Monday, March 13, 2017

Yellow lights.

It’s hard to pee with a guy watching you, especially if you don’t know that guy and he weirdly resembles Indiana Jones but without the hat and the shady outfit. Would you pee in front of Indiana Jones? No? I didn’t think so either. Why am I realizing this now? Here is the story.

Image result for yellow street lightsIt had never occurred to me that peeing with someone watching is hard for me because, one, obviously, I would make no effort to pee in public with peeping toms all over if I had an option and second, we don’t go to washrooms to stare at people! Do we? Well, I wouldn’t do that unless I am super-duper pressed – the pee in public thing. Knees together pressed. 

But again, don’t get me wrong, I am not the kind of guy who whips out his dong in the middle of a bustling city and leans in on a lonesome back wall then walks away with a chest jutting out and whistling that annoyingly famous Bazokizo song. And what does, ‘Ilibidi niokoke ndio niwashe jiko’ mean? Anyone? 

Anyway, Nah, I don’t roll like that. I have decorum and because I’ll be a public figure someday – like and MCA; you know, one of those guys that fight with county assembly chairs, curse and call other members stupid pigs and steal our money –  and I wouldn’t want my son to read a story about me pissing on a wall in town. 

(I wouldn’t become an MCA though. Really). 

I have seen men and women do it, in public, but me? Nyet. Never. Ever. Ok, maybe once but it was kitambo and it was in the village and we can all agree that peeing in a shamba is like adding DAP fertilizer to the soil making the maize flap their wings with relish.

Childhood for me was riveted by a lot of idle time. we had too much time on our hands – our means every other tiny person in the village except Kevin because he had to grow up faster than his age to take care of his siblings – and because we never had PS4 consoles and FIFA or guts to throw tantrums at dad just to get the latest Mortal Combat; he’d skin you alive for tantrums just like any African dad solves kid issues, we found other hobbies. 

So, with the inestimable measure of time, we took up new activities every so often and those now make great memories. One of those was what I just said, taking a leak in the shamba because shambas were very far away from home and our tiny bladders could only hold in so much pee during the long trips back and forth. Sometimes we’d also defecate in the nearby forest just to help out the Nyayo government with global warming manenos by making trees grow alilo faster. Kuungana. Kufanya. Kusaidia. Kenya. And it felt good. Pooping with soft winds brushing against your butt cheeks and birds cheering you on. Magical. And Mzee Moi rewarded us with maziwa ya nyayo.

The story.

At TRM, there’s a cleaning guy that stands really close to the urinal because I guess his boss told him to because then if he were just trying to study people’s faces when they are doing their thing that would be really creepy of him. This particular day I was coming from town. A bit later than usual so my evening pee time had passed already. I was pressed. I made that walk cum run that pressed people do while squashing shoulders with mechanics sprawling the left-side walkway outside the mall’s gate, trying not to step over the laid-out merchandise that suspiciously good looking guys sell to USIU chics. Such a short distance can be astonishingly far when you need to go. I remember I literary run directly from the mathree to the washrooms. 

Thinking back, I was somehow all good while seated. Kwanza I found the first nose-ring that looked interesting to me. it somehow got the point home of why those things are supposed to be cool. There was this chile who sat beside me; hotter than Nairobi’s sun. She wore the nose ring and maybe that doesn’t matter much but just thought you should know it looked good on her. The ka-nose ring kinda intrigued me in that sense. Although I can’t marry someone with a nose ring ata kama I hear they breathe in more air than the rest of us and that could be a good thing. 

Yeah. So, I was good all the way but then as soon as my feet hit the ground I felt like I had no other choice than to let go right there and then. I chose to run.

I found the cleaning guy. He’s always there and I know this because I use TRM as my backyard. If you google random pics of that mall you’d sure see me in one. The guy stared as I did my thing and I looked right ahead distinctly; avoiding eye contact. Is it legal to even do that? To stare in that situation? I had to like look ahead for the nini to come flowing out. I like doing it privately. We all do, and hence my little rant. That’s where I had my epiphany sort of about peeing in front of an active onlooker. The guy eye-tailed me to the sinks and so just to annoy him I stayed extra-long at the hand dryer and made enough noise to annoy him. No regrets. 

End of pee manenos.

You could see the relief in my face as I walked out, not even walk, more like bounce out. Almost that feeling when you are driving – not a car – then you find a toilet or a bush. Nothing tops the deep breathe that surrounds the relief besides my imaginary tete-a-tete with a lover on a patio or balcony over a sundowner watching the sun disappear. 

Then I stepped out into the clear night sky of Nairobi. At this time of the year clouds usually hide and let the sun burn our foreheads with the valour of Zulu warriors or freshly cut Maasai men.
The nights are however better because stars are visible and it is just the right amount of cold to sit outside and watch miles of darkness without waking up with a croaky voice and a congested chest. 

Now, you have to understand that being a writer there are two things that keep me awake; the whizzing sounds of deadlines as they approach and the rush to taste life in the minute and in retrospect as I type words away. 

As I ambled out, I was stunned at the beauty in the skies; the lights fighting off the darkness and interlocking patterns of bright and dark patches made by the yellowish street lights. In that moment, I wanted to write. Words that stealth in on such occasions would take hours of staring at the wall to find. (Staring at the wall is a ‘fire’ move for writers).

The lights stared down at me as I went by, lost in thoughts and words throttling crazily in my head. I could hear my steps in the dark as my shoes fluffed and brushed off against the dusty pavements. I had happy thoughts. About the stars. Asking why they never use mutura on pizza but dare to use pineapples instead. Wondering if indeed mermaids are real? (I googled this later and they are actually not real). About girls. Good manly thoughts you know. I kept playing with the lights by stepping on and off the alternating dark patches and bright patches. I stepped over the bright ones and avoided the dark ones. Just in case the dark ones hid scary monsters beneath them. (I know what you’re thinking. No, I am not superstitious. A little paranoid maybe).

Few steps over and I got bored and reverted to walking like a normal person. Then in a dark corner, with a dwindled malfunctioning light, there was giggling, muffed out laughter, and coughing and the chocking smell of cigarettes. 

I wouldn’t have been bothered if it was a middle-aged man from an apartment in the vicinity blowing off steam whilst hiding from a nagging wife. I was bothered because the smokers were a pack of girls barely sixteen, or so I thought based on my degree in age determination and guessing. That’s my definition of a gore image. Small drunk people in crop tops (I finally know the name of those tiny things that leave the stomach out), pants that barely fit and big shoes smoking cigarettes. Gore not for the dressing but for the vanity in their behavior. The emptiness in their actions.

I swallowed hard at the thought of my daughter turning up that wicked. I could feel my heart in my shoes; it sank so deep. I know I am an irresponsible – considerably – young adult but then shit like that isn’t – shouldn’t be – funny to anyone. Nonetheless, I just did one more of those ‘wtf’ moments and like a domestic duck in an eerie forest river, I waded on. 

“Who watches over them?”, I kept probing in my head. As they puff the smoke into the darkness does it ride off with a part of their dreams? Do they have dreams?

At least I knew the lights would make it easy for them to find their way home. Their dark lungs would get to see another day. 

The lights definitely get everyone home in this big city.

Those big yellow lights.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, not trolling...but now that I stumbled (quite literally) on your blog, I'll probably read every post. I love this one too! I should subscribe..