(start from here The Chase: Part One) ok. Read on…
…You keep staring. It keeps dawning. The city keeps coming to life minute after second. Activities pick up at a speed that makes you feel life has wasted you or is it you who has wasted life? Kids in boring uniform walking to school. The bodaboda guys ferrying people. Yellow buses aboard advantaged big bodied kids heading to school; buses and matatus like the one you are in stuck in stagnant traffic. The atmosphere virgin of only hope; people on board hell silent like a deserted cemetery. Some with earphones daggling from their ears, others fumbling on their smart phones and a fair majority deep a sleep. You look at the sleeping ones in glances, no one of them cares. Its like you are the only one who gives a damn care that they exist. The teenager with shabby hair walks along the aisle tapping people here and there exchanging cash for receipts. It makes money loose the might; like the only thing it can buy you is a piece of paper on a morning bus from a boy who dropped out of school to follow money. Just a mile ahead some boy of eighteen gets in with loads of airtime and sweets. No one buys. Who buys sweets in the morning? He gets out hope still evident on his face, only that you think otherwise of him. Some old age dark skinned man in a suit un-kept with a rosary dangling from his neck jolts from the front seat. He has a bible in his hand. Its Monday morning. “Another Summon?” You switch off
The journey has taken longer than it does usually, theirs some minor accident along the road which intensified the snarl up. Some vehicles from the opposite directions kissed by the front lights. It eases up and you move past the large towering road side billboard inscribed “We are the chosen Generation; Blaze by Safaricom”. It sways into the two way street that leads into the central business district starting from the flowery round-about. The street is planted on both sides by street-light poles with advertising signage. “Forget about land, everyone is selling but who is buying? Advertising looks like it’s the in-thing. Look they even advertise the lands for sale” Some inner voice speaks in you.
It is in town that it seems like everyone woke up earlier than you. No wait, did they even ever go home to sleep to start with. We are a twenty-four hour economy already. I thought that was part of the “vision 2030” thing? It’s confusing. You alight (sorry does boarding out apply?) into the buzzing city life. Everyone walks like time is their biggest concern after Isis of course. Its either they are late or they are rushing up to beat lateness. You walk on past shout-y touts, across closed bars past full to the brim restaurants across opening up stalls and past drones of street vendors. You don’t buy newspapers but people buy anyway. You walk into a middle-tier restaurant tucked down of Tom-Mboya. It takes you a whooping ten minutes reading the menu like its adman novel on “Understanding Women” written by Daniel freaking Beigner! Sorry his book should read “What women want” But who ever understands what women need? “The prices though,” you whisper and stare up to the fixated eyes of a tiny-framed waitress; she is brown and slender-Sounds like she missed out on some modeling auditions and ended up over here the next day.
You make haste to your work station. You have heard loads of narratives of employees who were shown the door for reasons as petty as being late for duty. You are sure you don’t want to be part of the statistics. That American joke floods your mind “let me teach you some economics , a recession is when your neighbor looses his job. A depression is when you lose yours and a recovery is when Jimmy Carter (insert the presidents name) looses his” You walk in past the doubting guards at the main entrance. The ones who appear like this work thing was all but imposed on them and like they will be the first ones to take off incase the trouble they are guarding against shows up in person. They no longer frisk you. You have been passing them at the same spot two years now. The deal breaker though is, sometimes when the lords spare you some coins you drop them into their hands on you way in.
Job is boring but you have to work your ass out to run the bills just as half of the country by statistics does. You work because you don’t want the bills running you, you want t o run them like areal boss only that you don’t understand this is the other way round. Your passion you will come to realize is in community service. Does community service pay? Yes. No. I doubt. Personally I have always thought community service is a creation for retirees_ those old guys who have spent 60 years of their lives serving the government and half of that demonstrating in the streets for a damn pay rise that was never granted.
You will leave the office at one point to pass by the bank for some service. The queues at the place will be exasperating. You will keep glancing at your wrist watch hoping perhaps that will raise an alarm and the bank manager will realize you are in such a harry to get out of that place. I mean you have a job to keep! In your own wisdom, you imagine he will leave his work desk and walk personally to you and offer to serve you at the corporate lounge upstairs. Boy how I wish somebody clarified to you that, that room upstairs is marked but unseen “high-net worth individuals” To sound a little more specific, they are the lot who made their fortune long before you were born. More of the crème dela creme that keeps the bank running. Their presence and aura smells of sophistication. You know the smell of money? The rest of you if anything, all you add up for is the lately hyped game of numbers. You realize everyone needs numbers and politicians especially need them desperately.
Next you’ll have to skip lunch for reasons economical but convince your mind and everyone else who gives a damn that its because of your waistline. Comrade, you are a boy. Waistline issues are for girls, period! You will utilize that lunch hour break to rush settle water and power bills where you will queue like forever. Your aunt doesn’t like the city, she says and supports it with the damn fact that in the city you have to pay for entirely everything; Water, power and even somewhere to relieve yourself!. Its end month and the bills are on your neck like its some pay time from hell.
In the evening just as you are about to hit home you will go to the supermarket. It will take you some time walking past the shelves comparing the prices with your local kiosk- where you resort to when the month is in the corner. You will pick a few stuff and find the pay counter. Often are times you will find yourself on that queue denoted “less than five items” because seldom do you shop in bulk. It surprises that you are many on that not so lonely queue. You mind thinks of the whole lot of you. You are the struggling chaps you think. Yes, you who cant pick more than five items from the shelves but whatever little you pick, you pay proudly as you stare the rest of them with envy. After all you are paying for the sins of our fathers. As their peers were coughing the public coffers dry and grabbing lands, all they did was sing along Daddy Owen “its all Vanity” and wait to inherit us their poverty. They were all duped into thinking that Ringtones jam “tenda wema nenda zako” was a reality. Poor them. Poor us.
Published by Winston Tony