nosey.
The people seated at the seat in front of us to the right are speaking Kamba. The kid they are with is overly excited. Right before I draw my attention from them, I get a homely feeling. It is a good thing to know we are quite a number in Rongai. I realize that it is nearly time for me to alight. If I am not careful I will miss my stage. I move towards the door. I barely notice anyone else as I move there.
‘shuka na jam’ says the conductor. I do so absent-mindedly and walk home. I am too much in a hurry to tell this story. I cannot wait to get to my laptop. Only when I am about to start typing does it hit me. In the past hour or so, I thought nothing of God. So much for daily meditation! So much for having heard the last sermon on the series of meditation just this morning! It is a rude awakening. I now begin to realize that meditation upon the word of God and his providence is an intentional practice. So easy is it to think about everything else but. No, I shall not regret the time wasted, I shall rejoice in the lesson learned or at least, the message reinforced.