Saturday, 6 September 2014

Tall, dark, and handy

I got back from a trip a few weeks ago and stood outside the airport, waiting for my favorite cabbie to pick me up. He pulled up a few minutes later. In my car.

I got in, slightly puzzled, slightly amused.

‘Sorry,’ he said, laughing at my expression. ‘My car developed a problem at the last minute, so I decided not to risk using it to pick you up.’


I sat in the passenger’s seat in the front. It felt really odd because whenever I’m in my car, I’m in the driver’s seat. So this is what it feels like to sit on this side of my car, I thought to myself. It felt uncomfortable and horrible. To me, anyway. I suddenly began noticing all my car’s faults. They just seemed more visible sitting on the other side.

‘This car is really beginning to irritate me,’ I said out loud.

Poor thing. It turns 16 this year (like my son), and I bought it ‘gently-used’ a decade ago. How can it be 10 years ago, though? Where has the time gone?

It never lets me down. Then again, I hardly ever drive. I hate driving. I tell myself that my cab rides are my one luxury. (And my gym membership. Oh, yeah.). I hardly ever need to get it fixed. It’s solid. But old. And this year, it’s begun to look really old on the inside. It hardly cost anything and has more than served out its time, given what I paid for it. I thank God for it. Some of my friends have lovingly yabbed me over the years about my holding on to it, and I’ve always laughed it off, saying it was serving me well. But the wear and tear of age has taken its toll. One of my friends refers to it as ‘Grandma.’

I heaved a world-weary sigh.

I need a husband.

I sat with this thought for a while on my way home, suddenly intrigued by it.

Now, that’s an interesting thought. I don’t see the correlation, though. I think what you actually need right now is a new car.

Yeah, but if I had a husband, I wouldn’t need to bother having to think about one more thing. I don’t have any more room in my mind for anything new. He could just handle it and I could focus on a million other things.

My mind went back to how my car became my car in the first place. Back when we were married, my ex-husband made importing the car his personal project (much to my relief). He spent weeks doing his research and finally settled on a BMW. With all the car-jackings in this capital city, he figured I would need a reliable car that no one would want to steal. He was hardly ever around and wanted to be sure we’d be safe. ‘No one would want to steal a BMW in Nairobi,’ he explained. Apparently, car-jackers are only interested in Toyotas and Hondas (or at least they were in 2004). That sounded great to me. I think my involvement in this process (apart from footing the bill) boiled down to approving the color, and I was quite satisfied with that tiny role. How the car got from Japan to Kenya is beyond me, although I have all the paperwork in my possession.

Okay, so do you need a husband, or do you need a car broker?

Well, what’s wrong with having both?

Nothing! I’m just asking you what you ‘need’ right now.

Oh. … Well, in that case, the truth is, I know what to do in order to import a car. I may not know all the little details, but I know lots of people that would be happy to give me pointers and help me find a good deal. I guess I was just fatigued because I just got off a plane and so I started making mountains out of molehills.

Okay, good. So, back to the husband thing. If you ‘need’ a husband, then why have you been dodging your friends who’ve been trying to hook you up with eligible, ‘forty-something’ bachelors?

‘Dodging’ is a strong word. I haven’t exactly been dodging. I’m just being cautious and trying to make up my mind about what I want and what’s best before taking on any new responsibilities. A relationship is a huge responsibility.

Okay, so stop deceiving yourself, then. You need a new car and you’re not a two-year old. You know how to get one. No one ever said a husband was a pre-requisite. So, do what you need to do.

You’re SO annoying. Hush!

That settles it. Next year, God willing, I’m upgrading my car.