Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Matatu Songbirds

Early morning traffic in Nairobi is usually characterised by every comprehensible form of commotion with the exception of unicorns, mermaids and suicide bombers. An ordinary morning in a matatu shuttle features some the following sights, sounds & smells:
  • A conductor who is severely hangovered from a combination of nocturnal activity and a conglomerate of alcoholic drinks
  • A mixture of a myriad of perfumes,colognes, soaps, creams, sweat and what-nots in the air
  • Bump and grind R&B playing on the radio...and sometimes accompanied by a video projected on a very large screen situated at the front depending on the kind of matatu you've boarded
More often than not, some madam seated in the mid-section of the matatu shall be singing along to one of the ballads playing on the radio most notably the Whitney Huston & Boys II Men kind.

This is where all hell breaks loose.

Aside from not knowing the lyrics to the songs, the singer's high-pitched voice is horrid. If you've ever stepped on a hyena's tail, then you have a good idea. To make matters worse, they can't stick to the key of the song. This reminds me of the estate Jumuias (Christian Communities) where as soon as you strike the first chord on the guitar, the gathered faithful immediately dive into the hymn in different keys and pitch. It's annoying, irritating and on some occasions, traumatising. Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in freedom of expression in whichever way you deem fit. However if your freedom impedes my peaceful ride (reckless driving notwithstanding) to the destination, I take issue.

Some hidden talents should remain hidden.

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