I envy people whose shaggz is just a few minutes or hours away from the city. Those who can easily travel home, have lunch with the peeps and travel back, all in a day. For me, travelling home via public transport is an entire day or night’s affair, depending on what time I choose to travel; a gruesome 9-hour journey by road. Ten if you are unlucky.
Usually, when I travel home, I like to use Easy Coach. I really don’t know why I do anymore. They have a cool name and their tagline is a catchy ‘Travel in Comfort’, but the last couple of trips I have entrusted them with, have been anything but. We always get some old rickety bus, but still pay fare enough to buy new skin, a heart and five kidneys, whether peak or off-peak. Honestly, the only reason why I still travel with them is because they don’t stop randomly in the middle of nowhere, to make us pee in the bushes like some transport service providers. One time, on such a stop, a woman peed on my leg. That memory makes me sick.
Man, I always get to sit next to one misfortune after the other. Most recently it was the spare driver of the bus, who was annoyingly chatty and couldn’t keep his hands to himself. First, the man literally grabbed one of my earphones from my ear and shoved it into his. Then he tried to rest his hands on my lap. It looked like a scene from The Fault In Our Stars, if Augustus was a nosy 60-something-year-old pervert Hazel wanted to strangle the life out of.
Anyway, this one time I am late to buy my ticket, so I get the very last seat at the back of the bus. Seated in front of me is a young man who has reclined his seat so much, I can actually feel my knees disappearing into my stomach. Now, I am quite tall and there is no way to recline my own seat so as to make space, without going through the emergency exit. So it doesn’t take long before I have to do something.
Excuse me, sasa!
He turns back.
Si urudishe kiti mbele kidogo? Umenifinya miguu sana. (Could you kindly push your seat forward? You are hurting my legs back here)
Cold stare. Blink. Turns back around. Fishes out his kabambe. Starts playing Snake. Fucking Snake!
I am in shock, but haisuru. Issorait. I will endure. I tell myself that I’ll probably be asleep in a few minutes anyway so I won’t even feel the discomfort much.
The journey continues.
A few hours later, I open my eyes and we are somewhere in the Rift Valley Region. It is freezing, but Beloved Mr Snake has decided to open his window and enjoy the ‘breeze’, like he is Jack atop the Titanic. Seated adjacent to him is a mama with a baby, who is begging him to close the window because the cold is seriously affecting her child. The guy mumbles some imperceptible nonsense and ignores the plea. A number of passengers intervene, trying to get him to close the window to no avail. One even stands and closes the window, but the guy just opens it again, saying he has paid for these services and he will do as he darn well pleases.
I tell you, I have met a series of people with different personalities, but I have never encountered that amount of arrogance in my life. Whaaat?!
We finally get to Nairobi, and everyone is getting off the bus. My legs feel like a White Walker’s and my entire body is a mess. I get down from the bus, pick my bags and I start walking out of the station, when a loud scream rings through the early morning air. I quickly and curiously run back, like the typical Kenyan that I am.
Standing there, distraught and confused is Mr Snake, scratching his head and frantically pacing up and down. A crowd has gathered around him and we are all wondering what the issue is.
Boss, ni nini mbaya? (Boss, what’s the problem?)
On the verge of tears, he cries out,
Kuku yangu ilikuwa hapa kwa boot nikiingia gari. Sai haiko. Mtu amebeba! (I put my chicken in this boot when I was getting onto the bus. Now it’s not here! Someone took it!)