I wonder what our office electrician does when everyone’s electricity is functioning just fine. Every time I call him to inspect one issue or another, he greets me enthusiastically before following me to the matter at hand. And that’s the problem. Right there. After this jovial hello, right then, the conversation stops. Instantly, the curtain of his grand salutation is lifted to reveal an otherwise bored and probably lifeless individual. My attempts to create humor don’t do any good either because, usually, the joke becomes:
1. Too dry to be swallowed, OR
2. Too wet and therefore slippery/ambiguous
While driving back to the office last week, my friend and I happened to spot our now famous electrician (this post may be the most famous he will ever get) creeping through the winding stone paved walkways of the shopping center, seemingly half drunk. I remember asking myself what his best day looked like (from the outside). Did his best day translate to a late night drinking at a dingy rat infested pub? Or did it mean watching football in his tiny living room while his wife sweated in the kitchen? Had the man ever travelled to a place with different people -people who lived healthier and wiser- or was he comfortable with the south side of Nairobi? What did the man define his worst day to be? Was it the result of bad debt after a day spent fixing short circuits in South-of-Nairobi homes? Was it when he got home to find his teenage daughter waiting with a letter from the headmistress demanding that school fees be paid? Was that the worst it could get?
Everyone has a worst case scenario embossed in their brains; a situation that may potentially topple life’s balance as they know it. One thing I’ve found in common with all worst case scenarios is that they revolve around loss. This loss may be death of a loved one, losing a source of income, departure of friends and family or even a lost pet.
Just yesterday, a friend told me that when he gets stuck in traffic on his way home from work engagements, he looks at pedestrians plodding home in the muddy winter of June and thinks, “What’s his story?” Or “What Africa does that girl in jeans represent? What are her aspirations and why are they so different from her mother’s?” These questions reminded me that everyone has a story. Only an unfertilized egg lacks a story. As it sits there floating in my ovaries, it’s the only thing waiting for a story to happen to it. It’s the only thing wondering what life would be like on a good day, and what a worst case scenario looks like.
I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I am tormented by the uncertainty of my future. That’s turning out to be a worst case scenario, because I am a slow transitioner(if that’s even a word). I like to over think my schedules and choices. I like to know what will happen next week, next month, next year. I like to be ahead. For the first time in a long time, I feel left afloat an infinite sea. There are no islands, no gulls flying overhead, nothing. I will soon be tackling new challenges. I have to learn to swim and that scares me.