What Do you Want?

This question when asked inappropriately depicts arrogance. Photo Courtesy of Kyle Eschenroeder

It is Monday morning. I am walking slowly heading to town, something so unusual of me. The day before, I spent the whole day playing all kind of games ranging from volleyball, football to racing. I am walking with a short pace so that I can try and normalize my muscles. They feel strained in a way and if I won’t keep exercising them slowly I may develop muscle fatigue. Walking is a very important exercise especially when done on a relatively long distance.

So as I walk, there is this lady who is coming from the front. She is beautiful. Her stature is one of those every lady dreams of. She is slender, a bit tall and walking briskly. I could recommend her to one of these Riverwood directors so that she can get a leading role. Something like being the main actor’s wife. The main actor whom I suppose will be male in this case should have a taste for modesty. He should not be the type that wants women clad in half naked attires because this particular one knows where to cover and what fits her without revealing her very self to the world.

Back to my story. She is walking towards me while she is ransacking her handbag. It is a black bag, a bit too big for a Monday morning but she still looks dope with it. I wonder what she is searching frantically. I think she could be searching for deodorant maybe. She seems to have been hastening and in the process she felt she needed to freshen up. I am convinced this is the reason through imagination because I am at close range now and I don’t hear her phone ringing. That is my thought nevertheless.

This lady walks past me. But wait a minute, I heard something drop and make a sound as though it was a silver coin. I turn to look. It is the small ointment called Robb. It dropped from her bag and this I am sure about. So I politely raise up my voice with the ‘excuse me’ phrase. She doesn’t turn. Maybe she ignores it. I repeat with a louder voice and this time she turns and gives me that look our mothers gave us and we knew it was going to rain from hell.

Our mothers back in the day gave you a virtual caning even before the real one came. For instance my mum could look at me and I would decode the number of canes I was going to receive. We connected with them. As a matter of fact, it was more dire if she smiled at you sarcastically rather than if she gave you that blank look that said, “Boy, you owe me three strokes of cane.” We dreaded those looks especially if they were given while we are in church or in the presence of visitors. We prayed harder that our dads were around because they didn’t ‘like’ noise. Noise especially made by small brats crying because their mothers were getting their dues of promise.

This lady gave me one of those looks. I looked at her in the eye while my finger pointed at the Robb. She didn’t see that. Perhaps all she had in mind were thoughts that maybe I am the man I am. You see men are hunters. Unfortunately that was not me on this day. She blankly asked me, “unataka aje?” This question translated means, “What do you want?” It was vague. I could not imagine that society had reached this level where any man trying to seek the attention of a woman to communicate elicited suspicion of perversion. I told her she had dropped one of her valuables, turned and went my way.

I did not wait to be told thank you. My thoughts drifted quickly to my mission. One of getting my body back into form. But once I sat in my small ‘office’ as I tried to put myself together for the day, this instance came to mind and I was left to wonder what the lady thought when I excused her. The question could mean something else depending on how it is aid and in what context. She had said it in a manner that suggested I was a marauding hyena going about howling at every turn to stamp my presence so that the fearful can run away and that I can feast on their hard earned kill. The analogy of the jungle.

The question, “What do you want?” is a good one. I remember early this year when I had a meeting with one of the richest Kenyans and Africans for that matter. After we had sat, exchanged pleasantries and leveled the atmosphere, he looked into my eye and asked what we wanted him to help us with. The tone, atmosphere as well context made it a humble request. I did answer and never have I felt that it was rude. We had not met with him before, and so as first time strangers we tried from our ends to be respectful in as much as he knew not what I wanted of him.

The last thing I remember from my encounter with the lady is the surprise that she registered after noticing the Robb and the faint smile that followed. It dawned on me that beauty is very wide. We define it narrowly. She may have said sorry or thank you, which is courteous. Maybe she could have been having a bad Monday morning. That notwithstanding, she could have expressed herself politely.

I have to conclude that we ought to be very careful with how we react in the case of a stranger excusing themselves politely. It calls for a quick assessment of the whole situation before we could respond negatively. Now that there were other many people walking by, I felt embarrassed but my thick skin took it all in. Words have power. How we say them have greater power.

Nothing in this world can take the place of a kind behavior. Behaving badly is a kin to lying to yourself or someone who knows the truth already.


Copyright @ 2019.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Politics, Policy, Technology, Current Affairs, Opinion, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance, International Emerging Issues, Society, and culture. For featuring, promotions or support write to us at dailyfocus9@gmail.com
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