Coloured sunglasses

This morning, I wrote a long letter that I’ve been meaning to write. It took me about five hours, and as I typed, I looked back over two years of my life. It was a bit like being in my own pensieve, except I didn’t notice the effect until after I was done.

When I finished writing, I felt tired. I tried to shake it off with a hot shower, but there’s no water in the taps. Fcuk. I remember reading about catharsis, or rather, the false lure of catharsis. Pop psychology tells us letting things out will make us feel better. The article claims that assumption is wrong, and I agree. Reliving the pain didn’t dull it or take it away. It just stung more.

I went onto my Twitter timeline to cheer up, but every link I clicked on felt sad and hollow. I can’t tell if the work was bad or whether I was looking at them through doom-coloured glasses. I’m glad I wrote that letter, but I wish didn’t feel so awful after the fact. It forced me to look at my past, and to wonder who really was to blame. It all made me very, very sad.

Yesterday, as I was going to the kitchen for something or other, I saw Princess change the channel. She usually does that when she’s watching something I don’t want her to see. Before I could ask, she explained.

“Mummy, that one isn’t for you. Utaanza kuwikawika hapa.”


“The crazy boys have raped Donna. Don’t worry, I didn’t see them removing her clothes. But I don’t want you to watch. You’ll start crying crying over here.”

I couldn’t move for a while. She risked putting the show back on and I saw Ira all bandaged up and trying to console Donna, who had literally frozen from the trauma of gang rape. Princess was watching, unperturbed. She’s 8.

“Why do you like watching those things?”

“It’s not real. It’s acting.”

“But si it can happen in real life?”

“No! If boys try to rape me, I’ll kick them and choma them with paraffin.”


“You see mum! That’s why I didn’t want you to watch. I knew you would start crying-crying.”

I’m sensitive to rape. Very sensitive. Even fictional rape will haunt me for ages, so I can never watch Don’t mess with an Angel and those two scenes in The Book of Eli had me sobbing and shaking convulsively. My little girl knows this. I’m not sure how she knows it. I must have lectured her about it. I tell her almost every day not to take sweets from strangers or to let boys force her, but I’ve never used the word rape.

I didn’t get to the kitchen. I went back to my room all zombified. I couldn’t understand how my little girl decides that soaps are fiction but adverts are real. I remember her telling me to buy a ceiling fan, a big basin, and Sunlight 2-in-1 so that she could blow bubbles and make them into flowers like the ad. I tried explaining that it wasn’t real, but she said we should prove it by trying.

It’s an interesting world where children believe in ads more than they do in fiction. I’m pretty sure I was the other way around. I’m flattered – in a way – that my baby wants to protect me. Like many other things between us, it makes me wonder who’s the adult and who’s the kid. And I suppose my mood right now could be as much from the gang rape as it is from my letter.

Or maybe it’s just PMS. I wish I could curl up in a corner and just wait for it to pass.

Man, I feel like a man!!

Part 1: The Quest

“What’s wrong?”


“Something’s wrong.”


“I’m looking at your face and you’re miserable, so something is wrong.”


Part 2: The Guessing Games

“Is it the black flask?”


“You don’t like it?”


“Why not?”


“Well you have to use it. You broke the two others ones and I don’t get paid until next week.”


Part 3: The Climax

“You still look upset.”

“I’m fine.”

“You are not fine. I’m looking at your face and you are not fine.”

“It’s nothing.”

*Groan* “Is it the blue sweater?”


“You don’t like it?”


“Why not?”


“You just said you don’t like it! You can’t dislike your sweater because of nothing!?!”

“It’s the wrong colour.”

“No it’s not. It matches your uniform perfectly.”

“I can wear pink.”

“The teacher said no pink. Utakatazwa.”



“I just don’t like it.”




“Okay, what’s the real reason?”

“My friends laugh at me. They say I look like a baby in that sweater.”

*Sigh* “Would you rather be laughed at or freeze to death?”


*GOD!!* “Okay fine, wear the other blue sweater.”


“Oh what now?!”


*Sigh*russumfussumherewegoagain*Double Sigh* “You don’t like it?”






*russumfussumifyousaynothing onemoretimei’ll…* “You can’t say you don’t like it because of nothing.”



The genesis of my morning bluesy war with Princess is that I forgot to wash her favourite school sweater, so she needs substitute, and she doesn’t like anything on offer. Or maybe it’s just PMS, who knows. But after that exchange, she tried to pacify me by asking for an extra slice of bread. [She’s a lousy eater, so asking for seconds = one happy mummy.] She declared that I’m very good at paka-ing Blueband. Except the slice in question had jam. She then curled up in a corner of the sofa for a power nap while we waited for the school bus to come.

