Does Your Wallet Make You Happy?

Does Your Wallet Make You Happy?

Does Your Wallet Make You Happy?

1000 1000 Oliver Kagwe

On a little stool near the glass table lies a brown wallet. It was bought one random evening on a street in South B at 9PM in the night. Oliver assumes that the Maasai who he bought it from had walked all the way from Kajiado to South B (72.6 km) just to sell it to him. During his journey, he had learnt and practised the art of spotting people like Oliver who were reckless with money, how to begin a conversation with them and how to carefully select the right words to use so that they end up wasting the money on him than on anything else. He sold his wallets, belts and other beaded items at some crazy prices, but people like Oliver still bought because they were… well… people who just buy things. But this story is not about the Maasai man from Kajiado, it is not even about the brown wallet that now lies on a little stool near the glass table and Oliver who… well.. just buys things. It is about nothing.

The wallet is puffed up. If it were a human being, it would be overly fat. It would love to eat crisps and fries and burgers and pork. It would have short fat fingers like sausages and its general physique would remind one of an ice cream that was defrosted then frosted again. It would be selfish because overly fat people feed themselves first. It would sweat and gasp for air after the simple operation of stretching to scratch its back. I also think it would love to open the fridge at night to grab a bite, which in this case is an entire family’s meal. Normal people would make fun of it and it would cry, and later in the evening it would tell its mama, who would tell it “its ok” knowing full well it is not.

Oliver has congregated himself in one corner of his bed contemplating on it (the wallet). He knows full well that the bulge on the wallet was not anything put a smile on his face. Even on anyones face. It means nothing. They were just plastic cards that only meant something in certain situations. Before he placed it there, he had checked it to see how much had been left of the 5K he had that day. He was sure there was something like 2K, but he wanted to confirm by sight and touch. When he looked inside it, he felt a certain strength literally leave his body. Bemused, he started to look even in the spaces where he never kept coins, leave alone notes. The 2K was not there. Neither was his peace. Only his plastic cards. It was May the 12th 2016. Time was 9:52PM and situation of individual was: fucked up!

Earlier that day, he had spent quality time not listening but hearing sirens and cars hooting and engines roaring and hawkers shouting and people talking – all in random order. He hadn’t even considered thinking when for a moment he wondered “how chaotic can the world be?” It was the noise of the city. The big, dirty city that was (and still is) governed by a noisy man who dishonourably put up some ridiculously looking things on a Country’s Capital City. I am sure he meant lions but what he erected ended up looking as trash as the insides of his head.

Oliver observed a group of tiny girls gossiping very loudly about one thing and another (you know what happens when two or more girls meet. It is worse when these girls happen to be short). If the loudness of a voice was directly proportional to the size of the mouth, then these girls would have mouths bigger than their heads, a spectacle man had never seen before. We would be forced to create a name for the creature and scientists would begin their works of science on it. Mostly the would study its IQ levels and the peculir relationship between its mouth and its height. Anyway, Oliver continued to observe. He noticed the overdramatised make up but he chose to not dwell on that so much. What caught his eye prompting him to dwell a little longer there were the claws on these girls. You’d think they burrow the earth like ground squirrels. Or sword fight with their long nails. Or plough a farm! But Oliver concluded that it was an adaptation that allowed them to easily rip off young men like him who, well… just bought things.

Oliver had only seen a few things in this life, but non matched the sight of two wakorinos are having a chat as if they are just anybody. Not that they are unique, but they are also not just anyone. On a closer look, the female one was pregnant. Oliver was about to take out his phone and launch the camera, for when was the last time (or even first time) you saw a paged mkorino? And there is a dynamic to consider here – they are in the capital city (ideally you don’t see them here), seated at Galitos (they prefer to cook at home), having a chat (they love to sing) and munching down some fries with grilled chicken (the grilled part… that’s where the link was missing). Oliver was fascinated and find himself smiling uncontrollably like an idiot. And an idiot maybe because it was 50 minutes ago that he ordered his own grilled chicken with fries, and what he had been served so far was only a side plate with cutlery.

That night, Oliver put the wallet down and bundled himself up in a corner – seemingly in disbelief and regret. The 2k was not there. Meanwhile there was a lot of month ahead of him. He had to pay bus fares. To feed himself. To contribute to some good courses (like funerals. Or for the youth group of his church to buy a drum kit). To buy airtime. And even just to have some cash lying around his pocket so that he feels the way men are supposed to feel when they have some cash lying around. Challenge is, he had an Mshwari loan. And Tala. And Branch. He also owed China something in the region of a 110K. Oliver was in serous debt.

Yet he wolfed down his meal at Galitos like it was going to vanish into thin air every next second. The chicken oozed all juices and flavours and aromas life had to offer. The fries crumbled under his jaws to release excitement like an orgasm and the cold Coke he gulped down later confirmed to him how life deserved to be lived. He also experienced feelings of belonging and others of of superiority. These first few days of the month, no one can conquer him. He calls the shots. He even has a say in the decisions of the deep state. Alas! A Sunday afternoon could not better be spent.

But on Monday morning life was exactly what earth is. A fucking circle that went round the same thing. Today here in this position tomorrow there in another. Today, Oliver was in the position of bad decisions and no fare. And the realisation of all the negatives (minuses) in his life. I will not tell you if he went to work or not. Or if he was fired or not. Or if he made the default move of making himself a promise and swearing in the name of God. But I can tell you one thing; he did not call the shots. He never sat at the table with the deep state. In fact, he was just an ordinary citizen. Wanjiku’s husband.

I met him another time. At Galitos. He was belching like a mannerless child because he had just finished eating half a chicken. I sat next to him and we had a chat. I wanted to see his wallet, but he said “I burnt it.” I asked why. He said he hated seeing it empty. But he loved to live a good life.

Dear reader, you should love to look at your wallet. And for the love of God, save some money!