LIFE BY LOUIS: The deceptive allure of jumping off moving lorries - Daily Nation

LIFE BY LOUIS: The deceptive allure of jumping off moving lorries

Tuesday June 12 2018

I have immense respect for conductors who can alight from a speeding bus. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH

I have immense respect for conductors who can alight from a speeding bus. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH 

By LOUIS MUIRURI
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I have immense respect for conductors who can alight from a speeding bus.

Being a regular user of the superhighway, I always marvel at how touts effortlessly jump into and out of the moving buses.

Although they are always committing a traffic offence by dropping and picking passengers along the highway while displaying their embarking and disembarking stunts, I still admire their skills.

My respect for their acrobatic skills is not without good reason. My first, and probably the last, attempt at jumping off a moving vehicle nearly ended in disaster.

Once upon a time on a lazy afternoon, I was doing idle rounds in my village after having completed high school. With warm blood flowing in my veins and with raging hormones blurring my judgement, I roamed the village paths just looking for trouble and beautiful girls.

I had wandered far away from home because my resident village did not seem to provide the right kind of thrill and excitement to match my youthful energy levels.

On my way back home I decided to 'hitch' a ride on a lorry, the type that is used to ferry green tea leaves from the farms to the factory.

In those days, the lorries were old and creaky. But the powerful Bedfords laboured the steep village hills while releasing noxious exhaust gases.

However, on a more level surface or when being driven downhill, they would gather some reasonable speed.

Getting onto the lorry was the easy part because you just needed to wait for the lorry to slow down at one of the big potholes, and get a good grip and foothold because you were at risk of falling off during the bumpy ride.

I embarked successfully, and it was a good ride – I felt like I was on an overland tour van.

TIME TO GET OFF

However, by the time the truck reached our gate where I was supposed to alight, it had gained speed.

There was a small problem ahead. If you did not opt out in time, the next stop would be at the factory gate. The security guards at the gate were aware of our mischief, and they would whip us thoroughly if we accidently found our way to the factory gate.

I therefore had to make rapid decisions.

I had seen the more experienced boys disembarking from speeding trucks, and I started to reconstruct the scenarios in my head in preparation.

Take a deep breath; release one hand and one leg from the truck; step one the ground with one leg; then the other leg; chase the truck a bit to break the momentum; release the other hand; continue chasing the truck to even out the momentum and you are done!

But this simulation was just in my dreams. I released all my appendages from the truck at the same time and landed on the hard ground like a sack of potatoes. Air rushed out of my lungs and I saw bright stars.

I heard some laughter from a distance, but I did not wait to see who was laughing because it could have been the factory guards eager to inflict more pain on me with their thick rubber whips.

I tried to move away quickly. I could not breathe evenly and I collapsed into a bush, out of sight, and tried to recover my breath. It felt like I had swallowed a big stone that was stuck in my throat, and I was sure that I was going to join the statistics of early teenage mortality.

I talked to God and beseeched Him to forgive me all my sins, including the current one.

I make it albeit with a bruised knee, a badly shaken and repentant heart, and a badly wounded ego. That marked the end of such theatrics.

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