How I Met Your Mother: The Kenyan Way

  • A silhouette of a couple on a date.
    A silhouette of a couple on a date.
    File
  • Nope. Not the American sitcom.

    How do you start off a letter to your future kid? A kid you haven’t conceived yet. Heck, the future baby mama hasn’t even said yes to a second date.

    Anyway, in the wise words of a famous Kenyan artist, if you know...you know.

    I thought it would be wise to document the unexpected encounter, just in case she actually ends up being your mother.

    Also, some big-time producer could end up reading it and start hunting me down for a script and just like that, the story of how I met your ‘mother’ ituomoe.

    A man working using a laptop. Following the Covid-19 outbreak, working from home is the new normal
    An individual using a laptop
    File

    The year was 2021, and just like almost everything else in that unforgettable and hug-less year, I met her online.

    She had set up an online car parts shop after losing her job to Rona (this is what the cool kids called the virus that brought the entire planet to a halt).

    Where was I...Yes, your mum is a mechanic. 

    It’s the first thing that stood out. I was in awe.

    Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

    Let’s try this again.

    I had been looking for a reliable spare parts supplier, having opened up my very first auto-shop just before the pandemic struck.

    With all the government regulations, moving around was actually rocket science for those of us that weren’t regarded as critical service providers.

    This is how I ended up scouring the web.  

    I don’t know how search engines work when you’ll be reading this but in 2020, one wrong search word could take you along some very unsavoury parts of the web.

    That was how I learned that ‘parts needed’ is too vague and some of the results...Ahem.

    Luckily, your mum is a smart one. One of her social media pages popped up...I’m assuming she had my keywords pre-tagged on her end.

    I don’t know how those ‘things’ work...but I found her.

    “Need parts? Look no further”

    “I do shop/house deliveries in and around Nairobi. DM for orders” part of her bio read.

    I liked the ‘Zee’ as opposed to ‘The’ in her handle. It said a lot about her, just enough to distract me from my mission.

    “Hi. I found your page on Google.  I am interested in a long term relationship that

    I accidentally hit ‘send’

    “Sorry. I am interested in a long term relationship that would need weekly deliveries of Zee parts made to my garage along Jogoo Road,|

    “Is it possible to work on an arrangement of some sort?”

    Send.

    Her response was faster than I expected. 

    “Haha. Saw your first message and pegged you as a perv”

    “Almost blocked.”

    “Yes, we can definitely work on a plan that would ensure your get Zee (giggle emoji) parts at your convenience.”

    “Kindly start by making an order, just to make sure I’m not chatting up a robot coded with some sense of humour.”

    “Ooh, and yes, long term relationships work for me too."

    She had me at ‘Zee’

    I went on to place my first order after she redirected me to her website.

    She then shared something I hadn’t seen before.

    She sent me a link and asked that I make my payment through the same.

    Now, dear children, by 2021, I had a small fear of making digital payments. 

    I’m trying to explain why the payment link she shared made me think I was about to be scammed. 

    I had watched hundreds of documentaries involving hackers and how easy it was for them to make all the zeroes in your accounts disappear.

    I scrolled down to the ‘Contacts’ section of her website and called the first number I saw.

    I was surprised to find her on the other end of the line.

    As it turns out, the link was some new payment platform her bank (Coop) had introduced.

    Pay by link’ she called it.

    “You’ve never heard of it?” she asked in a ‘do you live under a rock’ kind of tone.

    This was the opening I was looking for.

    “Do you mind making the delivery yourself and walking me through it?”

    “Having lived huku Nairobi for 5 years now, I have some trust issues,”

    “Sure, I totally understand,”

    “I still need you to make some commitment of any kind, you could pay 50% via the mode of payment you prefer then I’ll take you to class on how to clear Zee balance via Pay by Link”

    “Perfect...Asante,” I hung up.

    Flash forward to 3 days later and there she was. In the flesh. 

    It took a collective effort involving me and my mitochondria to generate enough energy to keep my jaw from dropping.

    Her social profile pictures were all of the shiny spark plugs which was why I wasn’t ready for the enchantress that stood before me.

    Sky-blue jeans, black ankle boots, and a black puff jacket, yet she still brought up the cold July temperatures a degree or two.

    “Hi, I’m-

    “Pretty” Some unknown part of me blurted out, interrupting her in the process.

    She blushed for a millisecond.

    I let out one of the highest-pitched screams a grown man is capable of. (Not one of my proudest moments).

    The roof of my mouth was dry. I couldn’t swallow. A harsh beating arose near the surface of my big toe, right on the spot where my heavy-duty wrench had landed.

    For a split second, I didn't know where I was. All I knew was that I was alone and probably going to die. 

    I may be exaggerating but that’s what it really felt like at the time.

    My greasy hands were making all kinds of gestures as if the stinging pain could somehow be chanted away through my fingertips.

    We were off to a great start, your mum and I and of course, I was already enjoying the perks of Pay by link from Coop.