By Ted Malanda
Being a friend in need, I hastened to the watering hole along Lang’ata Road, parked my car, which, like most Kenyan jalopies, is in a serious state of disrepair, and hastened to the doorway.
“Management reserves the right of admission,” a legend at the door announced. I thought that would be a great thing to have at Parliament buildings.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the pleasure of pinching someone’s nose. The bouncer at the door looked like he wrestled with chimpanzees. Besides, even if I had dashed back to my car to retrieve my Maasai rungu (club), which I keep in the event that a bit of road rage spirals out of control, he would still have fractured my spine in six places.
So I meekly surrendered to the search and strode in. The greetings were hearty — a firm handshake and the half-hearted hugs that men reluctantly share in a bid to firmly separate themselves from the mushy embraces that our sisters exchange. But you know what happened next?
Instead of launching into a deep discussion about the weather, we fished out our mobile phones, tablets, iPads and whatever gadgets men and women carry these days, ignored each other and got lost in outer space.
Three hours later, when we staggered out of the place, we hadn’t exchanged more than ten words — all ten of us.
A couple of years earlier, the scene would have been markedly different. We would have arrived and found the place shrieking with noise to the rafters.
Blaring TVs hung on every square foot of the wall, loudspeakers screaming hip-hop rubbish laced with the ‘F’ word, and patrons fighting to converse in the maddening din.