A coat, tie, and bugs

                 PHOTO COURTESY 

There are days you wake up feeling so energetic and hyper and just want to lift heavy machinery and run around. And there are mornings when you get up feeling so lazy, hungry and exhausted to even blink your left eye, those are the days you wish all your lectures bounced so you could just remain indoors and only exit your room to get yourself a cold shower. Yet still, there are those rare mornings when you wake up at 4 a.m. to put on your new navy-blue designer suit and sit there for four hours waiting for daybreak so you can walk around aimlessly greeting everybody just so they realize you acquired a new suit. If by any chance none of your mornings happens to be one of these three possibilities then I think you are not a campus student, you are a university scholar.

What I’m about to tell you happened last Thursday at around 5 in the evening. Because you guys are good people, let me give you a hint of how this story will end. This true story ends with me being rushed to the school dispensary. 

I said this happened last Thursday, right? So there’s this new navy-blue designer suit that I had planned to don on Thursday because that’s the day we have the highest number of lectures (3 lectures). You see, when you put on a new suit for the first time, everybody should know and see it. Everybody here means, all your classmates, a significant number of lecturers, the administration, the security people at the gate, cooks at the school mess, all shopkeepers, waiters and waitresses at the food joints, the school drivers, a significant number of baboons and wathogs that have become part of this campo’s society, and finally instagram. And that can only be possible on a Thursday because one, that’s the day the largest population of guys are in school and two, that’s the day you have three classes. 

Our first class on Thursday begins at 8, so just 10 minutes before that time, the class rep sends something close to this to the class WhatsApp group “Good morning, Mr. Orieda* got some emergency this morning so he won’t make it to class.” Guys, what do you do when you wake up at 4 a.m, put on your new suit, wait for a class that just bounces 10 minutes to time? Do you continue sitting in your room or use that time to walk around?  Enyewe Mr. Orieda was being so unfair to me and my suit. Kwani must his emergencies just wait for the day I want his attendance most? Such texts from class reps on a day when you have your new navy-blue designer suit can tear your heart apart. Those are the moments you want to bore down on your knees and pray that the next class doesn’t bounce. PS: For university scholars reading this, when a lecturer fails to turn up for a class or when a lecture is scheduled for a later time, we say the class bounced, ok? Good, back to business. 

When you are wearing a new designer suit and the class bounces, you find yourself doing incredible things. So after the class rep confirming that the class couldn’t be held, I recalled this semester’s 200 bob fees overpayment. That’s when I ran to the washrooms to check myself in the mirror, came back to my pad, picked my school ID and proceeded to the finance office to channel the 200 bob excess fees to cater for meals at the school mess. Here, when you happen to have an overpayment and want to utilize it, the only option is to divert that money towards the catering department for meals at the mess. Don’t mind that I don’t even know the color of  rice beans or chapo-beef served at the mess. But I needed to visit the finance office, those administrators needed to see me in my new suit. And the only thing that could take me there was to convert that 200 bob into meals. So I reached there and found hundreds of other guys waiting to be served and since I also wanted to be served, I joined the queue. My suit could not just go to waste like that, if Mr. Orieda thought that by failing to turn up for his class he would intimidate me and my navy-blue suit then he was wrong. Very wrong. I wished he popped up at the finance office and saw how I was bouncing and smiling and how everybody wanted to talk to me. 10 o’clock clocked in before I even got served so I marched out of the queue to attend the second class which was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. That lec closes the door at exactly 10 so when you find the door locked, don’t bother knocking because according to her, there’s always the next class. And there’s always copying notes from your friends. 

So I rush back to my room to pick that unit’s book but because I’m in a new silk suit, I stop after every two seconds along the way to shake hands with comrades. That’s what a suit does, it makes you feel so loved and important. It makes hunnies worship you. It makes your haters want to dip their heads deep into sand when they meet you. It turns you into a motion Maasai Mara National Park where every eye wants to explore. I mean a good suit turns you into so many things. So by the time I arrive at the class venue, it’s already 10:15. Si I told you how that lecturer operates? Once you find the door closed you do what? 

(Un)fortunately, I find the door closed and just before I turn, a friend of mine who’s venturing into campus politics taps my shoulder and asks me to accompany him to the hostels for his campaigns. And I think that was the best sentence I heard that day (of course apart of a million “you look sharp today’s” – when you are used to wearing red slippers, a pair of shorts and a faded Jubilee red T-shirt to class then one day you find yourself in a sexy suit and somebody asks you to escort them to the hostels for his campaigns, you don’t need to think about it, you don’t even need to tell them “tupitie pale kwa tap nioshe miguu kwanza” you don’t need that, it’s an automatic YES. In fact before Mr. Politician could complete his request, I was already leading the way. As long as my new outfit was going to get views elsewhere, that lecture could as well go on for the whole semester for all I cared. Ama what would you guys have done? Look here, the first class bounced, the second one I was now late. What else was I to do?  Stand there till it ended? Naaah. 

So we walk into neat rooms and into dirty rooms. We enter rooms that you pop your nose in and want to throw up right away, rooms whose occupants seem have no idea how a rug or mop looks like. We also enter rooms that if ugali-beef was served on the floor, you could comfortably curl yourself down and enjoy your meal – very neat rooms. And also into rooms that play loud music and are so decorated you’d think you are in Buruburu nganyas (matatus). Some rooms you enter and nobody lends you an ear while in others, the moment you step in everybody stops whatever they were doing to listen to you. And you see, because we want to convince comrades to join our camp, we have to be down to earth and do what everybody does when they visit their friends rooms – so whenever we get a chance to sit, we ensure one of us (always me) sits on the bed as Mr. Politician stands to pour out our manifesto. You see guys, when you sit or lie on over a hundred campus beds in a single day, you will not know what your suit could collect from those mattresses. 

Anyway, from the hostels, Mr. Politician offers me a good meal before I rush for my next class. And because that lec doesn’t bother whether you walk into his class three hours later or two days earlier, I majestically bounce in thirty minutes past time (in my navy-blue suit, remember?). By the way coming in late was part of my strategies to ensure everybody got a glance at this beautiful piece of awesomeness walking in. Can you guess what happened when I walked in? Well,  nobody bothered to look at me, or maybe they pretended they didn’t like my suit. Then just before I grabbed a seat at the front, one hunny seated at the front row shouted “We toa hapa bedbugs!” and the whole class burst into laughter. Just like everybody else could, I did a quick scout at myself and my eyes descended on two healthy bedbugs going about their business on my new silk coat. 


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