I have always been the girl who has always been lucky enough to never get rained on in town, or anywhere else for that matter. I always make it to my desired destination minutes before it rains or immediately after the pour. I have never been caught up in a rainy situation; or rather, I cannot recall ever being in one. Because of this, I have perpetually taken the rain matter very lightly. I mean, I am that girl, the lucky one.
So, on a certain Tuesday evening two weeks ago, I prepared to leave the house to head to CBD for a meet-up. The clouds outside were clearly giving a big red warning signal, but I was comfortable. I would make it before or after the pour, never in between. I put on jeans and threw on a trench coat and headed out. Umbrella? No thanks, I don’t need one. I boarded one of those Royal Matatus, Embakasi route, that are always loud, reckless and rogue. Matatu drivers and conductors really do give their cars personality. If they were people, Double Ms would be the cool collected mature gentlemen who care for you, and Royal would be the juvenile bad boys that promise you thrill and at the end of the thrilling ride you leave with a broken heart, not leg or hand.
We get to town and lucky girl is not so lucky anymore because it is pouring heavily. And it is around 6;30 in the evening, if you live around Emba you know what the stage becomes every week day evening. It is flooded with people on the pavements, aside from the water on the road, which you are just never sure what kind of filth they are carrying with them. These people are so many, and because it is raining and everyone wants to get home, they have lost all order. It is in such situations that you get to see what kind of animal is hiding behind every human. They look like hungry hyenas scanning around for prey. And what is the prey? This careless bad boy we are in.
The moment we stopped these people ran to the car and threw themselves at the door wanting to get in despite the fact that none of us inside had gotten out. They were screaming and shouting, their faces have these weird expressions you never see on any other ordinary day, they were clawing themselves in, their clothes were even coming off. It felt like a scene right out of a zombie movie. We, being the human beings under attack.
I sat there and just laughed. Looking outside, staying in the car and just going back home seemed like a good idea, but I decided to disembark. Why? Because I wanted a story to blog about *smiles*. I held on to my bag, made sure my phone and money were safe and headed to the door like a gladiator approaching his opponent.
Thing about being a nice girl, is you never know what you are capable of. I got to the door; it was a nasty blood bath. Nasty, my friend. Nasty oooo! Just to add that Nigerian drama. The picture of this particular lady has actually decided not to leave my head. She was outside pushing and shoving like her life depended on it, her weave was coming off. Weave people, not wig. Those things are sewn to your hair, right? She was screaming so loudly, she was pulling people from all sides. I really began to question her sanity. And that was what I was walking towards.
Well, I managed to force my way through pushing, though half the time I was depending on this huge bulky guy who was in front of me. A couple of times I wanted to jump on his back and just have him do all the work. It was like a war. Take down the enemy in front of you. We moved until we came face to face with the psycho weave lady. I do not know how but I pushed and in minutes, I was out of that commotion. Talk about the object of your fear motivating you.
I ran to the pavement where the remaining people who knew had no chance of succeeding at this mwenye nguvu mpishe (let he who is strong pass) game stood. They looked so depressed and miserable and dejected and unhappy. You could almost hear their hearts weeping. It was a pathetic sight but I wanted to laugh. It was crazy. They were sad but angry. I mean, I asked a certain lady to move so I could pass she gave me a vexed look I wanted to slowly fade away into the background.
Fast forward to around 8:00 o’clock in the evening. I am done with what I wanted to do and now I am heading home. I have with me an Umbrella that I bought earlier. Those long umbrellas that turn themselves to walking sticks even when you do not need one. It had stopped raining, just a little drizzle. The stage now looked orderly. People had finally decided to form a line. Just that it was quite long, but at least there was one. I took my position after a tall elderly man and waited. I knew we would wait for at least an hour and a half before we finally sit in a Matatu. This one has the personality of the ordinary man just trying to get ahead of the rat race. Nothing so special is going on for him.
One and a half hours go down and I am still standing at the same spot. I begin to get anxious now but I give myself another hour before I could let my anxiety get to the full-blown level. It was also beginning to pour again. Great. Another hour down, no Matatu. Now I was really anxious. It was so cold and so wet, my shoes were soaked in water my hands were freezing. I was sharing my umbrella with the elderly man and for some reason we were still getting rained on. It clocked to 10:00 pm. I was still on that same spot of the line. The other stages, as I looked around are now empty. Very few Matatus were hovering around.
10:30pm. The Tuskys Supermarket that is there switches off its lights. That just sank it deeper how alone we were and how we might just have to wait until midnight, and who knew what kind of traffic was still expecting us. I noticed a guy kept on staring at me and I think it is because I looked like I just wanted to cry. It was now my turn to wear that depressed dejected expression.
11:00 p.m. Emotional status: Asking myself why I alighted that Royal Matatu earlier. We were so many it was not funny. Even if a Matatu came we would have to fight. I knew deep down people were just standing in a line for the sake of it. The animal in them had already awakened. It was so bad, Matatus that go to Kiambu started making us offers, but they only offered to carry for half the distance. That was worse, because if we did go with them, we would still have to wait for a Matatu again.
11:30 p.m. The war started. Three Matatus came. I was so charged I was not going to hold back. I headed for one and I shoved my way in. I had already given up on the umbrella that I bought. All I wanted at that moment was my bed. I was so exasperated.
12:00p.m Made it safely to the house. It was quite an experience.