A Call at 3.00am

photo courtesy
By Tabitha Makumi,
Sometimes you get to experience your fears in full force. You spot a spider on the wall, you reach out for the slipper to teach that eight legged freak a lesson but it’s vamoosed. Poof. Where did it go? Did it find a hiding place in your weave? Nobody knows…. that right there is real fear. Don’t look at me, who doesn’t fear spiders?

Other times you are called into the HR office “Due to the tough economic times, low sales this year …yada yada yada…we are afraid we have to let you go.” Your heart thumps so hard you can feel the heart beat in your ears. You act cool when you get back to your desk. You have two weeks to figure shit out. You act normal among your co-workers. You can’t bring yourself into telling them about the tête-à-tête you just had with the HR lady. Finally, when you are all alone in the lift at 5.30m and it’s all quiet and your demons awake… you finally feel it…Fear.

Maybe I should start from the beginning, three weeks ago, a couple of like-minded folks (bloggers/ writers) found ourselves in Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, courtesy of this guy who’s close upon starting a Kenyan style “Huffington Post” news outlet.

There we were, around 10.00pm, seated around a camp fire. Foodies, fashionistas, petro heads, political fanatics….. and then people like me. People who are still trying to figure out what in the world they want to write about. “Don’t put us in a box kind of peeps.” (Also, people who haven’t bought a domain yet and are still and might I add ‘proudly’ using. blogpsot and .wordpress ) Hehehe

So, after zapping a couple of mosquitoes on a Saturday night and a couple of beers down, the organizer decided we needed to loosen up a bit. “What do you fear most?” he poses to no one in particular, there’s this kinda deathly silence around us. You could have heard a pin drop (that’s one stale idiom )Writers, phew…. Tough crowd if you dig people who liven up on que, you know, the “Whoohoo!” kind of mates who are down for good time shenanigans at whatever cost. On the other hand, writers are cool people to hang out with if you like to chill and you don’t feel the urge to fill in the silence.

So, I take a swig of my beer (Tusker Lite) which is getting hotter by the minute. I hate the taste of it. Never liked beer, but you do not go around asking for a red sweet wine in the middle of a freaking national park. I take another gulp. Wait, it tastes better. I could get used to this. Wait, no... I can’t.

“Maybe we should start here,” he points to his left to a light skinned babe (cough) who had earlier introduced herself as Jeanine, a food blogger. She is rocking a natural up-do and a brown hoodie with the word “Harvard” scribbled on the front. Did she really attend Harvard? I make a mental note to corner her just out of sheer curiosity.

Did you attend Harvard too?” I imagine she would ask and I would laugh ( a real LOL) and say, “Oh…me…noooooooo, Kariandusi Tertially College, Year 2013.”

I figure she would be speechless and pretend to not have heard me, because how would that conversation go “Kariandu…what,”

“Kariandusi Tech right next to Nyamakima Institute of Marine Studies”

Awkward silence…..

Anyway, she is now chatting about her fears. The beer is making me all groggy and warm inside. I hear her talk about bungee jumping. “Back in 2014, my friends and I went bungee jumping in Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon, Arizona and there was a slight hitch with the rope while I was midair …" She goes on for about 15 minutes about how her fear of elevations started two years ago. Being the decent folks that we are, we nod and give her that “we feel you” sort of look, despite the fact that most of us have no freaking clue of what the devil bungee jumping is all about. “Huyo ni myama mgani Jeanine?” I am asking for a friend.

“What about you Amos…what do you fear most?”  enquires the event organizer

Amos is this chap who writes about cars and dreams of owning an Alfa Romeo SZ Racer in the near future (cough). A real petrol head addicted to motor shows such as Top Gear and Grand Tour Nation. He recently introduced me to DriveTribe and even though most times I am clueless about what the authors (Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May) are raving about, I really dig their style of writing. You should check their site sometime if you are into cars.

“I love the carbon brakes on the Mercedes AMG,”
he will sneak such lines into a conversation about pizza or the doctors strike. And all you want to do is yell, “Alright, alright, we get it…you love cars, I know that, they know that, the whole world knows that…now shut the eff up.”

He takes a swig of his beer and stares at the fire “Please do not start starting talking about some sort of fear of an imagined world without cars..” wait, why is everyone looking at me? Did I say ‘that’ out loud. Amos clears his throat, or someone else does…I can’t tell, the beer is really getting into my head.

“What I fear most is getting a call at 3.00 am because I know nothing good can come out of a call made at that time,”

“Unless it’s a booty call,” chimes in the Havard lady

We all laugh. A tired laugh. I can’t feel my face. I haven't slept in my bed since Thursday, and I do really miss my bathroom right about now.

“I guess it depends with who is calling you at 3.am,” I hear Amos explain. “If it’s my parents, siblings or close friends, then I would be scared shitless.”

That gave us something to mull over. Darn you Amos for making our fears appear shallow. I can’t recall what I shared with this awesome crew but I might have mentioned spiders and post election violence. Needless to say, Amos gave me a new fear to obsess over…. A call at 3.00 am.

PS: Ricky, all the best in your “Huffington Post” idea. Hit me up if you are ever looking for fabulous “don’t put me in a box” kind of writer.