Day 3: On the bus…

This was definitely not one of my more intelligent plans. Who the hell does 7 posts in 7 days? ‘Do we not have jobs to go to?’ she asked herself last night, as she shrugged off the fast waning urge to blog. Then I woke up this morning ashamed, ‘Surely,’ I implored myself, ‘surely you can scrabble together a random list?’ I know, it’s cheeky, but when all else fails, write a list. The interwebs is built on pointless lists. To wit…

A Not Particularly Useful List Of Things I Thought About While Sitting In Traffic Today.

1. Why are the traffic cops still controlling traffic at the roundabout, when the lights work just fine?

I’m not sure how many more times I can rant about this before I lose what little is left of my mind and stone a cop. Seriously, government of the great county of Nairobi, what the hell? Buggers installed newfangled technology and ef’thing, complete with a countdown, at great cost. And then? Just when we hit the all important critical mass of drivers obeying the lights (and no longer hooting at you when you’re the one idiot that stops at a red light, because stopping at a red light is such an insane thing to do), the cops come out and shit goes right back to fuck. Throw in the lack of parking and the CBD becomes a no go zone for drivers. Which is why I was in a bus…

2. Why is the aisle in the bus so bloody narrow?

Now listen here bus fabricator people, some of us (read, me) are slightly wider than a coin and therefore cannot slither through those little gaps you falsely label aisles. Don’t laugh at me, you try weaving through that slit carrying a huge hand bag, trying not to rub your ass in some strangers face, or decapitate another with your laptop bag, all while trying not to trip over someone’s awkwardly placed feet or (my favourite) the omnipresent gunia of whatever, and this while the bus driver is swerving in and out of whatever lane he clearly doesn’t think he should be in. But hey, it’s only for a minute or two, while you make your way to your seat. Ptuh! What seat?

3. Why, oh why, won’t other passengers make space for you (me) on the back seat?

It’s bad enough I had to squeeze my way down the entire length of the bus, but when I got there these buggers wouldn’t make space for me. These two women, irritated at my sudden intrusion (mind you, its not like I popped out of nowhere all magical like, they’d watched me walk towards them for a full two minutes, bumping and apologising my awkward way down, only for them to stare up at me blankly), these lovely women moved apart a whopping two inches, and then looked up at me with a shrug. Now I’m a laid back kinda chick myself, not looking to start nothing, but these women were looking to get smacked. The conductor is shouting to me from the front of the bus, ‘Kiti huko nyuma!’ The women are nudging the men beside them to move. An additional two inches was created. Four inches of clear space, narrower than the aisle. ‘Songa huko nyuma!’ he hollers. No further movement. He stomps down the aisle at speed (how do they do that?). ‘Boss, hii space siwezi toshea,’ I tell him, pointing at my hips, hips wider than four inches. He looks at the four inches, then back at me. He nods. Kiti huko mbele!Stop laughing. Listen, my hips are not that wide, they’re just not 4 inch skinny, dammit.

4. Why are bus seats so small though?

Those geniuses tried to make space for me. They didn’t try so hard, but they tried. Problem is, those seats are made for children. Small children. They are not nearly wide enough and they have barely any leg room. As for the genius who thought a seat that sits three was a good idea in a bus, well… The one thing I regret about the Michuki Rules and the changes they wrought was what they did to the buses. Remember the old KBS/Stagecoach buses? The bit with packing us in like sardines wasn’t good, but when the buses weren’t overcrowded they were the best thing ever. Bright and airy; comfortable seats without unnecessary accessories like head rests; an aisle wide enough to walk through without having a discussion about your hips, or ass, or boobs, or your belly (ahem); slow enough that you didn’t need a seat belt and a prayer to feel safe… Good times.

5. Have you noticed we don’t litter at bus stops any more?

I didn’t think we’d ever stop tossing our tickets wherever as we alighted. Not too long ago you knew where the stage was not by the sign but by the rubbish on the ground, and the obligatory maize seller. These days, not a scrap of paper in sight. Well, the odd scrap, but not a ticket, at least not in the CBD. Who would have thought? Perhaps now we can stop throwing crap everywhere else? No? Baby steps.

6. I don’t think those hand held scanners work.

Either that or they are finely tuned, very finely tuned. I didn’t think so either. Makes for a reassuring gesture I guess, although it gets me thinking, if the bus is jacked, or god forbid blown up, can I sue the bus company for negligence, assuming I don’t die?

7. Bus drivers have split personalities.

When I’m driving, the bus driver is the one guy I can count on to cut me off and then swear at me. When I’m his passenger, he’s the nicest fellow, happily chatting to me like we’re old friends, telling me about his kid who’s just started school, even as he’s cutting off another driver to his right, and swearing at them. Split personalities those ones. In fairness, I should point out that I may, possibly, drive as badly as he does, and I definitely swear at other drivers worse than he does, and I’m almost as charming to my passengers too, but in my defence, I already know I have several personalities all up in here (motions at hips…yes, you can nod…). Guess that means I should become a bus driver.