MAN IN THE HOOD: Be friends with the watchman - Daily Nation

MAN IN THE HOOD: It’s good to be friends with the watchman

Wednesday July 11 2018

Being tight with a watchman can be really beneficial to you. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH

Being tight with a watchman can be really beneficial to you. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

By PHILIP ETEMESI

Do you interact with watchmen?

If not, there might be two possible reasons why. Either you are a natural snob or you justifiably have the fear of giving.

Watchmen are experts at borrowing. It is said that when you greet a watchman two times in a row, you automatically owe him money. The third time you greet him, he will tell you “Mkubwa, si uniwachie kakitu...hata lunch tu. (Please leave for me some money, even just enough for lunch)”

Once you help him, it won’t end there. The watchman will now see you as his cash cow. Most of your chit-chats with him will end with a request for kakitu (something, most likely money).

He’ll always patch you in on a barrage of problems, from rent issues to kids lacking fees to food. His main goal will be to trigger some pity from you.

A guy who used to be a watchman where I live managed to convince me to buy him lunch for nine straight days. His persuasive power was definitely out of this world.

I need to sign up for that master class. Eventually, my pockets began flashing a warning sign and I had to say no.

Of course it is good to help but we all have other things we want to spend our money on too. We can’t just be giving it out.

EXCUSES

So, is avoiding the watchman the solution? Should you look straight ahead when you spot him and pretend he is a statue? No!

Inasmuch as watchmen can irk you with their borrowing, it’s good to be friends with them. The benefits outweigh the kakitu disadvantage. Plus, you don’t have to sort the watchman every time.

Sometimes you can conjure up an excuse, like a salary delay. Then you tell him not to worry because once you get something, you will give him something too. As a result, everyone stays happy.

And if you’re worried about interacting with the watchman because you don’t know what to say when talking to him, relax too. You don’t need to have lengthy conversations. Brief conversations from day to day go a long way in building friendships.

In the hood, being tight with a watchman can be really beneficial to you.

First, he can help you keep off unwanted visitors. Maybe it’s an ex who has refused to get over you or those friends who show up unannounced and waste your time chatting when you have important things to do. You can ask the watchman to do you a favour and tell such people you are not around.

Watchmen can also serve you daily updates of important things that are happening around you. Sometimes you are too busy and you don’t have time to follow up on estate or plot news. Or maybe you just like keeping to yourself. You are not the kind that goes out to dig for gossip.

Even if you prefer minding your own business, you’d still like to know a few details here and there. It’s human nature.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION

You come home and find there’s no power in your plot only? The friendly watchman will update you and tell you that it is Kenya Power guys who have disconnected power to fix something.

You don’t know anything about the hot guy or girl who just moved in next door? The friendly watchman will tell you their name and what they do.

Someone has been bad-mouthing you? The friendly watchman will let you know. After that, you can knock on that hater’s door, give them chicken and tell them how much you love them.

After all, the great Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde once said “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much like forgiving them.”

That’s right. Enemies always expect you to retaliate. When you are kind to them instead, they become confused.

Anyway, all the details given to you by the watchman are things that will pass you if you are the kind that likes to pretend he is invisible and not worthy of a hello.

Being friends with a watchman also means extra security. He will be biased but in a good way. If you live in a plot that has a couple of tenants, he will be watching over your house more than he does other houses. This is good for you. No thief will come close. No matter where you live, it’s highly unlikely that your house will ever be broken into when you are not around.

There’s also the added perk of being greeted with star-struck ardour every single time.

Watchmen really know how to heap praise and make you feel like royalty when they greet you. You can even call your parents just to confirm if your grandmother is Queen Elizabeth or Mama Ngina Kenyatta and you are the only one who doesn’t know.

Watchmen make you feel like you are techpreneur Jeff Bezos with more than $80 billion worth of assets and a private yacht, yet you even have an Mshwari loan.

With all these perks, who in their right mind would stride past a watchman without saying hello?