“What did he bring home this weekend?” I asked my friend Lucy when we met for lunch on Tuesday this week. I was already smiling in anticipation of the answer I’d get.
You see, every time Lucy’s husband passes by his local pub, which is either every Friday or Saturday; he has to take something home. More often than not, that something is rotten, faulty, or four sizes too big.
“This time round he bought a movie CD that has Kikuyu voice-overs,” she said with an exasperated sigh.
I couldn’t help laughing out loud. Imagine watching a narrated version of The Dark Knight Rises where the characters’ voices have been replaced by a lone voice, explaining what is happening in your mother tongue. To really appreciate how hilarious, or annoying, it can be, you’d have to get your hands on one.
What amused me more about Lucy’s revelation was the fact that she and her husband are not Kikuyu, and were they to be offered a million shillings to construct a short sentence in this language, they’d have to kiss the money goodbye. This means that they were stuck with a pirated movie that they couldn’t even watch.
“Well, at least your movie collection is growing,” I commented, trying in vain to stifle my laughter, even though Lucy was far from amused.
In the past, her well-meaning but intoxicated husband has bought her and their two children neatly packed bags of fruits, only for her to discover in the morning that a third of them are rotten.
In their wardrobe hangs three shirts that her husband has never worn because they’re three sizes too big. Yes, he bought them during one of his drinking sprees.
Lucy is also the proud owner of a scruffy long, (it goes way past the knees, and the collars almost reach the elbows, according to Lucy) white leather overcoat, courtesy of her husband’s generosity after having one too many.
And then there’s the “ugly” wooden candle holder that has never gone past the kitchen door. The poor woman’s collection of such items is so vast, I’d run out of space if I decided to list them.
When I decided to write about my friend’s “misfortune” as she calls it, I asked around to find out whether my friend’s husband is the only one who is afflicted by these bursts of impulse buying when he goes drinking. Turns out that he’s not the only one.
A colleague tells me that a few months ago, he bought a sweater that, at the time, looked “very nice”. For 800 bob, he congratulated himself for landing a good bargain, since such sweaters don’t go for less than Sh1,500 at what we call exhibitions.
Unfortunately, when this colleague woke up the next day at around midday, the “very nice” grey sweater he had planned to wear to work on Monday turned out to be a washed out black that had a generous hole on one of the elbows. And there went his hard-earned money.
You’d think that this would have taught this colleague a lesson, but no, a few weeks later, he bought a flash light (that he didn’t need) that wouldn’t work even with new batteries. Try as he might, this colleague couldn’t explain where this urge to spend when he shouldn’t comes from.
“At that point, it seems like a good idea,” he shrugged, after struggling for quite some time to come up with an answer.
Another observation that has always puzzled me is why those who hawk in bars only approach men, not women.
Well, the woman in me would never buy anything in a pub, intoxicated or not, and certainly not clothes. To begin with, the lighting is poor, so chances are that what you see isn’t what you get – also, why risk buying something that you cannot fit?