A couple of years ago, a minibus I had been travelling in was involved in a minor accident with a matatu. The driver had been driving as if he was taking part in the Safari Rally, so I wasn’t really surprised when he knocked off the other vehicle’s side mirror.
It was around 8.30pm. The two drivers parked by the roadside and alighted to debate about who was, or wasn’t, in the wrong. I assumed that the conference would not take long, after all, it wasn’t a serious accident, right? Wrong.
Ten minutes later, we were seated there, yet the two were still arguing. Like happens in such situations, we started grumbling amongst ourselves, cursing the driver for keeping us waiting, yet we wanted to
get home, eat and sleep, in preparation for another day. And then I noticed something interesting, the women passengers were more agitated than the men. In fact, a man in the seat opposite mine had
decided to sleep off the incident, and was even snoring softly, oblivious of all the livid women in the vehicle.
One by one, most of the men in the vehicle started to alight. While some of them stretched their limbs and yawned, others fished out cigarettes from their coats and leisurely lit up, looking quite at home,
ready to spend the night in the bus. I even saw one man magnanimously pass his half-smoked cigarette to another, who puffed it with relish.
I must also mention that a few others used the opportunity to relieve themselves on a poor tree by the roadside. Since we’re here, please help me out: I’ve always wondered, why is it that men, unlike
women, find it difficult to hold their bladder until they get to their destination? Oh, I apologise for asking this question, because I am sure the men who read this column do not urinate by the roadside…
Anyway, as the men wisely made peace with a situation they had no control over, the women escalated their grumbling. One anxiously called home to ask whether the children had eaten, another angrily wondered whether the two drivers thought she had nothing better to do than sit in the “middle” of the road.
Another nastily declared that all matatu drivers are crazy, “wazimu”, as she put it, and should all be locked up. Yet another one wondered why the driver or tout were not updating us. If they planned to stay
there all night, she said, then they should tell us, so that we board another vehicle. That sounded like a good plan, only that we were parked on a dark stretch of the highway, where there was no matatu stage in sight.
CLICKING HER TONGUE
As for me, I was inwardly agonising about the Sh350 I would have to cough for a taxi, since there was no way I could bring myself to walk the stretch from the stage to the house on my own. Meanwhile,
the woman next to me had given up on asking no-one in particular what was happening, and had resorted to clicking her tongue and fidgeting in her seat every two seconds.
I realised then that men and women react quite differently in any given situation. Men generally tend to be calm in a crisis, while women go ballistic and visualise all the things that could go wrong.
We just don’t know how to be calm, we are constant worriers.
Most evenings, the city centre is almost always clogged with traffic jams. If you haven’t noticed, most of the miserable Kenyans standing on the endless queues are women, because the men are holed up in a cozy bar somewhere in town, enjoying a beer as they wait for traffic to subside.
The irony is that this man will get home almost at the same time as the woman braving the cold and rain standing in an unmoving queue. Surely there is nothing wrong with nursing a cup of tea or glass of juice for two hours as you wait for traffic to ease, is there?
Reflecting on your article today (last Sunday), I must say we’re victims of our own making. We tend to pamper children so much. This is a major problem with middle-class families. As a parent, you should
learn to say no to a child. If you don’t put your feet on the ground you will have yourself to blame later. Like in my case, I recently surrendered a very expensive smart phone to mama watoto (my wife). A
month later, I could not recognise the same phone because she had always allowed our little girl to play with it. It’s us parents who spoil our children. Don’t allow yourself to be blackmailed by your
A nice article laced with good humour. By the way, where did you get the photo of the girl perfectly defining the theme of your article? Sorry, but her face looks like the “little devils” the children become at
times. Please don’t tell the mother what I said and I also hope it’s not your daughter. Karofia
Your article made a lot of sense, even to a person like me who is light years away from getting the first child. However, I winced when I came to the part where you “beat your son up for misbehaving.”
Now, even though corporal punishment is an easy way for parents to deal with errant behaviour, I strongly believe there are kinder ways to discipline a child other than spanking.