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The transport system in the city of Nairobi is very hectic. If you want to arrive anywhere using public means you must have the heart of a warrior. It is a battle going to work. The bus driver and the conductor use foul language. All they care about is your fare, after you have surrendered it to them, they treat you like the scum of the world.

The buses are supposed (I am saying supposed because they) don't have seatbealts. They are also supposed to have a limited number of passengers, but that also isn't the case. Everybody seems to operate by the laws of the jungle. For those brave enough to face the truth (picture yourself before your mirror and think of what the mirror could say, if only it had a voice!) know that the credo should be: "man eat man society." If you are weak, woe unto you. If your feet can longer carry you around that fast while chasing after a bus, woe unto you. If you board a full bus, woe unto you.

In short, being a gentleman has taken a distant back seat. Take for instance, if a pregnant woman boards a full bus everybody knows what she shoudl have done. She should have been wise enough not to board a full bus. I think that is why no one dares surrender their bus seat in the name of being a gentleman. I can't blame them. Besides, this has never happened to me. The pregnant women who board a full bus I am travelling in never think it is prudent to stand next to me. So I don't get to battle. By the way, when you surrender your seat the consequences are dire. If the police stop the bus and find you standing, you will get arrested and maybe, spend time behind bars at the expense of someone who will just go on with their journey, as if nothing happened. This had never happened to me.

That is that morning when I boarded the bus I was in a very good mood. I was looking forward to having the day of my life. The bus kept stopping, at every stage, to pick new passengers. Passengers kept streaming into the bus until there was no more seat. As we progressed towards town a pregnant woman stopped the bus. The driver slammed on the breaks and the owman was ushered in. As she mounted the steps steam came from her gaping mouth. I could tell from her breathing, she would go into labour any minute. I just hoped it wouldn't happen before she mounted the last step and someone surrendered their seat, out of wanting to be seen as a gentleman.

The woman successfully mounted the last step. I pretented not to see that she was heading my way. I wished I had burried my nose into a novel. That morning though, as luck would have it, I had no book. But the person sitting next to me was readign a newspaper, I wished I had asked for just a page, at least I would have had my nose burried into something. The pregnant woman (whose pregnancy I wasn't responsible for) stood before me. She looked at me. Her gaze burnt into my eyeballs. I wanted to blink, just to remind myself that I wanted to pretend she wasn't standing next to me. Her gaze was so intense (don't tell me you won't believe this) I could see the eyes of her unborn baby's gaze combine efforts with hers. I know those who have never listened to Bryan Adam's HAVE YOU EVER REALLY LOVED A WOMAN won't understand when I say the unborn baby gazed at me. But believe me (or not) it happened.

I realized the whole bus was looking at me, waiting to see whether I was going to let a poor pregnant mother stand in a moving bus, next to a guy who wants to do all he can to be a gentleman. Now I was exposed to the danger of letting my common sense (that compels me to be a gentleman) to battle with the reality of the risk involved in surrending a bus seat. I thought about what could happen should the police stop the bus. I thought of all the gentlemanly behaviour I advocated and stood for. My common sense emerged victorious. I was going to do what my common sense deemed good.

The woman smiled.
I drew a deep breath.
I heaved a deep sigh.

I heard Bryan Adams sing from a distance. Let me see if I can be able to copy and paste the verse here. Okay, here goes.....
(To really love a woman
to let her hold you
till you know how she needs to be touched
you’ve gotta breath her
and really taste her
until you can feel her in your blood
when you can see your unborn children in her eyes
You know you really love a woman)

I looked at the woman standing before me. She smiled. I drew a deep breath.I heaved a deep sigh. The dimples in her cheeks broke my heart into pieces. I drew a deep breath. I sighed a deeped sigh. I was happy I had finally doen the right thing.

The journey continued, then minutes later, came to an end, at the city centre, I was happy the bus had not been stopped along the way. I was happy the woman was the first one to alight from the bus. I was also happy I had let common sense prevail. I had not surrendered my bus seat.



lifesong's picture


"Common sense is so uncommon it is the last thing a sensible person will ever do."

James Ouma

James Ouma,

Life's a Song
Sing it, dance it, live it!

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