Nairobi traffic jam is too slow today. But that is the least of Neville’s worries. His work contract elapses in a month and a half. He is behind on schedule on his car payments. Three days ago the bank sent him an email. Again: “How would he survive?” Neville revs up his Subaru. Traffic is moving. It will be okay. At least that is how he convinced himself.
Wairimu does not mind the traffic jam. She is no hurry. The house feels so big lately. Too silent to be precise. It would be nice to go back to someone. But who? Her mother has been inexorable lately. She has been asking her when she will bring someone home. How long will she have to wait before she can see her grandchildren? “But Nairobi men are so afraid of commitment,” Wairimu would try to explain to her mother. Wairimu shifts her Mazda Demio to the second lane. “Finally, an opening.” She says slowly to herself.
Okoth is agitated by the traffic jam. His sturdy Mercedes tells nothing of his turmoil. The custody battle is taking too long. His mother had forewarned him that Antoinette was a bad woman. He wished he would have listened to his mother. A tear finds its way down his cheeks as he waves for a lorry to pass.
The traffic jam is Adeline’s escape. She loves her new leather seats. The promotion was long overdue. She should pick Jayden from school. But the LC 200 Land-cruiser is static. “I think it is time to get Jayden a nanny,” she mumbles to herself as she shifts her Premio to gear 2.
Musa is mad. The traffic jam has wasted a huge chunk of his time. Since the curfew, he has only been making four rounds. And the boss has not repaired the matatu’s shocks. It has been months since he told him. The boss keeps saying he will look into it but nothing has been done so far. Musa honks the Isuzu’s horn, as the conductor shouts: “Roundah, Roundah, Oya Roundah.” The blaring music regales its clients.
Olivia loves the light hues made by the traffic jam. It looks beautiful from her balcony. She is expecting Chris. He had promised to show up after work. She prepared liver; his favorite. She turns her eyes towards the gate. It’s his Toyota Mark X. Chris looks manly in a t-shirt. She giggles and waves.
The Nairobi traffic jam is an agglomeration of thoughts, and if you strained your ears slightly farther into the rumble of cars and yelling, you might just catch a whiff of the mumbling brains. It is a symphony of anxiety and peace. Nairobi’s traffic is a throbbing heart.
You forgot about me. I’m in Musa’s Jav. I had just finished a gig in Kiambu, got to town and I boarded a mat home. My clients aren’t paying invoices in time, and when they do it’s in bits. Like rain droplets in a dessert.