It’s a few minutes to 6am. Tuesday. I should have been up two hours ago but I couldn’t sleep last night. I suspect it has everything to do with the mug of coffee I had just before supper. My inner addict was like: Come on, just one cup.
“But I won’t sleep,” I said.
“Sure you will,” the voice said, “Just read a book in bed and you’ll be out like a light in no time.”
“Aii, are you sure?”
So I had a cup. I turned in at about 10pm but lo, there I was an hour later – wide awake, cussing under my breath, tossing and flipping over like a fish out of water. Everyone else had gone to bed and the house was quiet and Twitter had become tedious and the book was, in fact, keeping me up.
And then I thought: Wait. What day is it again?
I quickly grabbed my earphones, plugged in, then tuned in to Mtaani. I set myself down again –ready to chuckle myself to sleep. You must know Mtaani. HBR. Runs three nights a week. Hosted by cartoons. And the people who call in are equally nuts.
Kwanza there’s this guy that called in and said he was Patrick from Migori. He had an accent and one of the presenters –I think it was Jaymo- asked him, “Unatweng’ na uko Migori?”
The studio erupted in laughter. Then he went on to ask, “Ama wewe ndio Migos?”
That killed me.
I quickly buried my head in the covers and laughed like a madman. Even more hilarious, this Migos guy didn’t seem to get it. Or he chose to ignore it. He went on talking, hell bent on sending a few shout outs. He didn’t seem to notice all the fun that was being made on his account. Meanwhile, in studio, they were coming up with more names for him.
They called him Quavo. Then they called him Offset. Then they used a bunch of other Trap references I didn’t quite get, until the bugger got tired and hung up.
The music was nice and the sex jokes were plenty. I was slipping into a dreamy state but I couldn’t get Migos out of my head. Both the one from Migori and the one that seems to have plagued the Matatu route to Kitengela.
Dust, distance and Trap. Those are elements of my commute.
Because think about it: Any mat that goes anything more than 60km/h is either too fast for comfort, or packed with enough noise and youthful folk to upset grumpy old men. So unless you want to spend two days on the road like a sack of grains –you’ll just have to settle for the Trap music, and hope that you actually arrive in one piece.
There’s an old Country song by Allan Jackson that goes something like: Somebody killed country music, down on music row. Early in the song we’re told that it happened on 16th Avenue. That they never found a finger print or the weapon that was used. But someone killed country music, cut out its heart and soul and they got away with murder. (I was listening to that song all through this paragraph).
But I’m glad to say that I’ve finally found the culprit. It’s Trap.
Trap killed country music down on music row.
These are some sad times, folks. Our vestibules are now at the hands of the Gucci gangs and the Gucci Manes. Grills and frills. We’re at the mercy of Uzi machine guns and someone called Lil Uzi.
Cardi and Bacardi. Pick a side pick a side. I took my roof off at the red light. Trap Trap Trap Trap. Geez! Enough already.
Which brings me back to yesterday –on the way home from school. I had a story to submit by sundown and I had barely put a scratch on it. I was in a hurry, as you can imagine, and my best bet would be to get into a Trap ship.
Otherwise I could take one of the quiet ones. But that would have meant I get home with a fully grown beard and a disappointed editor. I’d have to sit in traffic for so long that –with the added unpleasantness of limited leg room- I’d disembark covered in bodily numbness.
The jav I ducked into was full –save for the back row. I took the window seat and, immediately, began to dread the moment we’d trundle past Mlolongo. The road bumps over there were made by the devil. I was sure to be lobbed in the air at some point.
Shouting tout. Plasma screen. Engine revs. Mans Not Hot now playing.
Seconds later, two ladies with backpacks climbed. One of them –blue dress, oily hair, coconut smell- sat beside me. Her pal had long braids and mascara –with one of those bright phone-covers with balls for vertices.
They were chatty, those two. Their voices rose above the music, two plus two is four.
We were well on our way –Migos blaring- when I thought to eavesdrop. I gathered they were house helps, (“Mimi mdosi wangu ananipea off Saturday jioni narudi Sunday jioni. Ama Monday asubuhi”) I gathered they were comparing notes on the matter.
I also gathered that blue dress was a tad bothersome. While we were thundering through the highway she tapped me on the arm and said, “Si ufungueko dirisha kidogo.” (I swear she said ufungueko).
It was honestly getting stuffy. I slid the pane and the wind slapped my face. Air flooded into my nostrils. I choked. But I didn’t close the window because, well, sacrifice.
Then after I had choked some more she must have realized the breeze wasn’t properly hitting her.
So what blue dress did, she punctuated every pause on the banter by leaning towards the window. Her hair was in my face. I didn’t know how to turn my neck. I was choking on Trap and coconut oil. And it made me only want to get home faster so I could work my ass off and buy my own car.
Today is the second day of school. Day 2 of the last semester was a pain. I was propped up on a goddamn toilet seat. Hopefully I’ll have none of that today. It’s 2018 bana. Optimum optimism.
And no more Trap music, for chrissakes!
And now I’ll pen off with lyrics I’ve just googled –just to show you the depth of this problem.
Nice to meet you, be great to beat you / Teresa, the skeezer, the pumpkin eater / I paint her face like Mona Lisa / The more she moan the more I beat her.
Yeah, let that digest.