Can you guess what I do first as soon as I board a matatu? I clasp my phone so firmly I could feel pain in my wrist. I then direct all the signals in my nervous system to the receptors located in the dermis and epidermis, just around my right butt (where my wallet is). That is after, of course, I ensure that I have enough change to cover my travel cost for the rest of the day. To somebody who grew up in an honest society, free from the vile tribulations of city life, this would seem unwarranted. Not after the tales of how people lost their staff in matatus wreck their ears and now they have to join the ever-growing list of skeptical Kenyans. That’s not to say I hate Matatus. Apart from the fact that I don’t own a Matatu, I at times marvel at our Matatu culture.
Fig tree stage at Ngara is my favorite school as far as matatu lessons are concerned. This is normally where I board my rides, whenever I attend to wizardry devoirs in Westlands. And just like many other matatu stages, I always meet celebrated and professional passenger actors. These are the so-called pretend-passengers, whose calm but muddied silence is enough to fool you into a practically empty Matatu. It, however, doesn’t take long before you realize you’re the first passenger. I don’t dislike them though. Because they were and still are very important contributors to the now boring and rhetoric phrase, ‘We are not what we look like’. Anyway, isn’t it just interesting what people decide to do with their lives?
‘Wisdom is learning the boundaries of one’s designated lane’, I am actually surprised it is Raymond Reddington (Hi Blacklist fans) who actually said this. Why is it so easy and effortless for people to compare lanes? Maybe we were lied to that the crowded lane is always the right one but did they also convince us that the most traveled route is actually the right one? Well, you better listen to me little darlings. It’s never always about what you want. Sometimes we just have to take what we can and leave. Our quest to be remarkable, even if it means losing everything, fails logic. Have you heard of what a mum told his daughter? This is what she said, ‘My little girl, anything worth doing is worth doing poorly’, and emphasizing that it’s okay to enjoy doing things even if you’re not good at them.
Guess what, I might be just buying into this philosophy. Whatever you choose to be, whether a mouse face or a lions tail, a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond, if it gives you satisfaction, well and good. But it’s all about you and your ride. It is all about making enough unintentional mistakes, the ones you will laugh about when you finally get it right. Choosing to be something that society considers petite is not a lack of ambition. Again, choosing something big that the society has already ruled it out as absurd, is not impossible. It is all about what sets us on fire and our brains in motion. I hate it when I am reminded of what people of my age have achieved. Conforming to what everybody else is thinking, when I have already proved to myself that I am amazing and distinctively above the average thought, is a mockery and utter disregard to the building blocks of who I am. Why am I even me, if I can’t choose my own different way of doing things? That’s not to say I am overconfident in my own abilities. I already know that vanity is corrosive. Here is the dessert; Diversity is the mother of innovations. And there can be no diversity without singularity.