Until recently, I would spend my hard ‘begged for‘ airtime from some aunt to call just about anyone, provided I saw your contact before the airtime was depleted. The ever serious desk mate back in form 1, my quarrelsome grandma who will always ask when I’ll be visiting her again despite being upcountry less than a month ago, the few cousins who can tolerate my bullshit, an aunt somewhere whom I’ve always been asking her to get me a new Playstation console that she promised last century, my supposed new friend we met when we went swimming last weekend and (here comes my favorite) the “dem galz”, all received my calls. I know at times I come out as a philandering dude, but that may or may not be the case.
As an adolescent growing up in a certain neighborhood that can’t be put here for reasons well known to the chief and local elders, it’s paramount to prove to the world that you got some good language skills. Show them that your ngeli is as good as your grammar, your verbs equalling to none’s. So most of the time I met a new miss, one who is approachable, I would ask for her ten digits and because phones were not as common then as they are today, those who never owned one mostly had Facebook accounts. You just ask for their user name in zuckerberg’s brainchild and you got yourself an online date. In fact this was my most preferred way. Back then, I was a proud owner of a Nokia (can’t remember the model number though), the small ones that had its letters arranged in A~B~C~D format. This was not until the QWERTY came along and my pride turned to envy. It never hit me that most of those QWERTYs were ‘made in China’. Anytime I was to ask a number and I see the miss or anyone in the vicinity having a superior phone, mine would be ‘forgotten’ or charging somewhere, mostly at a friend’s house. Luck was always on my side, since in all these pretences, no one ever dared to call my kabambe or else the toy in my right pocket would echo Jay Z’s ‘forever young’ or Eminem’s ‘No love’, my all time favorite ringtones. And because memorizing a ten digit number is as hard as cramming Schrödinger’s Equations, I preferred going the “give me your fb name..” way. Maybe from there, she will give me her number as a Facebook message or sometime just steal it from their profile.
Away from how I got their numbers, just know I spent a lot of Collymore’s tokens on them. There were times I would call with 20ksh worth of airtime, have someone sambaza (send me airtime), and okoa jahazi (have network providers lend me some …) just to talk to some lightskin somewhere who was not my mother and we promised each other the universe. That 20ksh was a substantial amount then, when we had nothing like storobonus and maize flour was still cheaper than 90ksh subsidized GoK-Mexican blend unga. But thanks to inflation, the same amount is not even close to enough to call customer care and ask for the identity of the beautiful voice behind calls that never reach the intended. I think we are all familiar with the “samahani, mteja wa nambari uliopiga…” or “sorry, the mobile subscriber cannot be reached” person. I’ve been dying to see this madam.
Someone may be wondering where I’m going with all these. Well, this today is for those who think they are way too important to observe simple rules of telephone usage. Isaac Newton once said, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Therefore, I’m irked by the maggots(please substantiate this with the worst word you can think of) who expect you to call them yesterday, today and tomorrow simultaneously, without even them taking their time to reciprocate. For them, it’s action, action and action. No reaction. I’m not talking about your mother or that always busy aunt who for reasons unknown to me, she’s still your favorite as far as the extended family relationship is concerned. These are the ladies and the very few gents who will go haywire should 25 hours pass without hearing from you yet they can’t call. The ones who want to be seen as if they are concerned when you meet will ask …na umopotelea wapi?…Mbona umenitupa?… Tulikoseana nini?… kind of questions. Bitch, if you never thought about me until I called you or bumped unto each other at Altona on Tom Mboya street ordering the very same fries you once said you are allergic to, that you prefer chicken inn, please spare me the ‘ I miss you’ drama. If you really did, you would have called before or even texted “hi”. I’m damn sure it won’t cost you a dime if you WhatsApped me with the free wifi you are enjoying courtesy of your generous neighbors.
Then comes the WhatsApp and telegram demigoddesses. You see her online and text “hey?”. The ticks change from single, to double then blue and at the same time there is a “typing” at the top. You hold your breath as you wait for an answer but almost immediately, the typing disappears and it’s replaced with”online” and at times, “last seen”. You may decide to wait for a reply forever, but be sure it will all be in vain. If you are lucky, you’ll text today and the reply would be after the general elections. And there is a worse breed of this class. They won’t even bluetick a nigga. Why should they show they are concerned to the point of reading your text? You see the online and last seen interchangeable but an answer is not forthcoming. This are the times a petty brat like yours truly here would make a WhatsApp call just to notify them you are still around… monitoring her activities from a distance.
It’s after being hardened by such maggots that now if I get storobonus past 11pm, I would wake some people up to talk to rather than call others who I’m very sure are awake at that time. Before I make a call, I check the call log history. If I made the last three or four calls, Don’t expect my call anytime soon. Unless you are my mum, grandma, an elder relative (I mean the class of my aunts and uncles going upwards) or a crush, you will have to look for me too. And for the crush, don’t play hard to get for too long or else I’ll simply pass with your best friend. I’ve come to think I’m more of a nuisance to you so I have to stop the unwarranted calls . I’m saving a lot of cash anyway. I may consider those who take their time to text me, but if you search for me only when you want help, I’ll use my airtime on something more constructive like calling my grandma and ask her to narrate a folklore or sing me ‘kanungo e teko’.