Stepping Out

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I took the missus out of town over Easter. It was a chance to get away. Out of the city and into the wild to do what animals do. Eat,sleep and procreate. Just to remind myself that in all this living and chasing of dreams, the life of an animal is still part of us.

I was to have planned this trip months ago. But I relied on my brain to remember and was greatly disappointed in it’s performance. So a couple of days before Easter the missus drops me a Whatsapp message:

So we’re still travelling right?

I didn’t reply. Because in marriage we don’t lie. Ok, we do. So I responded.

Sure. I’m in a meeting. Will give you the details when I get home.

The truth is, I had nothing planned. Heck, I didn’t even know Easter was coming up. If I was a Roman soldier I sure would have messed up Jesus’ timetable. He’d be waiting in the garden, saying goodbye to his disciples and I wouldn’t show up with my legion. Then the disciples would wonder what that supper was about. And Judas would be as fidgety as a toddler.

So there I was,seated at my desk wondering how to pull an Easter plan out of my ass. I grab nothing but air. I’d have better luck getting a bunny to hatch an egg. So I do what any desperate man would do. I log into my laptop and head over to Google. I get inundated with so many possible trips my head starts buzzing. Then an email comes in. Alas, the good chaps from Ticketsasa have heard my cry. They have a bunch of offers for tour packages to various destinations, local and international. I sit up in my chair and open up the offers in separate browser tabs. Comparing, contrasting while simultaneously consulting my bank account. The options don’t add up. Too pricey, too cheap, too far, too near, too cliché. Young Luo man problems. So I switch to the Kikuyu in me. I know it there because the missus has been secretly brainwashing me with meals of warus and dhania. I search for the most cost effective option. Samburu it is. Ashnil Samburu. The pictures look great and the reviews are terrific.

I send the missus an email.

Si we go to this place? It’s not too far and there are some elephants. Si you like elephants?

She responds in 174 seconds in the affirmative.

Phew. We were in business.

The Ticketsasa guys make it easy. You book online in three easy clicks, pay via mpesa and complete your transaction. In no less than ten minutes they send you an email with booking confirmation and a trip itinerary. Just like that. You could kiss technology.

The pickup was an early one. At Serena hotel by 6:30 am.  Now the internet likes my company in the night. So I had a late night. I’m a heavy sleeper. Knowing this I once again employed technology and scheduled an Uber pickup​ for 6 in the morning. Yaani you can schedule an Uber trip. Po! Yawa!

Predictably my Uber woke me up. I didn’t hear my alarm clock. But I heard my ringtone. I’m attuned to it. It could be work or one of my crazy exes. It was Ben. My Uber. I groggily and in a confused state got up, answered the phone and told Ben I’d be right outside. Then I really woke up and saw the missus curled away in her corner of the bed, a fistful of half the blankets in a death grip. She looked so warm and peaceful. No wonder my ass was cold. At some point in the night I thought the blanket had shrunk. I smiled as an evil thought took root. Revenge is best served cold they say. I wasn’t going to be the only cold assed person in the room. I grabbed the end of the blanket that yet wasn’t in her grip and tugged with all my might. She was exposed. And now awake. And angry. The only thing that interrupted my laughter was the pillow missile from her that met me squarely on my face.

Get up. I said stifling a giggle. The cab is here and we’re late. Don’t wash with all those bath products of yours. Just use water like normal people.

She mumbled something at me as she slammed the bathroom door. I dashed into the guest bathroom for a quick ‘passport’ shower. If you don’t know what a ‘passport’ shower is, you either didn’t go to boarding school or you haven’t lived in Nairobi during water rationing.

In a record seven minutes, I was dry, dressed and hauling my luggage to the door. The missus was now dressing. I could smell the peach flavoured shower gel in the air. She didn’t just use water like I asked her. We’d be lucky if the Uber doesn’t cancel. A call came through my cell phone. Bah! It must be Ben.

Hello?

Habari? Nimekutumia pesa kimakosa. Please nirudishie kwa hii namba.

I looked at my phone in confusion. It wasn’t Ben. It was those Kamiti conmen again. Clearly the hustle never sleeps.

I disconnected the call, leaving the incensed conman speaking to the ether.

I dashed down the apartment stairs, almost missing a step and a heartbeat.

I get down to the parking lot and see the Uber waiting. By the way, does the word ‘Uber’ refer to the driver or the car? Or both? I never know. Anyway, I get to the car and can’t see the driver in it. I peer in and notice he’s reclined his seat flat and is happily snoring away, eighties music seeping soothingly out of the car stereo. I rap at the car window and the guy groggily gets up and smiles. He’s apologetic and flicks at the central control, opening the doors.

I get into the car and as he’s about to start it up, I ask his indulgence.

Please wait a few minutes. Bibi bado hajamaliza. Si unajua wanawake vile wanakua?

He laughs and I can tell he understands. He turns off the ignition and the eighties music keeps us company as we wait for the missus. She appears about ten minutes later with her backpack and in her hands a polythene bag with chapatis and fruits. I’m embarrassed. I was preparing a lecture on time keeping and here she was looking out for our welfare. These women. They sure know how to calm our hearts.

She gets in and shares the chapatis out and gives Ben a few to take home or have as breakfast.

I munched moodily as I stared out the window, observing the waking houses we passed as he hurtled towards Serena Hotel. My stomach spoke to my mind to be calm and with that I knew it would be a good long weekend ahead.

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