First pregnant women and now trolls

A few weeks back, I confronted a makanga. Last week, I argued with a pregnant lady. And yesterday I fought with a troll. It’s a descending spiral of violence assertiveness, and I suppose I should have known better. The first rule of the internet is not to respond to the %£$%$^$&^%$&£ but he rubbed me the wrong way, and he was really, really annoying.

The first time he spoke, I sat on it for a few days, then responded through somebody else.  See, the troll had kicked up some stirring, and the new guy hit me in response, so I swiped them both with one broomstick. I ended yelling at the wrong person, who, by the way, was mature enough to apologise. The troll, on the other hand, just kept on pushing. Some people are just built that way.

The next time he posted, it wasn’t directed at me, so I just nkted, tsk tsked, highlighted the nut, and went on with my day. But the third time he did it, it made me so mad that I went onto Gmail and repeatedly called him a name. The name was idiot. I felt my sentiments were strong and that I should direct them in person, rather than catfighting in public for all the web to see.


Mr Troll chose to be offended, and suggested I should express my sentiments on the wall instead of posting them on email. [Can you say facebook?] Now, if I called you an idiot in private, why would you want me to repeat it in public?

Trolls are all about attention. They want you to get up and yell. After all, if you argue with a madman, no one can tell the difference. It’s like the story of a guy who jumps into a river. While he’s swimming, a crazy person comes and grabs his clothes. The naked swimmer then jumps out of the pool and sprints after the crazy guy who’s holding his clothes. When people look, they don’t see a man stealing clothes. They see a crazy naked dude harassing Millicent Bystander.

So really, attacking a troll is futile at best and ridiculous at worst. Still I took the bait and exchanged a couple of emails, then told him to go away, because he was messing with my kharma.

He didn’t go away. He quoted William Ruto. Like seriously? I call you an idiot and you respond by quoting William Ruto? Seriously?!

Now, in all honesty, I should know better than to talk back to a troll. The best approach is usually to ignore them. But I have to admit, it felt pretty good to fight back. It didn’t achieve anything, because an idiot is an idiot and a troll is a troll. Still, it felt good to stand up for myself. Granted, it’s far more empowering to break the brother’s nose, but I could get arrested for that. Plus, I punch like a girl.

After the exchange, the troll dared me to paste the conversation online, word-for-word, just to be sure I don’t give a biased viewpoint. I’m still thinking about that. But by the time he made that ‘request’, I’d gotten all the piss out of my system and could hardly be bothered to swat the fly away. So I just said ‘hmph’ and moved on to my next email.

Is there a lesson in all this? I’m not entirely sure. I guess I’m getting bolder, or maybe I’m getting older. I admit the war of words was childish, but it felt good, and I feel achoven. I’ve always said people shouldn’t mess with CB, and I guess I’m finally walking the walk. I don’t know whether or not such sagas will end well, but I’m feeling pretty good right now.

Now I just need to stop punching like a girl.

Sound of pulling heaven down Blue October


Public transport and the bully mentality

Today I fought a makanga. I’ve never done that before. Well actually, I have, but that time doesn’t count, because the makanga was fighting my date and he tried to drag my baby into it. Nobody drags my baby into anything!

Today was different. I was trying to get to Ngong, so I decided to use the Karen route. I had budgetted my transport, because it was a one hour errand, so I just carried enough to get to Ngong and back. I didn’t even carry my wallet or ID.

So when the matatu got to Bomas and the makanga suggested that all Karen bound passengers get off, I wasn’t amused. He asked me to pay the full fare, but my hackles went up, so he let me pay half.

The makangas at Bomas then swarmed around me yelling fares and trying to drag me to their cars. They were all charging more than I had, so I stood there fuming while I considered screwing the errand and simply heading back home.

Then this strange creature walked up to me – a polite makanga! It’s like a green headed unicorn or something. He saw the look on my face and asked what was up, so I explained that I didn’t have enough fare because of the first matatu. He offered to get me where I was going on what I had, so I smiled and went to his car.

That’s when the other makanga showed up yelling that I enter his matatu instead, because he had more passengers. The one I was heading towards was empty. I ignored him.

He then got upset and said something that implied I was arrogant and dumb. His exact words were something like, ‘Get in that empty car if you think you’re so smart. You’ll take years to get where you’re going.’ In sheng, of course. ‘Ingia hiyo gari kama unajiona mjanja.’ His tone said a lot more.

Anyone that knows me knows there are three ways to piss me off: lie to me, mess with my child, or insult my intelligence.

I’m not sure what got into me, but I got out of the car, walked back to the makanga, and asked him why he was picking on me. I’d have liked to use a calm Darius Stone approach, but I was pretty pissed, so I ended up in 250-words-a-minute-trembling-arms-and raising-fists-mode instead. I should have kept my mouth shut and knocked his teeth out.

I didn’t notice what a scene I’d caused until I got back into the car and noticed people staring at me. As I sat calming my pulse and waiting for the matatu to fill up, I started thinking. This is why I hate losing my temper. When the anger fades, I’m left with this still sadness, this vacuum of regret. I stared out of the window counting, breathing, and I noticed the furious makanga sneering at me and calling me a … name … as his matatu drove away.

I started to wonder why I had confronted him. I was clearly projecting, it wasn’t really about him. It was about the first makanga who’d dropped me miles from my destination. I never fight with makangas because I don’t think it makes a difference. You yell at them, they call you a name, they go harass someone else. It’s futile. Truth is … I’m afraid of causing a scene, or of what the makanga might do.

But then I realised something. When you yell at them they lash back. And that means you struck a nerve. Logic suggests that if you confront a makanga and he goes quiet or apologises, then you’ve succeeded. But sometimes, if he hits back, and tries to draw other people into the argument, you may have scored more than if he had just stayed quiet.

A bully picks on people because he feels inferior. A makanga imagines that you have deep contempt for him, so he battles his feelings by being a pest, just like a watchman does. Sometimes, this contempt is all in their minds, but many times it’s not.

So when a makanga attacks you, and you hit back, and he retorts, it means you’ve burnt him deep. He has to rally support to prove himself right, so he mouths off to everyone around him, and sneers as he drives away. It’s a parting shot.

Later in the day, I got swarmed by makangas, and tried to defend myself, but they were yelling too  loud for me to be heard, so I ignored them, walked to the far side, and got into one matatu whose makanga seemed reasonable. Until he dumped me at the wrong stage. Again.

I started to protest, this time in a calm, defeated voice. I just couldn’t see the point. I actually considered walking, but another makanga took me home at half price.

Thinking about it now, it seems like so much wasted energy. Twice I confronted bullies, and twice I got nowhere. At least I met two polite makangas who made my day and saved me from two really long walks. And when I got onto a matatu with two rough scary-looking female makangas,  instead of the bile I usually get from women, they were extremely respectful and even called me Madame. I couldn’t help thanking them when I got off.

As for the bully situation, I whined to my better half about it and he said, ‘The result doesn’t matter. You stood up for yourself,  and I’m proud of you.’

Three things.

  1. I have the awesomest better half in the world.
  2. I’m pretty proud of me too.
  3. I still wish I’d knocked that idiot’s teeth out. Oh well. Maybe next time.