Truecaller says your name is Kennedy

truecallerI didn’t know the meaning of a global village until recently. See, I’m not the IT guru who wears squared spectacles, striped shirts and a trouser that barely touches the ankles with suspenders, bright polka socks and rounded brown shoes and my name is not Steve. My idea of a global village revolved around mud huts with satellite dishes conspicuously poking out of the grass thatched roofs. A tribal party that went out to hunt for likes on Facebook and a gang of village women who went to solicit Instagram likes at the break of dawn. At the end of the day they’d parade their prowess and have a dance to cap it off taking snippets for their profiles and using it as fodder for the next day’s hunt.

There would be a village meeting to discuss unbecoming behavior and the sprouting of a new phenomenon where cleavage and actual boobs are posted to accelerate hunts. These would be threatened with ex-communication and public shaming. They would fight for their rights and claim socialite status – the men would defend them for a little glimpse on the side away from prying eyes. This new breed would now stop hunting the likes would come to them. They would boycott the dances and start their own where people paid to attend. They would be the center of attraction and they’d get offers for unlimited drinks all night long. They’d no longer wake up in the morning thanks to a hangover, they’d pioneer the use of hashtags, and they’d be at the pinnacle of social events as finally society accepts them as a necessary vice.

So imagine my shock when I found out it’s not an actual village with unlimited internet connectivity and socialite chiefdoms but a loose term referring to the connected world. I was devastated, I was saving up money to go visit the global village, I was even meeting conditions in my head that would ensure I got citizenship. There my blog would thrive, in a few years I would be the chief and with my new socialite wife start a dynasty of reckless tweets and titty Tuesday’s. The national anthem would be a trap song twerked to by the biggest bums in the kingdom. Currency would be whiskey and vodka and for loose change guaranna cans. The official residence would be the V.I.P section of a club and shops would have my selfie instead of a plain old portrait.

I got over the whole debacle – most people would call reality but they are boring – and moved on embracing the global village. It is actually amazing, I mean the world is at my fingertips. I feel like God, only better because I have internet. I fell in love with this thing they call ‘true caller’ now I never had to worry about having a conversation with someone for lengths on end just for me to scratch my head wondering who they were. Has that ever happened to you? You feel so embarrassed asking them who they are because you’ve spent the last ten minutes chatting and laughing like old buddies.

I remember this once I was in town having a cup of coffee. I was alone – dates are expensive – and it was midmonth. A chap walks in and sits two tables away from me. I don’t pay much attention to him but he keeps staring at me. I don’t know why he is staring at me but it makes me feel vulnerable like he is undressing me I feel dainty and my heart almost jumps to my mouth when he approaches me.

“Hi?” he says stretching out his hand “Shadrack right?”

“Ummh yeah, it is. How are you?” I say, a bit relaxed because he knows my name. People that know your name are almost always friendly – your mother, God, your ex-girlfriend – you know?

“It’s been ages. How are you? How’ve you been? Umemea ndevu bana.”

Then you wonder how to resond to the statement. I was supoosed to grow grass? What do you mean?

“I’ve been good. Niko tu. Wewe?”

All this time you don’t know who they are but they feel inclined to drop your name in every sentence and you kind of feel guilty. Their face is not the one bit familiar.

“Ah, Shady it’s been long.” He slaps you on the shoulder. “We should catch up. Give me your number.”

“Zero seven two…”

“Poa, yangu ni hiyo inaisha na three seven.”

“Nice time, bye.”

“Alright bye.”

It hits you that you did not get their name. They were so confident you’d remember them plus you aren’t in the business of dashing hopes so you played along. But the world is a global village and there’s this thing called ‘true caller’ so you run their number through holding your breath – Kennedy Macharia – who the fuck is Kennedy Macharia? You don’t remember ever knowing anyone by that name. What if he is a conman and just won you over by knowing your name? Now he has your number. What are you going to do if he calls you at midnight and asks you to go out with him? What if he kidnaps you and steals your liver? Okay not liver – that’s funny – your kidney? Kidneys aren’t affected by vodka right? Yes, so kidney. What if he sells your kidney to the highest bidder? What if he was running covert ops for that girl you drunk texted and never talked to again? What if she wants to marry you? What if she was him? What if he was she? What if he is an alien and you are about to be abducted? Dammit you shouldn’t have given your number you reckon.

A few weeks later I’m walking along the streets with a buddy. Then I see Kennedy. He looks at me and smiles warmly.

“Sema Shady?” he fist bumps me and turns to my friend extending his fist.

“Poa sana Ken” I feign interest

“Ah, kumbe unakumbuka!” he seems excited

“Bana, si ni zile ma day za nini ama?” I don’t even know how he would translate ‘nini’ for but you can use ‘nini’ to get out of anything. If you’re in trouble with the wifey for being late just say ‘Babe, the car broke down. Si you know that nini over there kwa engine has problems?” She will nod in agreement and that would be the last of it.

“Eeh nakumbuka. Poa boss baadae.”

As he walked away my friend asked me if I knew who the guy was. Of course I didn’t but I lied to him. You don’t let your friend know that you can forget people lest they think you’ll forget about them. Then they’ll start calling you with different numbers just to see if you recognize their voice asking you random trivia’s on your friendship like when you met or what their favorite drink is or the name of their side chick’s boyfriend. So I lied – after all maybe Kennedy Macharia is a good fella. If you’re reading this Kennedy I’m sorry. Next time we bump into each other I owe you a drink – just one – for all I know you could be a raging alcoholic or a teetotaler – but your eyes were red and blood shot and your breath stank a little bit of stale beer – so unless you live in a cave with high levels of carbon dioxide and use tusker scented toothpaste it’s one beer.


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