I was just 3 minutes late for crying out loud! 3 minutes! But by the time I had walked out of the house to the stage those matatu terrorists had already induced that fake matatu shortage. A crowd of people had gathered at the stage with no matatu passing by. They would later come with the fare hiked talking about, ” It’s because of the traffic jam”. Assholes! I took a seat next to one of the kiosks as we waited ‘patiently’ for the matatu personnel to come extort us. All that waiting and stressing reminded me I had not had breakfast. I bought a chewing gum to keep my stomach thinking that, “Hey, he’s chewing something, must be food. tell the small intestines to stop rumbling, he’s finally eating”.
Needless to say 10 minutes later, 4 matatus came rushing in with their conductors screaming perverse prices. 40 shillings to town! I could not believe it. Neither could half of the rest. They hesitated to board. The next one was still the same. We conceded defeat and boarded. But I was not going to get raped lying down. I decided to be That Asshole today. When the conductor demanded for the fare. I gave him a 1000 shilling note.
” Now where do you expect me to get this change at this hour?”
Where do YOU expect me to get that fare at this hour?
“I don’t have loose change, you will have to come for the change tomorrow. Take down the licence plate”
I laughed inwardly.
The conductor kept complaining about how people are so inconsiderate that they give him ‘BIG’ money when he hasn’t earned anything. I decided to mute him in my mind. The passenger next to me also wanted the noise to stop.
” Hey! He has paid the fare, what the wrong is you?”
He was a big-ish guy so the conductor lowered his voice and continued to bitch in murmurs to those near him. We were seated in the front of that van with the driver so couldn’t hear him. The driver was quiet as fuck.
When finally we got to town, I refused to get off until I got back my 960 bob.
“Boss. I can’t get this change you’ll have to go back with us to Majengo then back to town by when I will have earned that change. What else can I do?”
“Well. Give me that note and take my phone number and when you have loose money, call me I will come pay.”
A doze of his medicine. I didn’t have class till 9 so I was willing to be a headache as much as possible. The matatu was now filling in for the trip back home and I had to let a chick sit on that small front seat between me and the driver.
The driver, seeing the matatu was full, except for my seat now started his issues.
“Chief. It is 7 am in the morning. We can’t have that kind of money.”
Oh! I am sorry my employer pays me in thousands. Next time I will ask him to pay in 40 bob denomination coins so that it is easier for you.
The lady that was seated between us, opened her purse, pulled out a 50 shilling note and handed it to the conductor. We all went silent, probably thinking the same thing. Why is she paying her fare and the vehicle hadn’t left the stage yet?
She saw how confused we looked and explained, “Take his fare from here”. She was offering to pay my fare. I was now even more confused. I told her the fare was 40 shillings just in case she didn’t know. She said she knows. I tried hinting that it’s not the money it’s the principal I was trying to play out. She didn’t get it. She said, “Yesterday, a stranger offered to pay for me because they did not have change for a thousand. I am merely returning the favour.”
Damn. I had cleared my morning schedule to draw out this idiotic struggle and now this wonderful nice lady was making it all in vain. But still. I was very grateful, I give it to the conductor.
“Do you a 10 shillings coin, I give you back 20?”
“Come on!” This bastard hikes the fare and expects everyone to have the money in easy-to-calculate denominations. Incredible. Still, the Good Samaritan did not mind. She reached into her purse and produced the 10 shillings. Now the driver and the conductor were quick in telling me to step the fuck out. They had gotten what they wanted and now had no use for me. I should make way for some other poor soul for exploitations. I thanked the lady profusely as I tried memorising her face just in case we met again.
As I walked to the next exploitation stage, I kept thinking, there are nice people out there and the bad ones are ready to take advantage of them. If I ever meet her again ….(I realised I had completely forgotten how she looked like. 48 seconds. That’s how long my memory is, if you are wondering.) I had started my day off badly meaning the day would just become even worse. No sooner had I finished this thought than I saw a blue Toyota Corolla rammed into a grey Subaru Legacy at an intersection. Not a big accident, but the Subaru had gotten the front tire bent out of shape and the driver’s door scraped almost off. Needless to say, the Toyota was worse off. I had arrived at that scene after it had just happened so it was hard to know who to shift the blame to. All I know is, that man and lady were having a worse morning that I was so I decided to stop feeling down! Decided not to let my day be spoiled by Majengo Maniacs.