A GUARD AND A SET OF TOILET KEYS.


keys
On most days I like my job. It doesn’t pay all the bills but it sure does pay most bills. Of course I have days when I want to chuck my deuces, ‘to flip that middle finger and the index finger follow’ but on these days I always go to a corner and talk myself down.
“Do you want to be jobless?”
”No!”
“Then stop acting like a brat and go make a living”. I would then go into the office and work for that salary. Then I would think of my pay check and would have to go another round in the corner. However, that is not what all my days are filled with. There are days that shock and amaze me. Days that are special than most. Take this day for example.
It’s a cold Wednesday afternoon. I am shivering in my seat cussing the devil for convincing me to wear a skirt. My legs feel like popsicles. I would have wished to spend this day in bed, with a hot cup of coffee and a good book by my side. I particularly had ‘The girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ tucked somewhere in my bag. If I could only have an hour with this book and a cup of coffee, my day would be made. . But that doesn’t pay the bills, I think to myself as I explain to the client in front of me for the umpteenth time why Safaricom are the only entity authorized to reverse M-pesa transactions. He is not getting my point so I take a pen and printing paper and actually draw a diagram to show how this works.

Just when I thought the client was about to get my point, this guard walks up to me. I give her the side eye. You know the eye that says ‘approach only if the building is on fire’. With one hand in her pocket she moves towards my desk. Her uniform is obviously new I think. A black pullover, black pants and white shirt paired with black boots. She is actually new here. Last week we had another guard, a sweet young man with a ready smile. I am assuming he is on leave or he has been laid off. You just never know with these security companies. The new guard, whom I haven’t gotten her name yet, comes to stand next to my desk. I assume this must be a life or death situation. She stands on my left and leaning over she whispers loudly pointing at the desk on the other side of the room, “Yule kijana hukaa pale ako wapi?’’, (where is that guy who sits over there?)
I weigh the pros and cons of directing her to another colleague. Customer service 101, never talk to someone else when you have a client in front of you. I decide to answer her quickly.
“He has gone to see a client’’ I say dismissively. In my head that is a proper answer. Now I can get back to drawing diagrams.
So I turn back to the client in front of me. He has a confused look on his face. I need a couple more printing papers I think.
Before I can ask him if he got my explanation, the guard announces “Unajua ameenda na vifunguo za choo?” (You know he left with the toilet keys?)
My jaw drops. I look at the client in front of me; thank God he was preoccupied with the drawing I had made.
“I am sure he left it with someone out there”. I say with clenched teeth. I need to get rid of this guard quick before she drops the name choo again.
“aki kweli aliwacha wapi?’’ she says half wringing her hands. Lord Jesus, don’t let her cry, I think to myself. I don’t know how to deal with crying adults, especially if they are crying over ‘vifungu za choo’. Why did people from the Rift have to put ‘kweli’ in their statements anyway?
“Si umpigie simu kweli?’’ she commands. (call him)
I look at her and shake my head.
“I am sure aliacha hapo inje, go check”. I am almost throwing her out by now. She refuses to budge.
“Wacha ni malizane na client kwanza” I tell her indicating the client who is looking at us now.
She hesitates and then stands and walks away, to my relief. Ten minutes later feeling accomplished after finally convincing the client how Safaricom works (even though I don’t work for them), I see the guard saunter to my desk. I feel like hiding. The determined look on her face tells me that she is back for the keys and she will get the keys.
I contemplate on making a dash to the back office and hiding from her. Before I could get up, the amazon is back at my desk.
“umempigia?”.
Maybe I should lie and say I had called the guy and he said he doesn’t have the keys.
“Sidhani anaeza enda na key”, I said avoiding the word choo
Ni yeye nilipea hio key. Na ona sasa ameenda nayo. She was becoming agitated again.
“Is the toilet key that important? I ask. Wrong question to ask, I know.
She stares daggers at me “yes!” she says “you see it’s because I have to hand over the keys when I finish my shift” she explains.
I understand and respect the need to follow protocol. So in a bid to adhere to them, I take out my phone to call my colleague. Imagine trying to ask a guy in a matatu if he took the toilet keys and if not where he left them. Trust me it’s not a conversation you want to have.
She eventually found the keys; turns out they had been taken by someone else. Of course I learnt to never come between a guard and toilet keys.


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