The year was 2001, the boom twaff from my fav mathree Buju could be heard from afar. Alpine, another cool mat had passed earlier heading to town; i was heading the opposite direction to college.
Akina Moha and Mshefa were busy calling out for people to board the mathrees honking furiously at the roadside which passed as the stage. Everytime a cute mamasila passed by they would put on their good boy faces and usher her in.
These were no good boys, i knew them from corner mbaya. I will tell you about corner mbaya tomorrow.
“Ahhhh, niaje Anita,” called out Mshefa to some hot item of a chic, “leo si umestand vinoma!”
Anita giggles and pushes her shoulders up, the way all women do when you give them a poodle (those tiny dogs which look like teddy bears), a Cheshire cat for their birthdays or remember anniversaries!!
Me, i suck at anniversaries!
“Haki thanks,” she says, “ woiyee si u tell Willie we chuck, leo nimechelewa colle!” Mshefa whispers something to Willie’s ear and they reach a concensus. Way back then, doing MS DOS qualified as a course by itself. We used to carry around diskettes the way people carry smart phones nowadays.
Anita had a 1.44MB diskette in her huge handbag.
“Poa jo, haina noma Mshefa!” Willie says.
I knew that Anita wouldn’t pay her fare that day, and i was pretty sure she would be with Mshefa in the evening at another ka joint we used to play pool.
That was Nairobi. Today am in a mat from Bamburi to town and an almost similar thing happens; the mat is loaded, as in there are no seats, the driver sees some yellow yellow plump chic, calls her to board the mat and takes off.
Am on the seat right in front of the passenger door (which is right behind the ‘pilot’s cabinet!) closest to the huge screen. Beres Hammond is busy rocking away and most of the passengers seem to be rocking their heads to the beat, the chic comes over and sits below the screen facing the other passengers.
She looks composed and shy, and am sure all men are no longer focused on Beres Hammond again….she had a tattoo on the upper left arm with a rose flower and the name ‘Layla’ on top.
I presume that’s her name, or maybe her grandma who passed on when Sagem was a cool phone (as if it was ever a cool phone!!).
Either way i don’t think i care.
Am busy looking out of the window at the ocean over Nyali bridge and from the corner of my eye i thought she was looking at me. I lick my lips for no apparent reason and bite my lower lip to reveal the double chin. Maybe she was also looking at the ocean. I could have been wrong!
Just after the bridge, at Buxton, another chatterbox of a chic boards the mat and sits next to me. She has a very tiny kid, perhaps 3 months. She mumbles something at me, i smile back ata kama sikushikanisha any.
Come to think of it, she may have said am the father of the baby, or that my sweat smelt of a Giorgio Armani fragrance! I mean, it does smell of Giorgio Armani, i just don’t chatterblog about it.
We get to town, the yellow yellow Layla chic alights and heads over to seat with the driver; it was pretty obvious she was heading back with the same mathree. This other chic next to me is now chatting with the driver too, competing for attention with the more composed Layla. The driver has to keep glancing back and forth amid the loud music blaring from the 2 pioneer speakers above me, just to maintain a balance of conversation.
I think yellow yellow is winning. She is a smooth operator!
She, Little Miss Chatterbox says something to me, again i cannot understand it coz she is too loud and too fast. I look at her, she has a really big mouth (i mean, like she is talking and i can see all her teeth and entire length of the tongue) but her eyes are really cute. I hope and prayed the kid, not yet sure of its gender, would not become a loud mouth too.
May the apple fall a thousand light years from the tree!
So am looking at her and thinking; mmmmmh, this chic, i presume she is married coz she has a kid. What would the husband do if he chanced upon her having such animated conversations with the driver and 3 makangas (not sure why most mathrees have over 2 makangas)?
One of the makangas comes over and touches the kid’s cheek with his not soo clean hands and i almost scream….a long finger with dirt and perhaps 21 species of germs in it. Man, you touch my cheek with that and am filing a law suit, like seriously!
She says nothing. The makanga passes her some Ukwaju (tamarind) juice he had bought somewhere along the road. It was halfway, the bottle, he had drunk some on the way.
She just gulps the fluid down with no care. By now am no longer staring, am keenly observing and failing to understand how and why such a smartly dressed woman would be acting soo uncultured.
Just what is it that attracts women to matatu drivers and makangas?