Recently Eve and I went to the big city for a wedding. That’s it. That’s the story. At least that would be the story if I were telling this to you in person but this is prose so I have to pepper it with details to keep you interested.
So let’s talk about plums.
I am not a big fan of plums, to be honest. They’re okay but if they happen to disappear from the world I wouldn’t mind. I’m not Zesta. But my travel companions on that Friday would beg to differ. As we approached Limuru, or Kimende, or Kinungi (I never know where I am when I’m in a matatu), we encountered some fruit vendors with tons of plums. Ha! It’s funny since they were all male. They swarmed the outside of the car like zombies in a Resident Evil movie.
“Plums ni 50!”
“Brathe, brathe, nunua na bei poa.”
I try to always be polite to these guys so I smile (I don’t know if they saw this under the mask) and decline their offers to buy fruit I don’t like. They retreat one by one like the Pharisees when Jesus told them that “He without sin” thing. But there was this one guy who hung on. He was persistent. He was young. Rambunctious. He had on a proud purple t-shirt with a gaping hole along the side exposing his ribs. He missed his calling, he should have been selling insurance. Still, I didn’t buy anything from him even as he tried to outrun the car for a sale.
He had big plums.
After that, we spent some time on Waiyaki Way.
But Mark, I thought you said you never know where you are when you’re in a matatu?
Yes, I did say that.
Then how come you knew when you were on Waiyaki Way?
Well, it’s because there are signs.
Anyway, we were on Waiyaki Way which at that point was almost a river. I saw several cars struggling along and even witnessed some violently dipping into and inching slowly out of a porthole cleverly disguised as an ordinary puddle. It made me sad. But not that much.
An hour in traffic later, we got to the CBD. You know that feeling when you’ve been sitting for so long that you forget you have legs? I had that. Usually, to relieve myself of this I walk and I walk fast. But I had my wife with me so I had to pace myself to let her keep up. Lord knows I don’t like to stand still in Nairobi but Eve has dainty steps and I enjoy not being yelled at so…
This Little Light of Mine
Have I mentioned that at that point in time, we were looking for a desk lamp? A reading light. Apparently, in Nakuru -large as it is- we could not for the life of us find a single store that sold desk lamps. Bedside table lamps, sure but reading lamps? Nope. I was mad about this. Seething even. How could an entire city not have lamps?
But alas! The same was replicated in the Capital. Do people not read? Dear Jesus!
We hopped in and out of almost every store that sold electrical products but to no avail. I eventually found one at Carrefour (on the day of the wedding) but that doesn’t have to do with plums so…
We got on a bus to take us home – to my parents’ house very far away. In that bus, a man wearing a light purple suit (lavender? lilac?) stood up halfway into the journey and started preaching. This is what he said, word for word:
“The Bible says in John 1 Verse 1, ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.’ This means that in the beginning was the Word. The Word was in the beginning. But this Word was God. So God is the Word. In the beginning, was God. The Word was God.”
He did this for almost fifteen minutes and we were helpless to stop him rolling along Mombasa road drinking in the dust of Syokimau. The man remixed John 1:1 in all its possible permutations. Then he wanted us to pray or rather he wanted to pray for us and all but physically forced one young man to remove his cap so he could pray. As if God is incapable of hearing prayer if you have a hat on. Like He wasn’t there when hats were made.
Anyway, guess what the lilac-clad mad did after this. Come on guess.
He asked for an offering!
He basically hijacked our trip with a whack sermon and then had the audacity to ask for an offering. And some people actually gave him something! Aaaah! I’m screaming!
He had some gigantic plums. It should have been obvious since he needed some to go round in that hideous suit.
On the bright side though, this incident gave me a life hack. If you ever run out of money and you need to get home on a bus, pretend you are a pastor. I’m sure you can remix John 1:1 if you wanted to. It would help if you start carrying a Bible around the way I carry a notebook (and now a sketchbook). Make sure it’s a big Bible, preferably hardcover. Preach your sermon and ask for alms. Some bus routes may even allow you to preach for free because they are helping “The Lord’s work”.
A Fairytale Ending
The biggest set of plums that weekend was hanging off an oriental man (that’s what I call people from Eastleigh). I shall dub this man the name Hassan (you’ll see why soon).
Eve and I were on our way back to Nakuru. We got into a 2NK matatu and Hassan got in with us. He sat in the very front seat sandwiching a lady (not from the orient) between him and the driver. The drive out of the CBD was uneventful, thank God, but once we reached Waiyaki Way, Hassan spat out a huge wad of something from his trachea. That man spat out a trail of sputum from Westlands to Nakuru and may have single handedly spread that flu that’s been going around. It was like he wanted a trail to follow back. It was disgusting.
But Mark, why didn’t you guys stop him?
Well, reader, I am a conflict avoider. Always have been. Ask the other passengers. Ask the driver!
Well, I don’t even know how to end this post but I will say that Hassan and Gretel is not a fairytale I ever want to experience ever again.
Anyway, the entire reason I wrote this was so I could vent out my one frustration about the wedding. At the reception, the caterers had laid out one snazzy dessert display that included these beautiful-looking grapes. You know, the seedless ones? They looked like that. And because I thoroughly enjoy grapes, I piled them on my plate only to discover later that they weren’t grapes at all. They were plums! The deception!
I hope they enjoy the Lake of Fire!