September 8, 2018
The damage on my ATM card forced me to wake up and leave the house earlier than usual this morning. Saturdays are my laziest days of the week. I usually go back to sleep after my morning prayers which is usually between 5:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. This goes as far as noon or 12:30 p.m. sometimes. Ah, see how lazy-a** Saturdays make me!
But today was exceptional.
I damaged my ATM card two weeks ago while withdrawing money from the Oilibya Petrol Station along Limuru Road and I had been procrastinating to replace it. The machine had an issue and I think pressing one number was resulting in double entries, hence my card got rejected after three trials. “Your card does not work, eww!”
I at last said, “F online banking,” and headed to the bank on Friday evening to change my ATM card. Once at the customer desk, the guy at the desk told me to fill a form with signature and every personal detail they wanted. (You know how banks cry for all your details as if intending to submit them to government intelligence agencies?) I finished filling the form and gave it to him while asking how long it will take. He said, “A week or five days.” I told him that I want express and that a week or five days is long. He said they will do express, but it will take an hour, to which I said, “It is fine.”
He scribbled some few details from my National Identification Card, signed and stamped. He then called someone on the telephone next to him and unapologetically told me, “I afraid it will take more than an hour. There are a lot of people and the printing machine has an issue.” I silently mumbled to myself, “Here is another disappointment!” I said it is okay and that I will still wait.
My friend, who accompanied me to the bank, appeared a bit unsettled with the feedback. I sensed that he wanted us to proceed to the hood and have a later lunch—we left the office at 12:30 as it was Friday and later attended the Friday sermon at the grand mosque. It was already 3:00 p.m. when we were told we will have to wait for more than one hour. So, having noticed my friend’s desire to have us leave for lunch, I scratched my head and asked the guy at the desk if tomorrow (today) will be less crowded to which he answered, “Yeah, come tomorrow; we will open from eight p.m. to twelve noon.” I told my friend, “Let us have that bite you are silently craving,” and headed to Eastleigh where we hammered some juicy goat ribs and rice.
So this morning, after waking up and praying, I went back to have a nap and set my alarm for 9:00 a.m. so that I might prepare myself and reach the bank before 11:00 a.m., in order to be served before noon. When my alarm went off, I lazily crept out of bed while silently cursing the machine that ruined my card, the guy who told me to come back and anything between and headed to the bathroom to brush my teeth and shower. I later woke up my roommate who also brushed and took a quick shower, and we left for breakfast since we don’t cook at home. See how lazy some bachelors are!
At the bank, I happened to be the only customer who wanted to replace his ATM card and I was lucky enough to be served in 30 minutes time. I quickly activated my new ATM and left the bank at around 11:40 a.m. and headed to Al-Yusra restaurant, a Somali restaurant at the centre of Nairobi Central Business District because I needed somewhere to kill time till 1:00 p.m. so as to pray at Jamia Mosque. Now here is a small fact about me and Al-Yusra: I have always seen it as an over-rated and over-populated restaurant. And it always shooed me away by showing me how many customers it hosted every minute. In short, we weren’t in love with each other.
But today I said no and nonchalantly stepped inside, chose a quiet and secluded corner and ordered for tea with camel milk when a waitress approached me. I removed Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye from my bag and started devouring it while I waited for my order. The waitress, a short, brown lady with a black scarf tied on her hair came with the order and boy, was I wrong! I used to drink tea with camel milk from other Somali restaurants like City Star while in town presuming that Al-Yusra got nothing on them, but I was wrong. First, it was laced with a small amount of Nescafé and the combination of the milk and the tea leaf was carefully done, and it didn’t need me to do any more preparation except adding two spoonfuls of sugar. I enjoyed it and even saw myself unable to concentrate on the book I started.
I finished it faster than I expected and this forced me to order for mineral water since I was not hungry and as I never wanted to sit there and occupy a space while I wasn’t eating or drinking anything. With 15 pages done and half of the water gone to my stomach, I looked at the time and saw that it was 12:30. I picked myself up, paid the bill and went to the mosque to pray the 1:00 p.m. Dhuhur prayer. As I left the restaurant, I talked to myself and said, “After all, these guys’ camel milk tea is not that bad. Shame on you for presuming without ever trying!”
I later went to attend a weekend Arabic class which ran from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., prayed Asr prayers at the mosque and boarded a bus back home. When I reached the hood, I together with two of my friends who were waiting me, went to a tea drinking joint and enjoyed few cups of the ever-satisfying camel milk tea that has always been our numero uno. We hanged around for a while and later after we prayed the Maqrib prayer, parted ways. After an hour in the house scrolling my social media newsfeed, I went down for dinner and enjoyed a softly made pancake with meat cut into small cubes and soaked in oil called oodkac in the Somali language. I hurriedly left for home again to catch up with the UEFA Nations League football matches of the day.