Yes, she wore the offending sweater. I can’t be sure she didn’t yank it off as soon as she got inside the bus. Now, three things:

  1. There are days when I wish my little girl was a little less like me.
  2. I have a whole new respect for dudes who put up with this nonsense every day. How many times can a girl say ‘nothing’ before you dump a heavy bucket on her head?
  3. My gorgeous angel baby girl is going to give some poor sod hell someday. If he lives, I will gladly pay him dowry. If he lives.

Can PMS be banned from the office?

I had a 9.00 o’clock meeting today, and I didn’t want to be late, so I left the house at 7.00. I figured the rain would aggravate traffic, and since I needed two matatus, it was better to start early.

By the time I got the message that the meeting was cancelled, I was at Wilson Airport and it was too late to turn back, so I sat in the jam an hour longer then decided to get a power sandwich since I’d skipped breakfast.

I’d skipped the gym as well, so I thought it would be cool to walk to Uchumi Hyper. The drizzle was slight, but I had some good music [Yay X-Fm] and a warm red jumper.

When I finally got to Uchumi, it was barely open and the sandwich people were running around trying to set up. There were lots of clients waiting, so I hovered near the artificial queue.

After maybe ten minutes, I stepped aside to receive a phone call, and when I was done, the queue was gone – yay! So I stood by the sandwich place waiting to be served. For fifteen minutes.

Well, maybe not fifteen, but it felt pretty long. I wanted to walk away once or twice, but I was badly craving that sandwich.

I don’t know why I wasn’t being served. The sandwich people were huddled in a corner, and they kept walking up to me then totally ignoring me. I suspect it was my posture – I had my shoulders slumped, I was lost in the music, my head was down, I was semi-daydreaming, and I was dealing with my own PMS. Plus, I didn’t look fussy enough to cause a scene.

Eventually, a lady came over and barked at me. She startled me so much that I asked for a thigh turkey sandwich. What I really wanted was a polo thingy – which is much smaller.

Usually, when I order my sandwich, they ask me what size, what bread, which sauce, and if I want toppings on it. But Angry Lady just stormed off and started assembling the thing, even as I pleaded with her not to put chilli.

I thought about making suggestions, but the look on her face was more than just scary. Clearly, her level of moodiness was higher than mine, so I silently watched her and prayed she’d wouldn’t get it wrong.

I thought about it as she fought the big white bread [I prefer it small and brown]. In any other place, the client would have stormed off after such treatment, or at least they’d have refused the sandwich. But I figured I’d already lost half an hour, I was really hungry, and I’d finally found my green yoghurt, so I was mostly happy. I waited patiently, paid for my sandwich and left.

Luckily, all she did was use wrong bread and cucumbers.

I read an editorial by Binyavanga Wainaina in Kwani 04. He describes a bus trip in South Africa. The bus driver was drunk, and Binyavanga’s response was to sit behind him, go to sleep, and hope nothing bad happened.

The South African ladies on the bus chose to force the driver off the seat and select a burly fellow passenger to drive the bus. The whole scenario merely irritated Binyavanga, and I share his sentiment.

A while later, he was back home in Kenya, and got off a bus because it was overloaded. He made quite a fuss, but fellow passengers accused him of being proud and thinking he was better than them. After all, they were glad to ride in the smelly bus, so who did he think he was? They were still grumbling as the bus drove off.

Binyavanga’s point was that Kenyans have learnt to accept the status quo, and we get irritated when someone tries to change it, even if that change is for our own good. We prefer to live, let live, and have fate take care of things. And the last elections – in many ways – made our attitude worse because many people felt their opinion – and their vote – didn’t matter.

In my case, I stood there, watching the Angry Lady and hoping she’d get my sandwich right, but I didn’t do anything to ensure it.

Sometimes I feel that way about my business. I want it to be bigger and better than it is, but I don’t actively do anything to make that happen. The ‘business’ side of business can get pretty boring if you’re not a born marketter, or an accountant.

One thing I am proactive about is writing. So I’ll make you a trade. You can handle the business side of your work, and I’ll handle the write-ups.

Need some copy written for your website? A flyer, a job post, some policies, or even a letter of appreciation? Swing it this way and I’ll take care of it. Then you can peacefully go about the business of looking good and getting rich. Deal?